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Academic presentation software or template?

  1. Apr 15, 2013 #1
    I'm curious how scientists make such pretty presentations.

    I've used Microsoft Powerpoint for all of my presentations since middle school. But my powerpoints lack the style I notice in many academic presentations. There seems to be a standard format on which I am missing out. See, for example:

    http://theory.caltech.edu/~chan/documents/2012_10_Caltech_slides_only.pdf

    Google around, and you'll find this exact style everywhere. Is there software that everyone is using? Should I download a standard powerpoint template?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 15, 2013 #2
    PowerPoint is pretty much the standard, it has the potential to look very good (Word Art isn't the answer) if you know how to use it. Keynote is the equivalent on Mac, and OpenOffice / LibreOffice on Linux. Out of all of them though, and having used all of them, PowerPoint is the "gold standard" so to speak.

    I have actually taken in a class on formal presentations, and I could talk for quite a while on it, but here are a few pointers:
    Use a sans-serif font (ideally Helvetica) of a decent size. It helps if you can actually see your how it looks in a room before you present.
    Keep the background simple. It doesn't have to be white, but it shouldn't be anything distracting.
    Keep the colors at a bit of a minimum. Have a set color scheme of 2 or 3 colors for use in the text and background (a light blue, and a tan / brown is a safe bet). Nothing too bright or it'll be hard to read and distracting.

    Honestly, a good presentation is as much psychology of your audience as anything, so try to tailor it to who you are presenting for.

    Hope that helps!
     
  4. Apr 15, 2013 #3
    The slides in your link appear to have been made in LaTeX using the Beamer package. LaTeX/Beamer is pretty standard for theoretical physics presentations.
     
  5. Apr 17, 2013 #4
    Thanks. I ended up going with Beamer. It's exactly what I wanted, and it's simple to use.
     
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