I want one main file that contains these three document classes. The purpose is for my thesis defence I must give a seminar (Beamer slides, tufte-handout) and turn in a written document (tufte-book). I would like to integrate the content for all three into one mega file. If this is not possible with these classes does anyone know of a way to achieve the desired result (not duplicating content in multiple files) some other way? Pseudocode example:



\section{Section One}

\item This frame does not appear in the tufte-handout or tufte-book but it does appear in the beamer slides.
\item second item
\item third item.

This text has no argument/option/tag it appears in all three document classes.

\option1 This text (with some macro/argument/option/tag) appears in 1 out of 3 documents.

\option2 This text (with some other option statement) appears in 2 out of 3 documents.

\note This text appears in none of the documents it is a note.


1 Answer 1


This is more a (long) comment than an answer – in particular it does not address your TeXnical questions.

I have written a couple of theses and supervised many more. From that experience, I just cannot recommend this approach.

The basic idea is, I guess, to save some time by reusing content of your thesis also in the presentation slides. However, slides are a visual medium with an accompanying "audio track" (that is, you). As such, they are very different from a thesis text and require very different content. A couple of examples to underline this:


Even though the structure of a thesis (and the accompanying presentation) is somewhat canonical, you will often present arguments in the slides in a slightly different order, just because it works better for an oral presentation or is more interesting for the audience.

Itemize lists

  • In the thesis text (and maybe the handout) they should be comprehensible without further explanations. In most cases, they will be complete sentences or even more.
  • On the slides, items should be just anchor points for the information transmitted via the "audio track". They should be short, never break into the second line, and typically are not complete sentences. If they nevertheless do break into the second line, you have to insert manual line breaks to make them look even. You would never do this in the thesis text.

Figures and tables

In my experience, the only elements that sometimes can be reused. However, even with figures and tables there are some points to consider:

  • The thesis is written on A4 or letter paper, for which it is favorable to have portrait-oriented elements. (This is particularly the case when using tufte-book.)
  • Slides are landscape-oriented, which means that figures and tables often have to be redesigned.
  • In many cases, a figure/table has to be simplified for the slides.
  • For complex figures/tables you will want to add piecewise appearance or highlighting.

Bottom line

The bottom line is: Either there is not much reuse of content (no time saving) or one of both, the slides or the text, will be weak! While preparing their seminar, many of the students I supervise start with a set of slides that basically mimics their thesis. After several iterations of improving their slides, the outcome is usually very different.

  • Thanks for your comment Daniel. I will give it another day or so and wait for some other comments/answers and then award the answer. Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 11:42
  • @Daniel The main advantage of writing the three versions of the document is that the output documents will be in sync. When you write the presentation together with the thesis version, you can actually improve the quality of the thesis version by first working on the presentation. The reason for this is that you must be concise for the presentation, which forces you to think about precision. The solution for the presentation can then actually help improve the more verbose version for the thesis.
    – user10274
    Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 13:59
  • @MarcvanDongen: Possible. All I can say is that in ten years of supervising BA/MA/PhD theses I have never seen this approach actually working.
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 15:15
  • @Daniel Well, our experiences are completely different. I wrote LaTeX and Friends with this approach. It worked great, including the sharing of text. You can find the book in the shop and the slides on line.
    – user10274
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 9:07
  • @MarcvanDongen well done and thank you. "Chapter 14: beamer presentations" contains the answer to my question! Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 11:07

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