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I had been wondering what are the advantages of using LaTeX (specifically the presentation packages: beamer or texpower) over powerpoint for presentations. The advantages which I have seen on the web point to the fact that LaTeX can output PDFs which are platform independent, but even powerpoint can do that. Another point being that you don't need to pay for using LaTeX.

Apart from that why would I want to use LaTeX for doing presentations?

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I believe Beamer is what you're looking for to use LaTeX for presentations. Can't help you much with a versus comparison since I've never used it, but there are a few good introductions to Beamer out there. –  fideli Dec 13 '10 at 19:23
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4 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

In a single analogy:

LaTeX+beamer:PowerPoint::LaTeX:Word

I use beamer every day for my classes (I teach math) and couldn't imagine using PowerPoint/Keynote the same way. But for conference talks or opening-day presentations which are not rich in mathematical notation I like Keynote.

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OK, I did a bit more googling and found couple of links with a good comparison:

  1. Keynote Vs Powerpoint vs Beamer
  2. LaTeX and PowerPoint presentations

Main takeaway being if you want to have math symbols in your presentations, use LaTeX (Beamer).

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I think that the answer mostly depends on what is going to appear in your presentation.

If you need a lot of math, please use beamer.

If you have Images and you need to make some order on the space you have on each slide, I think PPT is more powerful. The reason is that it often happens that your images on the slide are quite larger than you expected and you need to resize them. With PPt this process is straightforward, with beamer it's very demanding (compiling, checking, re-compiling....).

I've never used Keynotes, I'm sorry.

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LaTeX is a typesetting computer language. To use it powerfully, you have to really learn it. The learning curve can be steep, particularly if you've been primarily a casual user. It's also considered a markup language. If you've had experience with html, you may find it easier to use. If you are putting together presentations professionally (as it's in your job description), say as a junior analyst or professor, you'll find it to be very valuable. If you're a casual user, or a student doing a project here or there, unless you're doing it for the learning experience, it's much easier to use PowerPoint (or a free alternative: OpenOffice.org's Impress).

That said, there are many templates and examples that can make the presentation creation process much easier.

In summary, it really depends on your intentions and long term goals. I recommend Beamer for a long term learning goal, if it fits into your learning desires or professional needs. As a lifetime learner, I want to learn it myself, and I've made some steps along the way to learning it, but it's on the backburner for the time being.

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