I use mostly Reveal.js for my presentations and lately I learned Beamer. As far as I see you can reproduce almost anything from a HTML pres. in Beamer with a little work, except for the animations/transitions and the interactions area (dragging things on the screen, manipulate the presentation in real time, etc.).

This is where the full power of HTML5 and js comes to fruition and the PDF format shows its limit.

So my question is: is this a technical limit of LaTeX or the PDF format which is impossible to overcome, or at least in theory we can expect a Beamer successor that will bring LaTeX presentations up to par with HTML/js?

I already know the animate package and that you can use js code into PDFs, but the js support for PDFs seems to be very limited, and the animate package is not very user-friendly to work with and sometimes gives unpredictable results.

Edit: To give you an example of a presentation that I don't think could be done in Beamer/LaTeX, take a look at: http://vizzuality.github.io/rollingstonesmap

Specifically look at how you can zoom in real-time on the background map to reveal content, move things around, etc.

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    Have you guys ever tried to use js into a pdf pres.? It is extremely complicated and often unpredictable. Also, many js libraries (like jquery, D3, etc.) cannot be included into a PDF, so the support is very very limited, it seems more on the level of a proof of concept to me. With "transitions" I don't mean "slide transitions" but "content transitions" that are necessary when you need to move things around, otherwise everything looks extremely unnatural.
    – EdTeX
    Dec 28, 2014 at 12:09
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    As the pdf-format is supposed to be kind of static and preserve the content, i think you don't want to use it. May i ask why you want to do it with LaTeX? I know for a fact that even TeXperts don't necessarily use LaTeX for presentations.
    – Johannes_B
    Dec 28, 2014 at 12:53
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    I think what people are saying is that this is not really a limitation of beamer, but of PDF. So while beamer might be developed further - or another package might be developed differently - you are not going to get the kinds of dynamic content you're discussing so long as PDF is specified in the way it is. And there is some doubt, I guess, whether a future PDF spec is likely to change this so long as Adobe conceive of PDF as an essentially archival format.
    – cfr
    Dec 28, 2014 at 14:28
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    Not relevant to the technical question, but I'd be very wary of any form of 'interactive' slides of this form. My experience doing academic talks and lectures is that what works best is something akin to classic printed slides: a few very good images and the ability to actually talk well!
    – Joseph Wright
    Dec 28, 2014 at 16:47
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    @JosephWright but the "academic talk" scenario is not the only one where you need to present something... I don't think it's fair to consider only one scenario, one specific audience, etc.
    – EdTeX
    Dec 28, 2014 at 18:54

1 Answer 1


This is just a partial answer... Some requirements in the question are not easy to get. I will focus in some easy ones :) !

Some of the requirements are beamer independent.

In normal situations I like beamer to produce just the pdf pages and define the presentation dynamics later (pdf viewer vs presentation tool (thank you @fran)).

Presentation tools (like impressive) provide:

  1. options to define transitions, time bars, slide bars;
  2. commands (hot keys, mouse events) for zooming, highlighting, spotlight
  3. scripting...

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