Most of the time when presenting a talk people connect their laptop to a video projector. So they effectively have an extra screen at their disposal. Because of that many Software options for presentations use the extra screen of the laptop to display notes, time left for the talk, a preview of the next slide and such information to the presenter.

I'm using LaTeX-Beamer which outputs a pdf. I'd like to have notes, a preview of the next slide and the time I have left for my talk displayed to me on the laptop screen, while the projector shows the regular presentation slides.

Ideally this program should work under Linux (Ubuntu 12.04). Does such a program exist?

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    Interesting question: it seems that for Okular, this is a feature request that has been accepted: bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=152585 I guess it is worth monitoring that.
    – mSSM
    Commented Nov 28, 2012 at 11:40
  • 2
    Did you check Section 22 of the Beamer User Guide ("Taking Advantage of Multiple Screens")? I haven't tried it, but it seems to address exactly your request.
    – vaettchen
    Commented Nov 28, 2012 at 11:42
  • 1
    IIRC the beamer manual explains how to set up for dual screen presentations. In my documentation it's explained in Section 19.3. Also see this PracTeX journal article.
    – user10274
    Commented Nov 28, 2012 at 11:43
  • 2
    Okay I found the package pdf-presenter-console which is worth a look. It has the timer thingy and a preview of the next slide. It does not display notes.
    – con-f-use
    Commented Nov 28, 2012 at 11:47
  • 4
    Maybe impressive is an option. It has a timer and an overview page, but it doesn't support an extra screen for notes.
    – maetra
    Commented Nov 28, 2012 at 13:26

11 Answers 11


So pdfpc on github (which is a forked and improved version of the pdf-presenter-console) is the closest thing I found.


It has all the features I looked for. Regular slides on the projector, view of the next slide and the current one on the laptop. It pre-caches the slides for fast switch and can provide an overview with thumbnails for each slide (quick selection). It also plays videos. With the n one can edit notes that are stored in a text file in the same directory as the PDF, or it can show beamer slides on the side screen.


To use, one has to invoke pdfpc with a PDF file like this in terminal:

pdfpc presentation.pdf

Of course one can add it to the list of applications to open PDF's with in your file-manager to make it easier. There are command line options to interchange screens, set the timer, and have it count down instead of up.

The rest is straight forward and documented in the man pages. Ubuntu man-pages are outdated, so one should consult the man pages on the site. I made a request for importing LaTeX-Beamer notes.

The latest version (4.0 and up) supports LaTeX-Beamer notes. Just use --notes={left,right,top,bottom} to match the setting in your "beamer" document:

\setbeameroption{show notes}
\setbeameroption{show notes on second screen=right}

With the above, you would use --notes=right.

Installation / Compilation

For Windows PCs it might be a pain in the rear to compile, since the requirements state:

  • Vala Compiler Version >=0.11.0
  • Gnu compiler collection
  • CMake Version >=2.6
  • Gtk+ 2.x
  • libPoppler with glib bindings

Which is a handful to install and get running. For Ubuntu, other Debian distros and Arch, it's a piece of cake as there are packages in the repositories.

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    In fact pdfpc is a fork of pdf-presenter-console with more possibilities, not just a new version. Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 10:43
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    Unfortunately, advanced pdf-features such as ogc or fancytooltips are not supported by pdfpc, even though its pdf-engine supports javascript which is used by fancytooltips.
    – maetra
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 9:41
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    This looks interesting, but I have serious problems with dependencies, probably due to naming discrepancies among different linux distributions. It would be nice to have it packaged on launchpad.
    – qed
    Commented Aug 27, 2013 at 12:56
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    @qed: It is packaged as pdf-presenter-console in the default Debian/Ubuntu archives. The package name is misleading, but this really installs David Vilar's fork (version 3.x), at least on the more recent versions of Debian/Ubuntu.
    – krlmlr
    Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 13:18
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    Also, it is Zoom-friendly!! You can have the two separate windows (audience and presenter) any size, ie without the audience view being fullscreen. This is vital for the post-COVID19 world, since you can share the audience window (by screenshare with Zoom or etc) at reasonable size. Just start the program with the "-w" (windowed) flag to avoid fullscreening.
    – CPBL
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 0:01

Browsing around this morning, I came across pympress.

It is cross-platform as it is written in python, and has the presenter look & feel you're looking for, with a window to show slides on screen and another for your laptop with time, slide numbers, next slide preview, annotations, etc.

