Fancier beamer presentations

No need to introduce the beamer package for making presentations with LaTeX. One side effect of its popularity, however, is that the included themes have all become seen and seen again. While a presentation should be judged mainly for its content and not for its “packaging”, one cannot deny that a nice theme makes a better impact on your audience. As for beamer, the conclusion currently is therefore to avoid theme and to keep it as simple as possible in terms of design.

Yet, even without using a theme, there is always room for originality and personality. The tcolorbox package for instance is an impressively complete piece of software whose only purpose is… to draw boxes (!). Yet it does so with great flexibility and should be able to fulfill many your artistic aspirations.

Another possibility is to (moderately) play with colors. I like for instance to switch the color theme when I change part, introducing a method section for instance, or coming to important conclusions and “take home” messages. This can be achieved using the colourchange package. The current version of this package however has a small bug affecting boxes (both the beamer builtin boxes and the tcolorbox boxes), they will change colors with 1 slide delay :s to cope with this issue, I wrote this simply macro, which allows you to assign one color per section, and make a title slide for each section. It uses some code from the tcolorbox manual to make a fancy box:

        title=\sc Part \thesection, center title,
        attach boxed title to top center={yshift=-0.25mm-\tcboxedtitleheight/2,yshifttext=2mm-\tcboxedtitleheight/2},
        boxed title style={enhanced,boxrule=0.5mm,frame code={ \path[tcb fill frame] ([xshift=-4mm]frame.west) -- (frame.north west) -- (frame.north east) -- ([xshift=4mm]frame.east)-- (frame.south east) -- (frame.south west) -- cycle; },
        interior code={ \path[tcb fill interior] ([xshift=-2mm]interior.west)-- (interior.north west) -- (interior.north east)-- ([xshift=2mm]interior.east) -- (interior.south east) -- (interior.south west)-- cycle;}}

It can be used by typing

\section{My new section}

Finally, there is a third-party tikz library porting the Brewer set of colors to tikz (and therefore to beamer, as both beamer and tikz use the PGF package)