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I'm trying to insert references into a beamer footline. These references are different for each slide, so I cannot include them in the footline template - unless there is then some way to later define them per-slide.

I have tried to simply include the after a \vfill, but the location of the line then varies with each slide, and this is not what I want.

How do I insert references (or really, just any custom text) into the footline of a specific slide in beamer?

share|improve this question
That's not really what the footline is for, is it? – Seamus Nov 16 '10 at 23:55
I've used the term footline to make it easy to understand where I want to place the text, but you could consider the question as simply "How do I place text relative to the bottom of the page in beamer?" – saffsd Nov 18 '10 at 0:14
up vote 14 down vote accepted

This provides a new template/font/color footline extra and a macro \footlineextra to add text to the footline.

\title{Adding extra text to footline}
\institute{University of St. Anford}

\useoutertheme{infolines}% for example, ymmv

% add a macro that saves its argument

% add a beamer template that sets the saved argument in a box.
% The * means that the beamer font and color "footline extra" are automatically added. 
\defbeamertemplate*{footline extra}{default}{
    \begin{beamercolorbox}[ht=2.25ex,dp=1ex,leftskip=\Gm@lmargin]{footline extra}

    % set the box with the extra footline material but make it add no vertical space
    \setbox\footlineextrabox=\vbox{\usebeamertemplate*{footline extra}}
    \vskip -\ht\footlineextrabox
    \vskip -\dp\footlineextrabox

% patch \begin{frame} to reset the footline extra material

\setbeamercolor{footline extra}{fg=structure.fg}% for instance



\item one
\item two
\item three
\footlineextra{Source: ``Mr. Lee'' by the Bobbettes}

\item Able
\item Baker
\item Charlie
\footlineextra{Source: \emph{What do People Do All Day?} by Richard Scarry}

No footlineextra here


Having spent an hour on this I must quit but a nice addition would be to make \footlineextra overlay-specification aware.

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That's perfect! Many many thanks. – saffsd Nov 19 '10 at 4:27
If you give the footline a background color by adding bg=blue, for example, to setbeamercolor{footline extra}, then you'll get a blue footline on every page, even when the footline has no content. I want the background to appear only when the footline has content, so I have added bg=\footlinebgcolor to setbeamercolor{footline extra}, \gdef\footlinebgcolor{blue} to the argument of \newcommand{\footlineextra}[1], and \gdef\footlinebgcolor{white} to the argument of \def\frame. That works, although I don't know whether it's really the right way to do it. – Martin J. Osborne Jan 11 '15 at 12:37

Adding an alternative that doesn't use the footline template. This is in response to the comment on my previous answer. (Requires \usepackage{tikz})

    \begin{tikzpicture}[remember picture,overlay]
        \node[yshift=2ex,anchor=south west] at (current page.south west) {\usebeamerfont{author in head/foot}\hspace{2ex}#1};
share|improve this answer
\defbeamertemplate{footline}{foot1}{<define footer 1 here>}
\defbeamertemplate{footline}{foot2}{<define footer 2 here>}

then before each frame

\setbeamertemplate{footline}[<foot name>]
share|improve this answer
Thanks, that seems like a real pain though. Is there any way to set it up so that I have a command to invoke in the frame? A bit like \frametitle{}, maybe something like \footlineextra{}? – saffsd Nov 18 '10 at 0:13

I do this too, here's my hack that's roughly similar to the tikz approach posted earlier.



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i just tried matthews solution with overlays. did anyone work on the overlay question?

in principle onslide etc works but i need to add +1 to the layer number where the footline text should appear. of course i then also get one slide more than i need... what do i do wrong and how can solve that issue?


\setbeamertemplate{footline}{\vskip-.5em\ \insertfootref}
\def\testref{Author \textit{Appl. Phys. Lett.} \textbf{XY} (2014) abcd}


\begin{frame}{onslide2 lets appear ref also on 1st slide}
  Test frame \visible<2>{with reference in footline after first overlay}

\begin{frame}{onslide3 lets appear ref on 2nd and 3rd slide}
  Test frame with \visible<2>{reference in footline after first overlay and}\\
  a third frame which i do not need...



ok... got it working. simply adding \only{} while defining the \footref command in the above MWE and then using \footref{\testref}<2> within the frame does the trick.

share|improve this answer
Could you edit the MWE to show where you added the \only{}? – erik Apr 23 '14 at 21:50

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