A few other nice features are native support for beamer notes on second screen, embedded videos, and more.

  • 1
    Hey Thomas, thank you. Wow pdfpc and pympress are really similar. I still favour pdfpc as it can handle notes and pre-caches the slides for smooth transition.
    – con-f-use
    Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 10:55
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    @con-f-use I want to mention that pympress supports all that as well (though it probably didn't when you wrote the comment 4 years ago).
    – Cimbali
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 15:13
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    Also, the windows installation of pympress is pain-free if you use the .msi installer. It works out of the box. For example for version 1.5.1 on Windows 10 HP pavilion github.com/Cimbali/pympress/releases/tag/v1.5.2 Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 6:29
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    Also, it is Zoom-friendly!! You can have the two separate windows (audience and presenter) any size, ie without the audience view being fullscreen. This is vital for the post-COVID19 world, since you can share the audience window (by screenshare with Zoom or etc) at reasonable size.
    – CPBL
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 23:52
  • Easy to install (msi) and use in Windows and works amazingly! Glad I found and tried this after searching for a long time.
    – fishlein
    Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 21:28

In case you're still interested, I have written a small viewing application in C++, called "dspdfviewer" for "Dual-Screen PDF Viewer".

Its built specifically for latex-beamer, and it's "show notes on second screen" option. This latex-beamer option will give you a double-width PDF, where the right part are your beamer-notes, and the right part can include a small preview of the current/next page. Check out the beamerguide for details. Only, I did not find a viewing application to correctly display those kinds of PDFs.

My program splits the PDF file in half and renders the left half in fullscreen on the "primary" screen (intended for the audience) and the second half together with some timers on the "secondary" screen (your notebook for example).

It currently works with Debian wheezy, and Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric) and newer.

You can download it for Ubuntu on the ppa https://launchpad.net/~dannyedel/+archive/dspdfviewer

The sourcecode is available at https://github.com/dannyedel/dspdfviewer, and the documentation is available as man page (included in the deb packages as "man dspdfviewer").

  • I will give it a try as soon as I have to give my next talk. Thanks alot. Boy solutions may be hard to find but they are good an numerous.
    – con-f-use
    Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 16:29
  • Can it play embedded javascript movies?
    – daaxix
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 4:05
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    It is not able to play external media files whose links are embedded in some frame. Impressive work though.
    – Diaa
    Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 15:50
  • A simple and efficient tool. Also works on OSX, available through brew. Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 14:35
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    All of these use fullscreen mode. I am looking for one where presentation and notes are shown in two separate windows. The reason is that I would like to present over video conferencing software and share presenter window only while keeping notes on my screen.
    – krokodil
    Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 1:43

I tested only a few minutes, but it is worth to take a look to

Impressive - Is a presentation program that displays slideshows of image files (JPEG, PNG, TIFF and BMP) or PDF documents. Rendering is done via OpenGL, which allows for some "eye candy" effects.

Installation is simply apt-get install impressive in Debian based distributions. Complete features are better explained in impressive -h,man impressive and impressive /usr/share/doc/impressive/demo.pdf but off the top of my head there are options for automatically advance, show timer an progress bar, control display aspect ratio, background rendering (by default active), cache modes, rotating, scaling and shuffling pages, use a custom cursor, make transitions, etc.

I have found mostly interesting the possibility of highlight boxes with the mouse during the presentation and even save and restore this for a second session as well as the spot light mode (a highlight circle around the mouse) and the overview mode (with Tab to quickly select a thumbnail with the mouse) , but you can also include options to include sound and videos, adjust gamma and black level with options or sort keys, mark pages with the skip flag, etc.

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    There are even scripts to generate the .info files from beamer documents. Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 9:55
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    Remember: To show the slides properly impressive assumes that both screens have the same resolution! Otherwise the depiction is corrupted. Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 7:40
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    There are definitely some cool effects in Impressive, but unfortunately there is not a true presenter console or notes option and no plans to implement these features. The presenter console and notes features from pdfpc and the rendering from Impressive would be a fantastic combo! Commented May 22, 2016 at 15:25
  • Any particular reason for the negative vote?
    – Fran
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 14:36
  • This is not what the OP is looking for. > "Q:Is there any kind of »presenter screen« in Impressive? No, and there is currently no proper way (or plans) to implement such a thing. This is due to limitations in PyGame and Impressive's code structure, both of which are hard to overcome." impressive.sourceforge.net/faq.php
    – antonio
    Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 17:16

I made a web-based viewer which simply opens the slides and the notes on separate windows, keeping them in sync. The windows can be moved freely and expanded (F11) on another monitor like any window.

