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For some time I've had in my mind a PDF I saw, and that I found exactly what I want to achieve for my classes. I'm a teacher at the University, and some times I want to give my students some material that serves both as a slide for me to present, and as a reference material for them to study.

The PDF I'm refering to is here, and a sample here:

sample page

As you can see, it is similar to what can be achieved using some tweaking in Beamer, but I'm not sure if using Beamer is the right option here. To be more concrete, this is what I want, and I summarize the differences I see with Beamer:

  1. Generate PDFs with a page size, say, half of an a4 (that displays nicely if you display it in a monitor). I know you can control page size in Beamer (not sure what is the best package for this (geometry?), but still, Beamer is oriented towards the screen.
  2. Have by default big fonts (here Beamer is very flexible)
  3. Instead of being oriented to frames (in Beamer you have \begin{frame} and \end{frame}), I would like it to be just a document in which I can insert some kind of \newframe command. For instance, in Beamer you divide the document in sections, but frames are inside each section. Also, frames are by default with the text centered, so it is difficult to include "paragraphs", that can become study material when printed.

Looking at the requirements again (and sorry for the length of the question), what I would like to have is a usual document that generates PDF (either with pdfLaTeX or XeLaTeX) with a flexible page size, bigger fonts for headings, and perhaps a \newslide command to step to the next slide/page.

So the question is: given these requirements, what packages would you use to set up the page, bigger fonts, etc? (Preferably using some kind of configutation on Beamer, that I'm familiar with).

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This isn't really one question. There's loads going on here and it's difficult to answer as it stands. Could you make clearer what you are unable to do at present? –  Seamus Jun 22 '11 at 8:39

1 Answer 1

Is ConTeXt an option for you? See:

You can achieve your requirements with simple commands (no packages are required for anything):

  1. \setuppapersize[A5,landscape][A5,landscape] (you can define your own)
  2. \setupbodyfont[23pt] (no limitation), if you want to change just the heading, you can easily do that with \setuphead[section][color=red,style=\bfb] (you can use any color, even cymk, spot colors, ...; \bfb means \bf for bold and b for size on the scale xx-x-[normal]-a-b-c-d)
  3. I'm not sure what you mean with your third point. There is fully configurable \startframedtext or simply \framed[width=...,background=...,align=...]{...}

If you are referring to the picture, I would use MetaPost or TikZ. Take a look at MetaFun manual on Pragma's site and TikZ manual on CTAN (but you would probably spend an afternoon drawing that - to get the positioning right etc. :).

ConTeXt is not a package for LaTeX, but a full replacement for LaTeX. There are almost no packages required since every functionality that you might need is either already implemented in core, or may be requested on the mailing list with very fast response time from the main developer. You are of course free to choose between pdfTeX, XeTeX or LuaTeX, but LuaTeX has best support and is being actively developed nowadays. It works fine in TeX Live 2011 (please don't try with teTeX; there are currently some problems with MikTeX 2.9 that should go away; but the easiest way might be to install a standalone distribution).

The document you are referring to is easily reproducible (apart from an afternoon needed to reproduce the figure on the first page). See an attempt for reproducing one of the pages (I wasn't allowed to upload images.)

\setuppapersize
    [S6][S6]
\setuppagenumbering
    [location=]
\definecolor
    [myred][r=0.7,b=0.3]
\definecolor
    [lightorange][r=1.0,g=0.8,b=0.7]
\setuplayout
    [backspace=1cm,width=15cm,height=15cm,topspace=1cm]
\definefontfeature
    [smallcaps][smcp=yes]
\definefontsynonym
    [subjectfont][file:AntykwaTorunska-Bold.otf][features=smallcaps]
\setuphead
    [subsection]
    [number=no,color=myred,style={\definedfont[subjectfont sa 1.5]},before=]
\setupheader
    [style=\bfx,color=darkgray]

\setupbodyfont[iwona,11pt]

\starttext
\setupheadertexts
    [Run Run Run Away\dots\ Timers][]

\subsection{Know thy Enemy}

Here's how, why and when browsers will display script timeout /\crlf unresponsive page warnings:

\placetable[left]{none}{
\setupTABLE[r][1][background=color,backgroundcolor=lightorange,style=bold]
\setupTABLE[c][1][width=4cm]
\setupTABLE[c][2][width=10.5cm]
\bTABLE
\bTR\bTD Browser \eTD\bTD Behaviour \eTD\eTR
\bTR\bTD Internet Explorer 8 \eTD\bTD {\bf Alert after 1 second}, prompting for user to choose to continue or cancel. Again after a further 1 second, ad infinitum. \eTD\eTR
\bTR\bTD Internet Explorer 7 \eTD\bTD {\bf No warning}, browser just hangs until operations are done. \eTD\eTR
\bTR\bTD Safari \eTD\bTD {\bf Alert after 10 seconds}, prompting for user to choose to continue or cancel. Again after a further 10 seconds, ad infinitum. \eTD\eTR
\bTR\bTD Firefox \eTD\bTD {\bf Alert after 10 seconds}, prompting for user to choose to continue or cancel. Again after a further 10 seconds, ad infinitum. \eTD\eTR
\bTR\bTD Chrome \eTD\bTD {\bf Alert after 20 seconds}, but script continues to run. Dialog will self-close if the script finishes. \eTD\eTR
\eTABLE}

\subsection{Workarounds}

To fight these warnings, you have two main options:
\startitemize[packed]
\item Reduce the problem (offload calculations to the backend; tune your approach; tune your JavaScript, etc.), or
\stopitemize
\stoptext
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