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As per the title, I cannot figure out what [pdf] in

\documentclass[pdf]{beamer}

does/means?

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  • What do you expect it to do? It is a class option that's passed to all packages that use class options, so it may be of use if any package uses that option, but for beamer it is probably not important. – TeXnician Jan 28 '18 at 17:59
  • I literally have no idea hah. I started with Beamer today and so am still very much learning the ropes. I saw in some sample code someone had it, but didn't explain what it was or why they included it. I originally included it, but it turns out I couldn't do \documentclass[pdf][t]{beamer} so decided to drop the [pdf] option as I didn't know what it did so thought it maybe wasn't important. – eBopBob Jan 28 '18 at 18:04
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    you wouldn't be able to use [pdf][t] with any document class, \documentclass only has one [] option in that position, multiple options are separated by , – David Carlisle Jan 28 '18 at 18:06
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    As far as I know pdf does nothing for beamer itself. Most likely it is 'transported' to the packages, as @TeXnician already noted – user31729 Jan 28 '18 at 18:08
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    A thorough search of the manual indicates the pdf is not an option of beamer. dvips however is. – John Kormylo Jan 29 '18 at 2:18
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pdf in your case is a class option that's passed to all packages that use class options, so it may be of use if any package uses that option, but for beamer it is unknown. On the other hand it is important to tell beamer if you were using a DVI-based compilation by using the option dvips.

As you noted in the comments you want to use multiple class options. You can do this by separating multiple values with a comma like \documentclass[pdf,myoption]{beamer}.

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