# pgfpages won't change page size in beamer

EDIT: Now includes results from use of letterpaper, as suggested in cfr's answer and comment.

I'm trying to create a Beamer handout that will be printed on letter paper. When I follow suggestions in the Beamer manual for using the pgfpages package, I can manipulate the size and number of slides on a page (although I don't understand all of the size changes), but the page size always retains the normal Beamer slide dimensions. That shape looks good for the 4 on 1 argument for pgfpagesuselayout (though that's not the same aspect ratio as 8-1/2 x 11), but I can't get reasonable output for 2 on 1.

For example, the following produces one small slide on top of the other in the middle of a regular presentation-shaped page:

\documentclass[handout]{beamer}

\usepackage{pgfpages}
\pgfpagesuselayout{2 on 1}[letter,border shrink=0.09in,landscape]

\begin{document}
\begin{frame}\frametitle{frame 1}frame 1\end{frame}
\begin{frame}\frametitle{frame 2}frame 2\end{frame}
\begin{frame}\frametitle{frame 3}frame 3\end{frame}
\begin{frame}\frametitle{frame 4}frame 4\end{frame}
\end{document}


Removing landscape gives me 1-1/2 slides per page, one on top of the other, on the left, i.e. uncentered, on the same page size.

Changing letter to letterpaper does not affect the page shape. In this case, without landscape, I see most of a single slide--it's cut off on the right and on the bottom.

The second page looks the same, but with "frame 1" replaced by "frame 3". With landscape, the result is similar, but the slide is shifted to the right.

It seems as if there's something wrong with my configuration, but I'm using a mostly vanilla configuration of TeX Live 2011. Beamer, including the Beamer manual, are from that distribution. This is in OS X 10.6.8.

Any thoughts on what's going wrong?

(It might help if I could find documentation for pgfpages. I haven't had success with Google. A quick look at the style file convinced me that it would require a bit of study.)

• pgfpages is covered in the TiKZ manual, I think. – cfr Dec 26 '14 at 12:25
• letterpaper - letter is not recognised. – cfr Dec 26 '14 at 12:35
• Thanks @cfr. I'll look at the TiKZ manual. I had no idea where pgfpages came from. – Mars Dec 26 '14 at 16:02

letterpaper is the option pgfpages recognises:

\documentclass[handout]{beamer}

\usepackage{pgfpages}
\pgfpagesuselayout{2 on 1}[letterpaper,border shrink=0.09in,landscape]

\begin{document}
\begin{frame}\frametitle{frame 1}frame 1\end{frame}
\begin{frame}\frametitle{frame 2}frame 2\end{frame}
\begin{frame}\frametitle{frame 3}frame 3\end{frame}
\begin{frame}\frametitle{frame 4}frame 4\end{frame}
\end{document}


But I wonder if you really want landscape. Without that option:

• Sorry--I forgot to mention that I tried letterpaper as well, with different results, but still no difference in the shape of the paper. I'll update the question. – Mars Dec 26 '14 at 15:43
• @Mars Is the output above what you want? I get the slides centred either way, one above the other, though it looks better without the landscape option, as you'd expect. If you get different output, I'm guessing it may be because you have rather an old version of TeX, and pgf has had a lot of updates. If you get that output but it isn't what you want, then you need to clarify the question. My thought right now is that you need to update your TeX distribution. 2011 is pretty out of date at this point. – cfr Dec 26 '14 at 16:21
• Yes, the second image is what I want. The crucial point is that the documentation in the distribution that I have says it should work. 2011 shouldn't be so out of date, for a TeX distribution, imo. Installing a new distribution is always a potential solution, but not something I like to do two days before I have to give a presentation. No telling what will break, or not work at first. It will be more efficient to do what I want by hand in the standard article class, and then use regular expression searches and replace to partially convert between handout and presentation. Thank you,though. – Mars Dec 26 '14 at 21:52
• @Mars Note that you can install a new version of TeX Live alongside your old one and switch between them. I currently have 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 available on this system. That way, if stuff breaks, you can just revert to the 2011 version until after your presentation. PGF has seen a lot of changes, including bug fixes, and things quite often don't work as they should with old versions but work OK with newer versions. Personally, I don't like using pgfpages for this anyway. If you don't mind a second file, using pdfpages to produce the handout should be straightforward. – cfr Dec 26 '14 at 22:07
• @Mars I can't reproduce the problem you are reported with TeX Live 2011, mind. It is possible that you did not update your distribution after installation, and so don't have a bug fix which I do. But otherwise, it should work. – cfr Dec 26 '14 at 22:12