To see the corresponding video for this blog post click here.

In the last post we looked at animating our slides using overlay specifications. In this post we’re going to look at editing the way our presentation looks using themes. We’ll also look at printing handouts.

Presentation Themes

In the first video we set up our presentation with the ‘Boadilla’ theme like this:


There are lots of different predefined presentation themes available for us to use. Here are a few of them. This is the ‘Bergen’ theme:

br1 br2 br3 br4

This is the ‘Madrid’ theme:

md1 md2 md3 md4

There are also themes that include navigation bars, for example the ‘Antibes’ theme:

an1 an2 an3 an4

We could also use a theme that includes a table of contents sidebar, like the ‘Hannover’ theme:

hn1 hn2 hn3 hn4

The ‘Singapore’ theme is one that includes what beamer calls a ‘Mini Frame Navigation’:

sp1 sp2 sp3 sp4

Finally there are also themes like ‘Warsaw’ that have the section and subsection titles at the top of each frame:

ws1 ws2 ws3 ws4

Colour, Font, Inner & Outer Themes

The presentation themes control everything about how the presentation looks. However beamer gives us more flexibility by allowing us to change the colour theme, font theme, inner theme and outer theme, all separately. This is really handy as it means if we like a theme like ‘Warsaw’ but, for example, want to change the colour theme, then we can load the ‘Warsaw’ presentation theme and then override the colour theme with one of beamer’s predefined colour themes. We change the colour scheme using the \usecolortheme command followed by the colour theme in curly brackets. Note that these themes are different to the presentation themes we used earlier. For example, the ‘crane’ colour theme:

crane1 crane2 crane3 crane4

The inner theme dictates the style of the title and part pages, the itemize, enumerate, description, block, theorem and proof environments as well as figures, tables, footnotes and bibliography entries. For example we could also load up the ‘rectangles’ inner theme. We do this using the \useinnertheme command. This has made our table of contents and lists use rectangles as bullet points:

rec1 rec2

The outer theme dictates the style of the head and footline, the logo, the sidebars and the frame title. We can specify this theme using the \useinnertheme command. As we’re using ‘Warsaw’, by default we are using the ‘shadow’ outer theme, but we could change this to the ‘tree’ theme if we wanted to change the top navigation bar to a tree like structure:

tree1 tree2 tree3 tree4

Finally, I could also change the font theme using the \usefonttheme command and a predefined font theme like the ‘serif’ theme.

serif1 serif2 serif3 serif4

All the information about the different themes available can be found in the documentation.


Now let’s briefly look at creating handouts for our presentation. To do this we add the keyword ‘handout’ into square brackets in the document class command. We then use the ‘pgfpages’ package to help us print multiple slides on a page. After loading the package we use the \pgfpagesuselayout command. In the curly brackets we specify how many frames we want on a sheet. In the square brackets we specify the paper size and how much border shrink we want:

\pgfpagesuselayout{2 on 1}[a4paper,border shrink=5mm]


If we wanted to put four frames on a sheet we could simply change the 2 to a 4 and then add the ‘landscape’ keyword into the square brackets.

\pgfpagesuselayout{4 on 1}[a4paper,border shrink=5mm,landscape]


This concludes our discussion on themes and handouts and also our series on creating presentations with beamer. If you want to play around with the presentation we created in this series you can access it here. Do have a look at the video series we produced alongside these blog posts here. Please do keep in touch with us via Facebook, Twitter & Google+.

pt 1 - Getting Started

pt 2 - Lists, Columns, Pictures, Descriptions & Tables

pt 3 - Blocks, Code, Hyperlinks & Buttons

pt 4 - Overlay Specifications

Posted by Josh Cassidy on 22 Aug 2013