6  Themes

The overall appearance of a Beamer slide may be altered drastically by applying a Beamer theme to the slide.

To illustrate the effects of various themes, I will use the file sample.tex which is a slightly modified version of the previous small.tex.

Here is what the preamble of sample.tex and the resulting slide look like:



The line \usetheme{default} loads Beamer’s default theme. If we replace that line with: \usetheme{Boadilla}, we will obtain the Boadilla theme which looks like this:



Compare this with the previous slide and note the drastic changes, including the added frame around the theorem, the 3D rounded markers for itemized and enumerated lists, and the footline that includes date and slide number, among other things.

Standard Beamer themes

Beamer comes with a large selection of themes. Themes are named after various cities, such as Boadilla, Madrid, Copenhagen, and Singapore, where Beamer’s author and his collaborators have given Beamer presentations.

In UMBC’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics computer network, the Beamer themes are located in the directory:


In my opinion, the following themes are more interesting than others. You can finda a complete set of images for all Beamer themes in Complete set of Beamer themes. Additional images, corresponding to customized versions of selected themes, are in Gallery.

Experiment to see which one is more to your liking.

Inner and outer themes, etc.

Beamer themes which are named after cities, such as Boadilla and Pittsburgh, are complete themes in the sense that they control just about every aspect of a slide’s appearance. Think of these as major themes. These are invoked with the \usetheme command, as in \usetheme{Pittsburgh}.

Beamer also provides what may be thought of as minor themes. These control somewhat narrowly defined aspects of a slide’s appearance. You may invoke one or more of these minor themes in conjunction with a major theme to alter/modify the major theme’s characteristics.

Beamer’s “minor themes” fall into 4 categories:

outer themes
control a slide’s decorations, such as text and graphics that appear in a slide’s header and footer sections. For example, \useoutertheme{shadow} adds a 3-D shadow to some header elements.

See Adding an informative footline and The UMBC footline for examples of \useoutertheme.

inner themes
control a slide’s inner area, such as markers/bullets for itemization lists and boxes placed around theorems. For example, \useinnertheme{rounded} gives a rounded and 3-D look to theorem-containing boxes and itemization markers.

See The UMBC tribullet markers and UMBC boxes for examples of \useinnertheme.

font themes
control font shapes and sizes of various elements of a slide show. For example, \usefonttheme{serif} changes the document’s fonts to serif. (The default is sans-serif.)

See The structure font and font themes for examples of \usefonttheme.

color themes
control the colors of title, frame title, itemization bullets, and many other elements of a slide show. For example, \usecolortheme{albatross} changes the Beamer’s default colors in quite a drastic way.

See The structure color and Specifying RGB colors for examples of \usecolortheme.

On the department’s machines, you will find the style files corresponding to Beamer’s themes in the directories:

/usr/local/share/texmf/tex/latex/beamer/themes/theme/   % the major themes 
/usr/local/share/texmf/tex/latex/beamer/themes/inner/   % inner themes 
/usr/local/share/texmf/tex/latex/beamer/themes/outer/   % outer themes 
/usr/local/share/texmf/tex/latex/beamer/themes/color/   % color themes 
/usr/local/share/texmf/tex/latex/beamer/themes/font/    % font themes