TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

As a follow up to Highlighting specific parts of a TikZ drawing, I'd like to know how to generate an animated image (gif) from a series of beamer slides.

Martin Scharrer came up with this example:

Drawing 1

Some hints on cropping the PDF file are also welcome. =)

share|improve this question
up vote 41 down vote accepted

I generated that animated GIF the following way under Ubuntu Linux. It should work under other OSs as well because the external software is also available for Windows, Mac and others.

This assumes a beamer frame with several overlays as a starting point. The code for the GIF above can be found in my answer to Highlighting specific parts of a TikZ drawing.

  1. Ensure otherwise empty slides, e.g. \setbeamertemplate{navigation symbols}{}%
  2. Ensure that all slides have the same size.
  3. Compile to PDF (directly or indirectly).
  4. Crop the PDF, e.g. using pdfcrop <file>.pdf.
  5. Use ImageMagick to generate an animated GIF from the multi-page PDF:

    convert -verbose -delay 50 -loop 0 -density 300 <file>-crop.pdf <file>.gif

    Change the settings to your liking.
    -verbose is not really required.
    -delay states the duration of every image in the animation in 1/100 s.
    -loop states the number of repeats. 0 here means repeat indefinitely.
    -density determines the density for the raster image in dots-per-inch (dpi). This will influence the GIF size and is required because the PDF is a vector graphic. You can also use 300x300 etc. to select the X and Y density separately.

Here also an external example showing a diagram I had in one of my scientific publications: MP-DPWM (300k)

I might add support for this to standalone. Conversion support is already added in the developer version.

share|improve this answer
Impressive, Martin! Thanks for this great explanation! – Paulo Cereda Jul 21 '11 at 18:08
@MartinScharrer, follow your steps, I can't get animated GIF. I only get the first slide of the pdf file in my GIF file. How to solve it? Thanks. My system is Windows 7. I use Ghostscript 9.06. – Pig Cry Jan 10 '13 at 2:13
@PigCry: The above uses ImageMagick not Ghostscript and works fine with me. No idea why you are only get the first page. – Martin Scharrer Jan 10 '13 at 7:52
@PigCry: I have the same issue on the mac. See my question at Apple-SX. You can workaround with pdftk. – Matthew Leingang Mar 20 '13 at 12:46

For those who need non Beamer version, see the following.

LaTeX Input File:

In this illustration I use PSTricks.

% travelingwave.tex

\paperwidth=\dimexpr\Right cm\relax
\paperheight=\dimexpr\Top cm - \Bottom cm\relax


Batch File:

rem compile.bat takes a LaTeX input file without extension.
echo off
latex %1
dvips -t unknown %1
gswin32c -dAutoRotatePages=/None -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=%1.pdf %1.ps
convert -verbose -delay 25 -loop 0 -density 300 %1.pdf %1.gif
rem acrord32 %1.pdf
del %1.log
del %1.aux
del %1.dvi
del %1.ps

For the sake of simplicity, save both travelingwave.tex and compile.bat in the same directory. To compile, type compile travelingwave in DOS-command, and hit enter. Done!


enter image description here


  1. See ImageMagick v6 Examples -- Animation Basics for the detailed description about convert's switches.
  2. If \pagecolor{<any-color-including-white>} is disabled, we will get an effect as follows. enter image description here
  3. ImageMagick's convert invokes GhostScript gswin32c.exe behind the scene as follows. enter image description here
share|improve this answer
I guess, the \pagecolor{<any-color-including-white>} makes the background no longer transparent. – xport Jul 21 '11 at 19:08
Thanks for the addition, xport! They all look very nice! =) – Paulo Cereda Jul 21 '11 at 19:53

After spending a few hours on ImageMagick with no result (I kept getting error messages), I decided to go for a Photoshop + Acrobat Pro solution. Here's how I did it.

Required software

  • Acrobat Pro (I'm using Acrobat X), or any other PDF reader that allows you to export or save the PDF pages as images
  • Photoshop (I'm using CS3, and presumably newer, or even slightly older, versions will work as well)


  1. Generate a PDF file of your Beamer slides
  2. In Acrobat Pro, go to File > Save as > Image > <select PNG or JPEG>. In the pop-up window, select Settings... on the right, and under "Coversion" change "Resolution" to 600 pixels/inch or above (the default resolution is very low). Then click OK and Save, and images of each page will be saved to the specified location as <PDF_Name>_Page_#.png.
  3. Open Photoshop, go to File > Script > Load Files into Stack. Browse and select all the image files generated in step 2 and click OK. Now all the pages should be imported as layers of a Photoshop document.
  4. Go to Window and select Animation to show the animate panel.
  5. From the flyout menu in the top right of the animation panel, select Make frames from layers, and then Reverse frames to set the frames in correct order.
  6. Select all the frames in the animation panel (click the first frame, and then Shift+click the last one), and choose a frame rate at the bottom right corner of any frame. You can also set the repeat option at the bottom left of the panel. Preview by clicking the play button.
  7. Lastly, go to File > Save for Web & Devices... > Save (top right) > give it a name, and make sure to select .gif as the extension. Then we're done!

Note: If you want to crop the PDF file, then after step 6, select all layers in the layers panel, use the Crop Tool to crop the images.

gif of string recognition

gif of wave

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the addition! :) – Paulo Cereda Apr 14 '13 at 0:17
This is not a latex solution! However, I appreciate your effort. – pushpen.paul Aug 9 '14 at 17:23
@pushpen.paul: Well, the other solutions are not LaTeX solutions either; they use ImageMagick ;) – Herr K. Aug 9 '14 at 19:29
@KevinC Yeah! But your method is very much manual! :-) – pushpen.paul Aug 9 '14 at 19:31

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.