This is the first time I make presentation slides using latex. After I downloaded a template which uses beamer, each page of it appears as below and I don't know why. The document possesses only a small part of each page. template_look

Can anybody help to make it look normal? My latex is an old version. I guess it lacks some necessary packages. I don't know what packages I need and how and where I can get them.

Thanks a lot!!!!

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    The YAP previewer is for DVI format; try compiling instead using pdflatex and viewing the output pdf file in a PDF viewer. – Willie Wong Sep 26 '16 at 0:47
  • Meow in keeping with the site guidelines as well as just to help others, please accept the posted answer below or have @Willie post their comment as an answer so you can accept it. Best practice for the site since your issue has been resolved – Jimi Oke Oct 27 '16 at 14:27
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    @JimiOke: if you haven't noticed: I wrote both the comment above and the answer below. :-) – Willie Wong Oct 27 '16 at 15:16
  • @WillieWong Haha didn't look closely enough :) Thanks for clarifying!! I did upvote it tho :) – Jimi Oke Oct 27 '16 at 16:45

The problem is that you are using the DVI previewer. The design of the DVI format does not allow to specify the paper size as part of the document, and hence paper size is something that needs to be set prior to calling the viewer by the user whenever not using the default size (which is letter paper or a4 paper for most distributions depending on your locale).

The beamer format by default outputs slides with frame size 128mm by 96mm, which is somewhat smaller than either of the us letter size or the ISO A4 size. This means that if you build your beamer document using latex outputting to a .dvi file, and view it using a DVI previewer like YAP, your previewer will be trying to virtually "print" the document onto A4 paper (let's say) and displaying that, which means you see all the margins that you saw.

The beamer user guide suggests that you use one of the two workflows:

  • Build using latex to .dvi output and processing it with dvips (Note, not dvipdf.) to get PostScript output, which you can then convert to PDF format.
  • Build using pdflatex to directly get PDF output.

If you use pdflatex and view your slides using a PDF previewer, since the PDF format does allow specifying paper size in the document, the slides will display correctly.

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    This is good, and you may also find it helpful to scale your beamer slides using \geometry{mag=2000,truedimen} so that it's easier to print them to full pages. See tex.stackexchange.com/a/397415/120014 if you want to do that. – EL_DON Jan 25 '18 at 18:08

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