1  Prologue

Beamer is a LaTeX documentclass for producing slides. The default output is a pdf file which is suitable for on-screen viewing.

The aim of this document is to get you started quickly with Beamer. It gives you enough of the basics to let you begin using Beamer in a productive way. I have avoided calling this a “Tutorial” because a tutorial implies a certain thoroughness which this limited presentation lacks.

Beamer’s manual is over 200 printed pages. When you feel the need to go beyond the basics, you should consider reading the manual. There is more to Beamer than what appears here.

These pages were created in December 2004. The information herein is based on version 3.01 of Beamer except for the section Complete set of Beamer themes which is based on Beamer version 3.06. See Beamer on the Web for references and Web resources.

The Gallery page shows a sampler of slides produced by Beamer.

I have written this Quickstart primarily for the use of graduate students in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at UMBC. I have assumed throughout, without elaboration, that the underlying operating system is Linux or something unix-like, because that’s what we have in the department.

I have also assumed throughout that you know the ins and outs of LaTeX; this is certainly not a LaTeX tutorial.

LaTeX and Beamer are platform-independent, therefore examples and advice given here should carry over to other platforms, in principle. The specifics of compilation and execution may vary; you will have to consult with your local TeXnician if you need help with these.

How to read this Quickstart

If you are completely new to Beamer, I suggest that you begin at the beginning, that is, at A bare-bones sample. Examine the file small.tex presented there to get a feel about Beamer’s syntax. Then read the subsequent section where you are told how to compile a Beamer source file into pdf.

Then download small.tex and compile and view the result. Verify that what you see corresponds to what I have shown in A bare-bones sample.

Then begin experimenting with small.tex to see if you can create slides the way you want them. If there are things that you feel you should be able to do but you don’t know how, then look through the Table of Contents or the Index. Chances are that you will find there what you are looking for.


The document you are reading was written in LaTeX then converted to HTML using Dorai Sitaram’s TeX2page utility.

I have modified TeX2page slightly to suit my needs. My apologies to Dorai Sitaram for having abused/misused his program.

Rouben Rostamian
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Baltimore, MD 21250, USA