I made a presentation using the latex beamer class with notes. Now I have a problem displaying notes only on my display while presenting the slides to the audience using a projector. Beamer notes produce very wide pdf pages, each half page should be presented on its own display. A single page looks somewhat like this:

latex beamer presentation with notes

Currently I use the smaller display of my notebook for notes and the larger display for the presentation in my test setting. The second screen is extending the desktop. The screen order doesn't really matter but both displays have a different resolution. I don't know what the actual resolution of the screen/projector will be for when presenting.

I've tried way to many things and should probably just print the notes (and also finish my presentation first before worrying about this at all). Most application support full screen viewing, but it always applies to only a single display.
full screen issue

I tried window modes but don't get the desired results because of the different resolutions. Either parts of the slides aren't visible or too much of the desktop can be seen. There are also distracting borders. window mode issue

Here are some applications I've tried. I the got fullscreen/window issues as described above if not otherwise explained.

  • Adobe reader X
  • Foxit reader
  • PDF-XChange Viewer
  • evince
    • single display fullscreen, task bar still visible
  • impressive
    • impressive
    • single display fullscreen
    • window mode: large resolution not supported by graphic card (only about 3/4 of both monitors)
  • PDF presenter
    • most promising, if I extract all notes into text files
    • plain text notes, too small, would need zoom tool
    • no keyboard shortcuts, must click button
  • Open-PDF-Presenter
    • similiar to above one, notes in text files (?) couldn't compile on windows yet.
  • PDF presenter
  • PDF presenter (yeah, it's a popular name)
    • somewhat promising; displays fullscreen on one screen while other screen is in window mode
    • notes are more a whiteboard feature, can't be hidden to audience
    • notes cant be saved

I also tried the default Ubuntu pdf viewer using virtual box. Unfortunately virtual full screen also shows only a single display.

Are there any solutions to display pdf slides in fullscreen on one display and notes about the current slide on another display?

  • 6
    Just a remark: If you used PowerPoint, then it already has this mode, called Presenter view. This is simpler than your current complex solution.
    – harrymc
    Sep 27, 2011 at 13:12
  • 1
    How many features are required for making a presentation ? You might be underestimating PowerPoint.
    – harrymc
    Sep 27, 2011 at 14:45
  • 1
    @harrymc Not that many features on second though, mainly it's having a progress-bar like overview of the presentation, basically like a table of contents on (almost) every slide that highlights the current section. Also source code syntax colouring (rtf copy&paste would work, but not when linking files I edit externally). Not really required, but portability with pdf is better than ppt.I also just like to type more and click less.
    – kapex
    Sep 27, 2011 at 15:11
  • 2
    You might look at the free IguanaTex or the commercial TexPoint.
    – harrymc
    Sep 27, 2011 at 15:51
  • 4
    You can use github.com/pdfpc/pdfpc as pdfpc presenation.pdf -n right to achieve what you described.
    – nijoakim
    Apr 29, 2016 at 13:13

2 Answers 2


You can achieve this under Linux with a combination of xrandr and impressive.py.

First use xrandr to set the screens' resolutions, e.g.:

xrandr --output LVDS --mode 1024x768 --output CRT1 --mode 1024x768 --left-of LVDS

where LVDS would be your laptop's screen and CRT1 the projector. You can verify your device identifiers and available resolutions by just running xrandr.

Once you have the screens set up, run impressive.py with the -g flag signalling the complete workspace size, e.g.:

impressive.py -g 2048x768 beamer_with_notes.pdf

Source: Phillip Merensky's blog.

Merensky's blog also points to a more complex example of xrandr usage for multiple-projector presentations.


I found a nice little tool called VirtualScreenMaximizer, which does exactly that. Works like a charm!

  • Please read How do I recommend software for some tips as to how you should go about recommending software. You should provide at least a link, some additional information about the software itself, and how it can be used to solve the problem in the question.
    – DavidPostill
    Oct 27, 2016 at 20:34

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