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PDF re-pitch [Was: Re: What should be a simple task....]

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg100910] PDF re-pitch [Was: Re: What should be a simple task....]
  • From: AES <siegman at>
  • Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2009 04:51:39 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Stanford University
  • References: <> <h1a9rp$81p$>

In article <h1a9rp$81p$1 at>,
 Louis Talman <talmanl at> wrote:

> On Jun 10, 2009, at 3:35 AM, Nelson-Patel, Kristin wrote:
> > I am an analyst (applied physics and math) who has to present all
> > of my work in Power Point briefings, sometimes on paper, sometimes
> > electronically.
> If PowerPoint is not specifically required, but some other slide  
> generating program may be substituted, you could investigate KeyNote  
> (Macintosh software, and I don't know if it solves your problem) or  
> the LaTeX package Beamer (which is available for many platforms and  
> does solve your problem).  The Beamer learning curve is steep if you  
> aren't a LaTeX user, but not steeper than Mathematica's.  :-)

Not to criticize LaTeX or Beamer, which are very good tools for 
*preparing* certain kinds of material (e.g., typeset equations), but I'd 
just note again:

*  If you put all your work (that is, capture or store *everything* 
you're *ever* going to want to present) in the form of PDF files -- 
perhaps initially as individual single-page files or "slides", in 11 X 
8.5 landscape format -- you can then project these files/slides, 
individually or bundled in to a document or presentation, using Adobe 
Acrobat, or (I would think) simply using Adobe Reader.  (I don't use 
Reader myself, since I nearly always have Acrobat open in my system.)

*  PDF is universal: essentially every computer and every software app 
can export to PDF; every computer and every platform you'll encounter 
anywhere can handle and display it, with Reader at least.  

*  You can grab material to add to your presentations from anywhere, in 
a near-infinite set of initial formats, and put it ("place it") into 
additional PDF "slides" -- though much of what you grab, from the web 
anyway, will already be in PDF format.

*  You can maintain, catalog, and organize all your "slides" in PDF 
format using any of numerous image cataloging apps, if you like to work 
that way; then more or less instantaneously and with trivial work 
assemble any subset of them into a multi-page document or presentation 
using Acrobat.

*  You can later break apart, reshuffle, re-order, remove, pull out 
individual slides from such multi-page PDF files, instantly and easily, 
with Acrobat.

*  You can quickly and easily edit, modify, retouch, re-label, 
re-purpose any of these individual PDF slides *or any page within a 
multi-page PDF document or presentation* using Illustrator, an easily 
learned (and remembered) WYSIWYG app **with an essentially infinite UNDO 

*  Adding links to external apps (movies, web pages, other apps) from 
within PDF documents, so you can jump from a PDF presentation  to them 
and back, is *easily* done using Acrobat.

*  In my experience, the PDF format is highly robust and stable, and the 
same holds for the PDF tools I've used:  PDF files coming from many 
different sources, backgrounds, vintages, creation dates, all seem to be 
able to be assembled and used by Acrobat and Illustrator, without 
encountering endless headaches, glitches, or "gotchas".

*  Many freeware and commercial software tools for doing fancier things 
with PDF are available if you want them -- but you don't really need 
them for most anything you want to do.

*  In my experience, material (photos, images, typeset equations, etc) 
obtained externally and placed into PDF slides will display or project 
superbly using Acrobat (or, I assume, Reader, though I've not tried it) 
*even after rescaling*.

*  PDF files are generally modest in size; can contain extensive 
metadata if you want it; can easily be reduced in file size for limited 
purposes, if desired, using "PDF Shrink" type tools; and can be 
transmitted reliably over the web or via other media.

For the record, I have no connection with (or investment in) Adobe.  I 
keep hammering on these points because this approach has worked so well 
for me over a long period of time; the skills involved seem so easily 
learned and remembered (and so stable in time); and the results achieved 
are of such good quality and so universally usable that I find it hard 
to envision any better system.

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