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Every time I try to make a beamer presentation (using the version that came with my TeX distribution), it asks me for beamer.sty. Which isn't in the official repo for beamer. Arrgh. Has anybody got a solution?

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Complementary to the answers search for beamer.cls and you'll find it which means latex interprets it as a class even though your TeX distro downloads it as a package. – percusse Sep 19 '12 at 21:14
cd /usr/local/texlive/2012 and then find -name "*.cls"|grep 'beamer' – cmhughes Sep 19 '12 at 22:27
up vote 8 down vote accepted

beamer is a LaTeX class not a package.
You activate it with

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Ahem. Isn't it added by a package? – rake Sep 19 '12 at 20:55
while (true) { it is_not_ a package }; – Herbert Sep 19 '12 at 20:57
@rake there us a distinction between "package" as used by miktex or texlive package managers where "package" means any collection of files installed as a unit, and "package" as meant by latex \usepackage. To latex beamer is a class loaded with \documentclass not a package loaded with \usepackage. – David Carlisle Sep 19 '12 at 20:58
@DavidCarlisle Yeah, but do you need to \usepackage{beamer} to get it to work? After all it isn't a standard class. – rake Sep 20 '12 at 6:46
no as been said several times now it wont work with usepackage because it is a class. cls file not a package. sty file – David Carlisle Sep 20 '12 at 10:28

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