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Making a presentation to an audience

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg58330] Making a presentation to an audience
  • From: "Hugh Goyder" <h.g.d.goyder at>
  • Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 05:13:34 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: University of Warwick, UK
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

This is going to sound a bit of a grouse but the good news is that it can
all be fixed.

I wish to set up a slide show for a presentation to an audience using
Mathematica version 5.1 for Windows. I will use a data projector to get an
image on a large screen in a lecture theatre. This is the usual standard
wherever I seem to go. The data projector will map the computer screen on my
laptop to the theatre screen.

Most other lecturers will use PowerPoint. Should I use Mathematica in the
slide show environment and what can I do that is better than PowerPoint?

The following things seem to go wrong.

1. In Help under "creating slide shows" it suggests I use the slide show
pallet found in the menu File-Pallets. I use the pallet to give me a new
notebook which is a template for a slide show. However, the style sheet for
the slide show is that for a help browser. Text, input and output are 12
point, section headings are in 18 point . This is clearly too small. In
PowerPoint the default text is in 32 point and headings are in 44 point. The
slide show under "creating slides shows" is clearly not a slide show for
making a presentation to an audience but a slide show to be read on a
computer screen.

2. I dig around and find on the Mathematica Information centre a download
entitled "Tips for Mathematica Slide Show Presenters".
( ) This also starts by
suggesting you begin with the slide show pallet and use the help browser as
a template. It does not contain a template for a slide show presentation. So
no progress here. There are some useful points but nothing that gets you
started. No slide show template with a good embedded style sheet.

3. I dig around further and find that I can have slide shows in environments
Classroom, Demo and Report as well as the help browser. The classroom
environment looks promising. I try this and find that in the slide show
environment text, input and output are in 12 point with section headings in
16 point. This is clearly not a presentation for an audience. (Am I missing
something here what are you meant to be doing in the environment classroom
slide show?). Also, there is no help for putting up buttons that enable you
to jump to the next slide.

4. I am now asking some very fundamental questions: Why is there no
environment "slide show"? Where are all the style sheets (for a range of
activities) kept? Why is there no location on the Wolfram site where I can
download a style sheet for almost any application?

5. I am contemplating making a notebook template for a slide show
presentation to an audience. However, before I start a long task of making
many changes to a style sheet I thought I would ask the mathgroup for help
in general and the following detailed points.

i) Has anyone sorted out a good template for a side show that is to be used
as a presentation to an audience? It will presumably contain an embedded
style sheet. Please could they send me a copy?

ii) Does anyone know what is the correct font size to use? I think
PowerPoint may be correct with its font sizes giving about 10 lines to a
slide. Slide heading 44 point, text in 32 point.

iii) Examples of good slides that can be used as templates. For example:

a) A slide with heading and text (perhaps with bullet points).

b) A slide with graphics. What ImageSize should I set for a Graphic so that
it nicely fills the screen? Use of Alt CRC to close the input cell is
probably a good trick to avoid showing all the construction details.

c) Small Forward -Previous buttons at the bottom so that I can advance to
the next slide (so that if you extend a slide by doing a calculation you
don't have to scroll back to the top to find the point to click.) I know you
can use page down to move to the next slide but why should I have to walk to
the lectern where my computer is located and press the button. I want to use
a remote mouse to advance the slides.

d) Any more good ideas or tips for presentations. Perhaps there are things
you can do in Mathematica that you can't in a PowerPoint presentation?

If I can make a good slide show notebook that can be used as a template I
will put it together and offer it to the information centre.


Hugh Goyder

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