ShareLaTeX guides

LaTeX Basics


Figures and tables

References and Citations


Document structure





Field specific

Class files

Beamer is a LaTeX class to create powerful, flexible and nice-looking presentations and slides. This article explains the most common features to create a presentation: make the title page, add a logo, highlight important points, make a table of contents and add effects to the presentation.



A minimal working example of a simple beamer presentation is presented below.

%Information to be included in the title page:
\title{Sample title}
\frametitle{Sample frame title}
This is a text in first frame. This is a text in first frame. This is a text in first frame.

After compilation, a two-page PDF file will be produced. The first page is a titlepage, the second one contains sample content.

The first statement in the document declares this is a Beamer slideshow: \documentclass{beamer}

The first command after the preamble, \frame{\titlepage} , generates the title page. This page may contain information about the author, institution, event, logo, and so on. See the title page section for a more complete example.

The frame environment creates the second slide, the self-descriptive command \frametitle{Sample frame title} is optional.

It is worth to notice that in beamer the basic container is frame . Frame is not exactly equivalent of slide, one frame may contain more than one slides.

Open an example of the Beamer package in ShareLaTeX

Beamer main features

Beamer class offers some useful features to bring your presentation to life and make it more attractive. The most important ones are listed below.

The title page

There are some more options for the title page than the ones presented in the introduction . The next example is a complete one, most of the commands are optional.

\title[About Beamer] %optional
{About the Beamer class in presentation making}
\subtitle{A short story}
\author[Arthur, Doe] % (optional, for multiple authors)
{A.~B.~Arthur\inst{1} \and J.~Doe\inst{2}}
\institute[VFU] % (optional)
  Faculty of Physics\\
  Very Famous University
  Faculty of Chemistry\\
  Very Famous University
\date[VLC 2013] % (optional)
{Very Large Conference, April 2013}

The distribution of each element in the title page depends on the theme, see the Themes subsection for more information. Below, a description of each command:

\title[About Beamer] {About the Beamer class...}
This is important, the title of you presentation must be inside braces. You can set an optional shorter title in between brackets, in the example this shorter title is About Beamer .
Subtitle for you presentation, you can omit this if unnecessary.
\author[Author, Doe]{A.~B.~Arthur\inst{1} \and J.~Doe\inst{2}}
First, a short version of the authors's names, comma separated, is inside brackets; this is optional, if omitted the full name is displayed (at the bottom of the title page in the example). Then inside braces are the full names of the authors, separated by an \and command. There's also a \inst{1} command that puts a superscript to reference the institution where each author works at; it's optional and can be omitted if there is only one author or the listed authors work a the same institution.
In this command you declare the institute each author belongs to. The parameter inside brackets, the acronym of the institute/university, is optional. Then inside braces is the name of the institute; if there's more than one institute they must be separated with an \and command. The \inst{} is optional, this is for the superscripts in the previous command to work.
\date[VLC 2014]{Very Large Conference, 2014}
In this declaration you can set the name and date of the event where you are going to present your slides. The parameter inside brackets is an optional shorter name, in this example is displayed at the bottom of the title page.
Here you define a logo to be displayed. In this theme the logo is set at the lower right corner. You can use only text or include an image.

Open an example of the Beamer package in ShareLaTeX

Creating a table of contents

Usually when you have a long presentation, it's convenient to divide it into sections or even subsections. If this is the case, it's also recommended to add a table of contents at the beginning of the document. Below is an example of how to do it:

\frametitle{Table of Contents}

As you see, is simple. Inside the frame environment you set the title and add the command \titlepage .

It's also possible to put the table of contents at the beginning of each section and highlight the title of the current section. Just add the code below to the preamble of your L a T e X document:

    \frametitle{Table of Contents}

If you use \AtBeginSubsection[] instead of \AtBeginSection[] the table of contents will appear at the beginning of each subsection.

Open an example of the Beamer package in ShareLaTeX

Adding effects to a presentation

In the introduction was presented a simple slide using the \begin{frame} \end{frame} delimiters. It was mentioned that frame is not equivalent to slide , the next example will illustrate why, by adding some cool effects to the slideshow.

\frametitle{Sample frame title}
This is a text in second frame. 
For the sake of showing an example.
 \item<1-> Text visible on slide 1
 \item<2-> Text visible on slide 2
 \item<3> Text visible on slide 3
 \item<4-> Text visible on slide 4

In the final PDF file this code will generate 4 slides. This is intended to provide a visual effect in the presentation.

