I Hate Beamer

An Undistinguished Display of Frustration


Victor Sanches Portella

Please, do interrupt!

And there won't be any bread or rice

What is Beamer?

How everything started

What is LaTeX?

Typesetting system designed by Donal Knuth

"My book looks awful. Hold my beer"

Focus on formatting

"Set of macros" built on top of TeX

Focus on content

Widely used in papers and books from STEM and other fields

Built-in math typesetting

What is LaTeX?


\title{Your Paper}


Your abstract.


Hello world!


What is LaTeX?

What is Beamer?

What is Beamer?

Beamer is a document class for LaTeX to create slides (and posters)

Very well documented

Plenty of themes and features

Actively mantained

Many examples of good slide decks

LaTeX focuses on content by design

We (should) want to control format in slides

Why do I Hate it?

It is about who it makes us be

#1: Used For the Wrong Reasons

" I want to use math in my presentations"

\int \mathrm{Not~a~good~}dx = \pi \cdot \mathrm{Reason} + C

"I will live in the sea because I want to have fish"

"I am used to LaTeX"

The work you need to make it look decent is not worth it

"I can Copy & Paste stuff from my paper"

 #2: Too Standardized

Beamer slide decks look awfully identical

Even with different themes

In a conference, you want to be memorable

Hard to make it look good

I haven't watched The Office

Me in a conference

 #3: Visual Tweaks are Hard

LaTeX is built for users to focus on content

Changes in format are possible, but not the main use case

Visual aids need to be made outside LaTeX

This incentivizes people to not use visual aids

"OoOoOoH, WhAt AbOuT TikZ?"

 #3.5: TikZ is Pain

Looks easy enough, right?

roundnode/.style={circle, draw=green!60, fill=green!5, very thick, minimum size=7mm},
squarednode/.style={rectangle, draw=red!60, fill=red!5, very thick, minimum size=5mm},
\node[squarednode]      (maintopic)                              {2};
\node[roundnode]        (uppercircle)       [above=of maintopic] {1};
\node[squarednode]      (rightsquare)       [right=of maintopic] {3};
\node[roundnode]        (lowercircle)       [below=of maintopic] {4};

\draw[->] (uppercircle.south) -- (maintopic.north);
\draw[->] (maintopic.east) -- (rightsquare.west);
\draw[->] (rightsquare.south) .. controls +(down:7mm) and +(right:7mm) .. (lowercircle.east);

This is the f***ing beginners tutorial

 #3.5: TikZ is Pain

Very powerful, but seldomly worth it (IMO)


Most Beamer bullet points look bad


But the "3D" ones are AWFUL

Bad Examples from Me

Do what I say, not what I do

Made outside LaTex

Each slide is a diff img

Images were done on another slide software

No visual aids (Too much trouble)

No Colors (not hard in LaTeX, but not easy)

Beamer induced us to make our slides "boring"

Huge blank space because moving text around is hard

Citing in slides with BibTeX is pointless

Copying algorithms from paper was ""easier""

Double column was a pain

No visual aids again.

Standard template

Why do I Hate Beamer?

I do not exactly hate the Beamer class itself

I hate the idea of building slides with LaTeX

LaTeX is buit so we can emphasize on content

With slides we SHOULD want to tweak with format

LaTeX "gives cookies" to people that don't bother with format

Beamer slides end up being dry and very similar to each other

What are the Alternatives?

If not, why bother?


Heavy AF

VERY Powerful


Famous - A lot of online help


LibreOffice Impress

AKA That thing that opens when you open a .ppt on Ubuntu

I don't know anyone that has used it

Google Slides

Web Based

Web Based

Very Good for Colaboration


Add-ons of Varying Quality


Requires Apple product

I've heard it is pretty good

I've seen really good presentations that used it

Please I don't want to hear about how good Apple's ecosystem is


Crazily powerful

Flexible API



No GUI (kinda)

KaTeX support built-in

Might suffer from same problems from Beamer

Reveal.js / Slides.com

Free version of editor doesn't allow you to have a offline presentation

Very nice UI

Easy to learn

Crazily powerful

KaTeX support built-in

Might suffer from same problems from Beamer without editor

Other options...?

I Hate Beamer

An Undistinguished Display of Frustration


Victor Sanches Portella

Made with Slides.com