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enter image description here

This image is from -https://www.nature.com/scitable/ebooks/english-communication-for-scientists-14053993/118520812#bookContentViewAreaDivID (Marie's slides)

How do I draw objects using beamer dynamically referencing text position so that they are relative to the text position? I would like to make a template like this for my beamer presentation.

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With tikz you could do something like this:

\documentclass{beamer}
\usepackage{tikz}
\usetikzlibrary{overlay-beamer-styles}

\newcommand{\fancyitem}[3]{%
    \node[anchor=west] at (1,-\theitemnumber) (titlenode)  {\color{gray}\textcolor<+>{black}{#2}};
    \fill[alt=<.>{fill=#1}{fill=#1!40!white}] (titlenode.west)++(0,-0.4) rectangle ++(-0.2,0.8);
    \only<.>{
      \fill[#1] (titlenode.west)++(-0.2,-0.4) rectangle ++(5,0.05);
      \node[anchor=north west] (textnode) at (titlenode.west) [xshift=5cm,yshift=-0.3cm, text width=5cm] {#3};  
      \fill[#1] (titlenode.west)++(4.8,-0.35) rectangle (textnode.south west);
    }
    \addtocounter{itemnumber}{1}
}

\newcounter{itemnumber}

\begin{document}

\begin{frame}
\begin{overlayarea}{\linewidth}{.47\textheight}
    \begin{tikzpicture}
    \setcounter{itemnumber}{0}
    \fancyitem{orange}{nanooptics}{confining and guiding light photonic components fabrication}
    \fancyitem{cyan}{focussed ion beam}{confining and guiding}
    \fancyitem{violet}{aligment procedure}{confining and guiding light photonic}        
  \end{tikzpicture}
\end{overlayarea}
\end{frame} 

\end{document}

enter image description here

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