What is Beamer?

Beamer is a LaTeX document class that is used for creating presentations. This class offers several pre-designed templates and a set of interesting features for making customized ones.

American pronunciation


British pronunciation


Origin of Beamer

This class is a great contribution of Till Tantau where the first version of the Beamer presentation was published in public on the Ph.D. defense of Till. As per the request of some of his colleagues, he included the package in CTAN. in March 2003. It was considered as the first official release of “Initial Version”.

Since 2007, this package was not maintained and in April 2010, Till handed the maintenance responsibility to Joseph Wright and Vedran Miletic.

At the present, it’s mainly samcarter doing the work and keep maintaining it by refining codes, fixing bugs, including new features, and providing supports to users, but Joseph Wright has the lead formally, e.g. does the releases to CTAN.

If you are interested in the Beamer package and contribute through feedback please visit https://github.com/josephwright/Beamer. The User Guide of 247 pages (version no 3.6.3) of this class provides enormous examples and descriptions of different commands.

Beamer Output

The ultimate output of any Latex Beamer presentation is naturally a PDF (Portable Document Format) file.

PDF is independent of:

  • hardware (i.e. any type of printer, iPad, E-reader, smartphones, projector, etc.) and
  • software (Windows & Apple operating systems).

which makes this format good for both printouts and presentations.

Beamer Output

Features of Beamer class

  • Beamer is compatible with pdflatex, dvips, lualatex, and xelatex.
  • You can use most of the standard commands of LaTeX for Beamer presentation as well.
  • A user can create overlays easily and add dynamic effects.
  • Have features for creating both slides and handouts.
  • Easy customization of Beamer Themes, which allow you to change the appearance of your presentation to accomplish your purposes. For example, users can change layouts, colors, fonts, bullet styles in any presentation globally.
  • Beamer handles theorems, proofs, definitions, and itemization in a structured approach, along with flexible customization.
  • The Beamer class separates the style as well as content and ensures the portability in source code, implementation, and output.
  • Like LaTeX, Beamer has excellent mathematical and scientific typesetting capabilities without exporting any external tools.
  • It also supports hypertext features and cross-referencing capabilities.

Drawbacks of Beamer class

  • Some users may feel the learning curve is steeper, especially while experimenting with macros and exploit customization.
  • Some command syntax is tough to remember and type.
  • Sometimes, positioning floating objects like images, long tables seem complex to a group of users.
  • Sharing with WYSIWYG content is difficult, as the mainstream in a commercial environment is using MS PowerPoint.