In the code there's a list, declared by the \begin{itemize} \end{itemize} commands, and next to each item is a number enclosed in two special characters: < > . This will determine in which slide the element will appear, if you append a - at the end of the number, the item will be shown in that and the subsequent slides of the current frame , otherwise it will appear only in that slide. Check the animation for a better understanding of this.

The effects can be applied to a any type of text, not only to the itemize environment. There's a second command whose behaviour is similar, but it's simpler since you don't have to specify the slides where the the text will be unveiled.

 In this slide \pause
 the text will be partially visible \pause
 And finally everything will be there

This code will generate three slides to add a visual effect to the presentation. \pause will prevent the text below this point and above the next \pause declaration to appear in the current slide.

Open an example of the Beamer package in ShareLaTeX

Highlighting important sentences/words

In a presentation is a good practice to highlight the important points to make it easier for your audience to identify the main topic.

\frametitle{Sample frame title}
In this slide, some important text will be
\alert{highlighted} beause it's important.
Please, don't abuse it.
Sample text
\begin{alertblock}{Important theorem}
Sample text in red box
Sample text in green box. "Examples" is fixed as block title.

If you want to highlight a word or a phrase within a paragraph, the command \alert{} will change the stile of the word inside the braces. The way the highlighted text will look depends on the theme you are using.

To highlight a paragraph with, concepts, definitions, theorems or examples; the best option is to put it inside a box. There are three types of boxes and is up to you to decide which one better fits in your presentation. Below a description of the commands:

\begin{block}{Remark} \end{block}
A block box will wrap the text in a box with the same style as the rest of the presentation. The text inside the braces after the \begin{block} code is the title of the box.
\begin{alertblock}{Important theorem} \end{alertblock}
The same as block but the style contrasts the one used by the presentation.
\begin{examples} \end{examples}
Again, is very similar to block , the box has a different style but less contrasting than alertblock .

Customizing your presentation

There are some aspects of a Beamer presentation that can be easily customized. For instance, you can set different themes, colours and change the default text layout into a two-column format.

Open an example of the Beamer package in ShareLaTeX

Themes and colorthemes

To use a different themes in your slideshow is really easy. To set the theme you want is straightforward. For example, the Madrid theme (most of the slideshows in this article use this theme) is set by the next command in the preamble:


Below are are two more examples:

Berkeley beamer theme Berkeley beamer theme.
Copenhagen beamer theme Copenhagen beamer theme.

The themes can be combined with a colortheme . This changes the colour used for different elements.


You must put the \usecolortheme statement below the \usetheme command.

Check the table of screenshots of different themes and colorthemes at the Reference guide .

Open an example of the Beamer package in ShareLaTeX


You can change several parameters about the fonts. Here we will mention how to resize them and change the type of font used.

The font size can be passed as a parameter to the beamer class at the beginning of the document preamble. Below is an example of how a 17 font size looks like.


Available font sizes are 8pt, 9pt, 10pt, 11pt, 12pt, 14pt, 17pt, 20pt. Default font size is 11pt (which corresponds to 22pt at the full screen mode).

To change the font types in your beamer presentation there are two ways, either you use a font theme or import directly a font from your system. Let's begin with a font theme:


The \usefonttheme{} is self-descriptive. The available themes are: structurebold, structurebolditalic, structuresmallcapsserif, structureitalicsserif, serif and default.

You can also import font families installed in your system.


The command \usepackage{bookman} imports the bookman family font to be used in the presentation. The available fonts depend on your L a T e X installation, the most common are: mathptmx, helvet, avat, bookman, chancery, charter, culer, mathtime, mathptm, newcent, palatino, pifont and utopia.

Open an example of the Beamer package in ShareLaTeX


Sometimes the information in a presentation looks better in a two-column format. In such cases use the columns environment:

\frametitle{Two-column slide}
This is a text in first column.
\item First item
\item Second item
This text will be in the second column
and on a second tought this is a nice looking
layout in some cases.

After the frame and frametitle declarations start a new columns environment delimited by the \begin{columns} \end{columns} . You can declare each column's width with the \column{0.5\textwidth} code, a lower number will shrink the width size.

