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Using Mathematica notebooks in presentations?

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  • Subject: [mg97590] Using Mathematica notebooks in presentations?
  • From: AES <siegman at>
  • Date: Mon, 16 Mar 2009 04:25:06 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: Stanford University

Graphics material prepared in Mathematica (figures, charts, graphs, 
tables, animations, movies, demonstrations) can for the most part be 
exported to external files, which can then be inserted into or used in 
documents or presentations prepared in PDF, PPT, or other widely used 
formats using Acrobat, Word, PowerPoint, Preview, Keynote, QuickTime, 
and innumerable other editing and presentation tools.  

In general tools like these (the presentation tools in particular) allow 
for either _embedding_ these materials within the presentation itself, 
or for _linking_ to these materials as separate free-standing (and hence 
separately updatable or replaceable) files, which are in some cases then 
actually displayed by their parent app, which is temporarily activated 
within the presentation itself.

[Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Reader, and PowerPoint can, for example, link to 
and activate QuickTime movies and certain other apps from within 
presentations that they are presenting.]

A quick experiment shows that PDF files in particular can also contain 
links to Mathematica notebooks, such that one can open and view or 
display notebooks within a PDF document or presentation that one is 
viewing or displaying using Acrobat (or, I suspect, Adobe Reader); and 
then revert back to or continue with the PDF presentation itself.  

[PDF files seem to have the general capability in fact to link to, open, 
and let you execute most any kind of external file whose parent app is 
also present on your system.]

Per a recent thread in this group, Mathematica notebooks can also be 
made auto-starting or auto-executing, such that they can begin executing 
immediately when linked to from within a PDF document.  

I've yet to explore whether Mathematica-linking capabilities similar to 
the above are also available in PowerPoint, Keynote, or other widely 
used presentation programs (though programs like these can certainly 
link to and execute QuickTime movies and other dynamic media); and I've 
also yet to explore whether these links to notebooks from within PDF 
presentations can be made to display within a specific window within the 
underlying basic presentation (although this is also certainly possible 
with certain combinations of presentation apps and other external 

Because of its potential usefulness, I'd appreciate seeing posts from 
anyone else who has experience with this overall mode of operation -- 
that is, with linking to notebooks (or any other Mathematica formats) 
from _within_ other varieties of presentation software -- and who can 
add further helpful hints, tricks, or pointers to tutorial material.

[Debates on _whether_ one _should_ present Mathematica-generated 
material in this fashion -- that is, by starting with other presentation 
applications and linking from within them to Mathematica notebooks -- 
are a separate topic, and might be be the subject of a separate thread.]

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