Quick presentations in markdown with Pandoc

2018-07-03 @Technology

I must emphasize how easily one can craft a slide presentation. (I hardly ever create slides, but the ease of the possibility causes me to almost initiate a series of contrived presentations on saturated topics for entertainment value.)

In the past I had discovered the Beamer extension for Latex to compose quick presentations, focusing mostly on the content and not the design, in the spirit of Latex. The approach, although quick, could still impose anyone unacquainted with the Latex markup and unwilling to indulge in the respective learning curve.

Then enters the Pandoc markup converter. Elevating the process an additional layer of abstraction, Pandoc seamlessly integrates with not only Latex, but also the Beamer extension. Therefore, rather than interfacing with Latex directly, it suffices to create a generic markdown document with the basic metadata tags transforming into the title page, and the content organized by means of the standard markdown section designators. You can also customize style and color schemes using the many options available in Beamer. A basic presentation consisting of slides, bullet points, and images, requires an amazingly minimal set of markdown.

Here’s an example demonstrating a simple presentation and the accompanying compiled PDF document:

title: Simple presentation
author: Vitaly Parnas
date: 2018-07-03
institute: World Institute
theme: Warsaw
colortheme: seahorse

# Slide 1
1. Item 1
1. Item 2
1. Item 3

Themes and color themes:

# Slide with a pause
## Subsection
- Item 1
- Item 2
- Item 3

Wait for it...

. . .

This text only appears on the next slide.

# Formatting

**Bold text**
*Emphatic text*
~~Strike through~~

Term 1
: Definition 1

Term 2
: Definition 2

# Images

You download the markdown here as well: simple_presentation.txt.

To convert the markdown to a pdf presentation:

$ pandoc simple_presentation.txt -t beamer -o simple_presentation.pdf

See the resulting pdf.

Questions, comments? Connect.