Open an example of the Beamer package in ShareLaTeX

Reference guide

Below is a table with screenshots of the title page and a normal slide in Beamer using different combinations of themes (rows) and colorthemes (columns). To have a complete list of themes and colorthemes see the further reading section for references.

default beaver beetle seahorse wolverine
default ThmDefault1.png ThmDefault2.png DefaultBeaver1.png DefaultBeaver2.png DefaultBeetle1.png DefaultBeetle2.png DefaultSeahorse1.png DefaultSeahorse2.png DefaultWolverine1.png DefaultWolverine2.png
AnnArbor ThmAnnArbor1.png ThmAnnArbor2.png AnnArborBeaver1.png AnnArborBeaver2.png AnnArborBeetle1.png AnnArborBeetle2.png AnnArborSeahorse1.png AnnArborSeahorse2.png AnnArborWolverine1.png AnnArborWolverine2.png
Antibes Antibes1.png Antibes2.png AntibesBeaver1.png AntibesBeaver2.png AntibesBeetle1.png AntibesBeetle2.png AntibesSeahorse1.png AntibesSeahorse2.png AntibesWolverine.png AntibesWolverine2.png
Bergen Bergen1.png Bergen2.png BergenBeaver1.png BergenBeaver2.png BergenBeetle1.png BergenBeetle2.png BergenSeahorse1.png BergenSeahorse2.png BergenWolverine1.png BergenWolverine2.png
Berkeley Berkeley1.png Berkeley2.png BerkeleyBeaver1.png BerkeleyBeaver2.png BerkeleyBeetle1.png BerkeleyBeetle2.png BerkeleySeahorse1.png BerkeleySeahorse2.png BerkeleyWolverine1.png BerkeleyWolverine2.png
Berlin Berlin1.png Berlin2.png BerlinBeaver1.png BerlinBeaver2.png BerlinBeetle1.png BerlinBeetle2.png BerlinSeahorse1.png BerlinSeahorse2.png BerlinWolverine1.png BeamerWolverine2.png
Boadilla Boadilla1.png Boadilla2.png BoadillaBeaver.png BoadillaBeaver2.png BoadillaBeetle1.png BoadillaBeetle2.png BoadillaSeahorse1.png BoadillaSeahorse2.png BoadillaWolverine1.png BoadillaWolverine2.png
CambridgeUs Cambridgeus1.png Cambridgeus2.png CambridgeUsBeaver1.png CambridgeUsBeaver2.png CambrigeUsBeetle1.png CambrigeUsBeetle2.png CambridgeUsSeahorse1.png CambridgeUsSeahorse2.png CambridgeUsWolverine1.png CambridgeUsWolverine2.png
Copenhagen Copenhaguen1.png Copenhagen2.png CopenhagenBeaver.png CopenhagenBeaver2.png CopenhagenBeetle1.png CopenhagenBeetle2.png CopenhagenSeahorse1.png CopenhagenSeahorse2.png CopenhagenWolverine1.png CopenhagenWolverine2.png
Darmstadt Darmstadt1.png Darmstadt2.png DarmstadtBeaver1.png DarmstadtBeaver2.png DarmstadtBeetle1.png DarmstadtBeetle2.png DarmstadtSeahorse1.png DarmstadtSeahorse2.png DarmstadtWolverine1.png DarmstadtWolverine2.png
Goettingen Goettingen1.png Goettingen2.png GoettingenBeaver1.png GoettingenBeaver2.png GoettingenBeetle1.png GoettingeBeetle2.png GoettingenSeahorse1.png GoettingenSeahorse2.png GoettingenWolverine1.png GoettingenWolverine2.png
PaloAlto PaloAlto1.png PaloAlto2.png PaloAltoBeaver1.png PaloAltoBeaver2.png PaloAltoBeetle1.png PaloAltoBeetle2.png PaloAltoSeahorse1.png PaloAltoSeahorse2.png PaloAltoWolverine1.png PaloAltoWolverine2.png
Szeged Szeged1.png Szeged2.png SzegedBeaver1.png SzegedBeetle2.png SzegedBeetle1.png SzegedBeaver2.png SzegedSeahorse1.png SzegedSeahorse2.png SzegedWolverine1.png SzegedWolverine2.png
Warsaw Warsaw1.png Warsaw2.png WarsawBeaver1.png WarsawBeaver2.png WarsawBeetle1.png WarsawBeetle2.png WarsawSeahorse1.png WarsawSeahorse2.png WarsawWolverine1.png WarsawWolverin2.png

Open an example of the Beamer package in ShareLaTeX

Further reading

For more information see the full package documentation at