This page is designed to offer resources for designing slide show presentations in Beamer, a LaTeX package.
I use a Windows 7 platform and the information provided here is primarily for Windows users. The notable exception is that all of the programs I use for image editing are cross platform (and free!).
LaTeX is the primary formatting software used to design attractive presentations. Using LaTeX requires a text editing program (even as simple as Windows Notepad) and a LaTeX compiler. To get acquainted with LaTeX refer to "A Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX" listed below.
An essential resource describing the LaTeX work flow and most LaTeX functionality. If you are new to LaTeX, this is the guide for you.
A detailed guide on using the amsmath LaTeX package. This guide is good for doing very precise formatting within mathematical environments.
Keep in mind that there are two different types of LaTeX compilers: standard LaTeX compilers which produce .dvi output, and pdfLaTeX compilers which produce .pdf files. There are differences between the two compilers that you should be aware of. Primarily I use pdfLaTeX.
The website above describes the differences between LaTeX and pdfLaTeX. It also describes how to create a .tex file that both compilers can handle.
Fonts can be tricky in LaTeX, especially when using Beamer. When in doubt, use the default font. However, changing fonts can make a large impact on how a presentation looks. This web page provides a detailed catalogue of the different fonts available for LaTeX. The Latin Modern font is usually preferred for articles, but the situation is less clear in slide show presentations. I only use fonts from the Gyre collection. They tend to be superior in style, readability and symbol coverage.
MiKTeX is a simple to use LaTeX distribution. MiKTeX includes a standard LaTeX compiler and a pdfLaTeX compiler. Be aware that MiKTeX, although it automatically installs packages, does not automatically update packages. It also tends to install outdated versions of packages; use the manual update feature after the initial install and after installing new packages.
WinEdt is a simple to use text editing program that works well with MiKTeX. It is not free!
Beamer is a LaTeX package that generates great presentations. It is very flexible and is simple to use once you have understood LaTeX basics.
A short but effective resource that goes through the basics of using the Beamer package.
A detailed manual describing how to do nearly everything with Beamer. This guide is very useful if you want to experiment with the visual aspects of Beamer.
This provides good information on how to use various fonts in Beamer. The final slide, "fun fonts," could be interesting if implemented.
Source files for my "Iterative Rounding and Relaxation" presentation. The .tex file is annotated so that some of the more esoteric features of the formatting are clear. The source files can only be compiled with pdfLaTeX.
Inkscape is a powerful, and free, vector graphics editing program. It is ideal for creating graphs and diagrams. The Inkscape web page has links to documentation for the program.
TeXtext is an extension for Inkscape that allows you to write LaTeX text as part of an image. It requires some setup work, but is indispensable if you plan to use Inkscape as your primary image editing software.
GIMP is free and useful for managing photographs and other "fancy" images. It does not handle vector graphics as well as Inkscape.
Evince Viewer is an alternative to Adobe Reader. Notably, Evince supports postscript (.ps) documents. I find it is the most workable postscript viewer.
Sumatra Reader is nearly essential for creating pdf documents with LaTeX. Sumatra allows you to view a pdf file while pdfLaTeX compiles a new version. It also automatically refreshes the view of the pdf when compiling is complete. Sumatra supports forward and inverse searching.
A guide for installing TeXtext on Windows 7. I had some trouble installing TeXtext on my system and this documents how I finally succeeded.
A repository of files mentioned in the installation guide. These are the versions of programs that work.
Ghostscript and GSview are needed to install TeXtext. The 64-bit versions are somewhat problematic. GSview is another alternative to read postscript documents.
Image Magic is usually needed to install TeXtext.
pstoedit is needed to install TeXtext. The 64-bit version is somewhat problematic.