It accepts double-width LaTeX-Beamer PDFs which can be generated using \setbeameroption{show notes on second screen=right}.

The application works in a web browser and doesn't require any installation. The PDF is rendered locally and the app can work offline (kept in the browser's cache). It has been tested with recent versions of Firefox (61) and Chrome (67).

It is available at https://beamerviewer.euxane.net/. A demo can also be found here.

The source code is available on this git repository.

  • Great work! Just a small PDF.js viewer + keybindings. Finally a portable and lightweight solution for this task.
    – ojdo
    Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 13:39

As of September 2017 under opensuse, Leap 42.3, I googled again for a PDF viewer which allows to use the second screen option of beamer.

MuPDF doesn't support a second screen with notes at all. dspdfviewer wasn't available as a package for opensuse, so I didn't try. pdfpc worked out of the box, but you can't play embedded content, e.g. a video from it, if the video was linked with this command (given in the beamer manual, but see the comment of giordano below):


Finally I came across pympress, which turned out to be under active development. I installed it as root from command line:

python3 -m pip install pympress

pympress started my video and I'll invest some more time testing it.

  • With pdfpc I can run a video embedded with \href{run:./video.mp4}{\includegraphics[width=0.6\columnwidth]{thumbnail}}
    – giordano
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 16:28
  • For the record, I just tried using \movie in pdfpc and it works for me (this shouldn't even be a surprise since \movie internally uses the command I wrote in my previous comment). Just discovered that it works also in Okular.
    – giordano
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 21:05
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    Good to know pympress can handle multimedia. Thanks!
    – Luke Davis
    Commented Mar 2, 2018 at 17:34

There is also slider which is designed to be lightweight and specialised. It is designed to allow the use of notes on a second screen etc. Since it is relatively new, it may be worth watching even if a feature you need isn't yet currently implemented. (It has changed quite a lot since I started playing with it.)


My favorite pdf reader is Mupdf: (1) Firstly, the rendering of the popler-engine used in most pdf-viewers is horribly and mupdf's rendering is far superior (2) it's the reference pdf-viewer from ghostscript project

(3) Is quite easy to use it just with a keyboard (what makes the mupdf-pdf-viewer (and onmupdf based reader)) great for presentations

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    But the question is: does it support the second screen option of beamer?
    – Keks Dose
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 15:21

Updated answer
I wrote a tool called BeamerPresenter, which shows presentation and notes for the speaker in separate windows. The modular interface can be adjusted to very different situations. Presentation and notes can be provided as separate pdf files or with the LaTeX beamer option “show notes on second screen”. Rich text notes created directly in the program are another option.

This program supports drawing (optimized for tablet input and compatibility with Xournal++), different highlighting tools, multimedia content, slide transitions, and quick response thanks to a compressed cache of rendered slides. The PDF files are rendered with MuPDF or Poppler.

Old answer (referring to an old version of BemerPresenter)
I wrote a tool called BeamerPresenter (based on Qt 5 and poppler), which shows presentation and notes for the speaker in two separate windows. Presentation and notes can be provided as two separate pdf files or as a single file with the LaTeX beamer option “show notes on second screen”.

It supports multimedia content, animations (by showing slides in rapid succession), slide transitions, special treatment of overlays and prerendering of slides to cache. For the speaker it offers navigation by scrolling, key bindings (aware of overlays), a table of contents and an overview of the slides.

  • BeamerPresenter is super nice! Thank you!
    – Rasmus
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 15:16

I used okular.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install okular

Open the pdf presentation and use "presentation mode" as View >> Presentation. You are good to go. With this I can play my mp4 and other animations as well.


I found the 'PDF Presenter Console' in the Ubuntu Software Center, works well for me with showing next slide and time!

Edit: Here is a screenshot of how it looks on my 2 screens: enter image description here

  • 2
    Isn't this the discontinued precursor of pdfpc, which has already been introduced in the accepted answer?
    – AlexG
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 19:04
  • @AlexG that is possible, I am not certain
    – Leanora
    Commented Apr 22, 2021 at 7:13

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