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11 Creating Presentations

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This section of Introduction to Wolfram Notebooks is about using notebooks for presentations, such as showing a notebook as a slideshow. Here's an example of a typical slideshow, which is essentially just a notebook that is being displayed one slide at a time. You can end the slideshow by clicking this button in the upper-right corner of the display and choosing End Presentation from the resulting popup menu, which shows the same notebook in the working format that was used for creating the slideshow. This working slideshow notebook behaves much like any other notebook, with two essential differences being the presence of cells for marking breaks between slides and the authoring toolbar at the top of the notebook. The authoring toolbar is a docked cell with controls for common operations like inserting a new slide and starting the presentation. The authoring toolbar and the Slide Break cells and all of the other options that make this notebook function as an environment for creating a slideshow are set up in the stylesheet. The stylesheet for this notebook is chosen from the PresenterTools submenu under the Format ► Stylesheet menu. All of the stylesheets in the PresenterTools submenu include all of the options for creating a slideshow. In fact, any notebook can be made into a slideshow by simply choosing one of the PresenterTools stylesheets and inserting slide breaks. For example, here is that same notebook, but without any of the Slide Break cells and with the normal Default stylesheet, which is the item that is checked in the stylesheet submenu. Further down this menu is the PresenterTools submenu, and below that is another submenu called SlideShow. The SlideShow submenu is included to support an older slideshow system that has been available in Wolfram Notebooks for many years. But this section is about the newer PresenterTools system, which is an enhanced version of the older system. To make this notebook into a slideshow, we will choose one of the PresenterTools stylesheets. A convenient way to insert slide breaks is to first bring up the authoring toolbar, which is made visible by changing the screen environment to Slideshow Working, using the Screen Environment submenu under the Format menu. Clicking the Insert New Slide button in the authoring toolbar opens a short popup menu offering to insert a slide break with or without a background. Either choice inserts the slide break, which is marked by a new cell with a cell style called slideshow navigation bar. You can also create a new slide by copying and pasting the Slide Break cell from elsewhere in the notebook. For example, we can select the Slide Break cell and the Section cell below it, and then copy that selection and paste those cells elsewhere in the notebook to get a new slide. This sort of editing is also a way of deleting slides or deleting slide breaks. For example, to delete the slide that was just added, we can select the Slide Break cell and the contents of the slide and delete that selection. Another way of inserting slide breaks throughout the notebook is to click the Slide Break Defaults button in the authoring toolbar, which opens a dialog box where you can choose slide breaks based on cell styles. For example, choosing Section in this dialog box and clicking the Set button inserts a slide break before every Section cell in the notebook. If the notebook is already organized into sections, this is a fast way of turning the notebook into a slideshow. Rather than converting a default notebook into a slideshow, in many cases the easiest way to create a new slideshow is to start by choosing New ► Presenter Notebook from the File menu, which brings up this dialog box for choosing from the same set of PresenterTools stylesheets, which are here referred to as themes. From this dialog box you can also choose from various default fonts and color schemes. After making some choices, click the Create button to get a slideshow template with the chosen PresenterTools stylesheet and the screen environment set to Slideshow Working and the authoring toolbar at the top and several slides with some generic content already filled in. This notebook can then be edited much like any other notebook to fill in the contents of the slideshow. Several of the buttons in the authoring toolbar are generic controls for fonts and styling that could apply to any notebook. For example, this button brings up a menu for choosing cell style, which are the same styles that can be chosen from the Style submenu under the Format menu. Next to the cell style menu is an interesting button that can be used to add font choices to all cells of the selected style. For example, after setting this text cell to use large, bold characters, clicking that button has the effect of applying those options to all of the text cells in the notebook. This worked by editing the private stylesheet for this notebook. For example, choosing Edit Stylesheet from the Format menu shows the private stylesheet for this notebook with the new local style definitions that specify large, bold characters for the text. You could achieve the same effect by editing the stylesheet directly, so that button in the authoring toolbar essentially provides one-click editing of the stylesheet. One button that is worth saying a few words about is this button, which opens a popup menu for making font sizes larger or smaller. To describe what that menu does, it is helpful to first bring up a feature of all PresenterTools stylesheets, which is dynamic resizing of content depending on the size of the window. For example, if the size of this window is changed, the font sizes change, and in fact the sizes of images and almost all of the other content within the notebook also changes based on the size of the window. You could get the same effect in any notebook by using scaled sizes for fonts and images and so on, but unlike most other stylesheets, with PresenterTools stylesheets all of the options settings for that resizing are already part of the stylesheet. Dynamic resizing like this is helpful for the common situation where you want to enlarge the window for presentation or where the presentation is done on a different display system where window sizes might be different. Returning now to the specific issue of font sizes, if font size is specified by selecting some text and choosing a font size from the Size submenu under the Format menu, the size of that text remains constant as the size of the window is changed, since that size setting takes precedence over the dynamic resizing system from the stylesheet. The font size button in the authoring toolbar works differently. For example, selecting some text and then choosing a new size from the popup menu in the authoring toolbar causes the size of the selected text to be scaled up or down by the chosen number of steps, and the resized text does change size based on the size of the window. Similar issues also apply to images and to graphics. For example, selecting this image changes the authoring toolbar to show a button for locking the current size of the image or letting the size of the image change with the size of the window. Choosing Lock to current size sets the image size option for that selection to the current fixed value, which results in an image that, like the text shown earlier, remains at a fixed size when the size of the window is changed. So while dynamic resizing is the default, you can get fixed sizes by specifying sizes for individual selections. Other buttons in the authoring toolbar include the Start Presentation button, which is the button to click to start the presentation, which we will do in a moment. The first button below the Start Presentation button brings up a palette of buttons showing the outline of the slideshow. These buttons can be clicked to navigate between slides in the notebook. This palette also includes a refresh button to update the palette if slides are added or removed. The button next to that opens the Side Notes palette, which provides a way of adding notes that are intended for the presenter and that will be shown in this palette, but that are not displayed in the presentation. To add a side note, click the Add note to slide button, which inserts a cell called a SideNote cell into the slideshow notebook. This cell can be edited just like any other cell. Clicking the refresh button updates the Side Notes palette with any new side notes. Clicking this last button opens a popup menu. Choosing Style Palette from that menu opens a palette of buttons like the buttons in the authoring toolbar. Choosing Presentation Controls opens a dialog box for customizing the computer keys for navigating between slides. Choosing Theme Options opens the same dialog box that was used initially for choosing a stylesheet. So if you wanted to change the stylesheet from the stylesheet that was chosen initially, you can do that here, or equivalently, by choosing a different stylesheet from the Stylesheet submenu. For example, this changes the fonts and the color scheme of the presentation by changing the stylesheet. To start the slideshow, we can click the Start Presentation button. At the end of the Start Presentation button is a popup menu for other screen environments. Scrolling Presentation gives a display for scrolling through the slides rather than clicking from slide to slide, and Slideshow Presentation switches the screen environment to Slideshow Presentation, which removes the authoring toolbar and the Slide Break cells and the SideNote cells. Clicking the main Start Presentation button does all of that and also switches to full-screen display. After the presentation is started, you can move between slides using keys on the computer keyboard or the corresponding keys on a separate controller. Within the slideshow, there is a button in the upper-right corner of the window that can be clicked to open a popup menu with other controls. There are choices here for moving to the first slide or to the next slide and so on. Choosing Toggle Navigation Bar adds on-screen controls at the top of the window for moving between slides. Choosing Toggle Style Tools opens the same palette of style controls that was shown earlier. In Slideshow Working screen environment, this palette isn't usually needed since the same controls are available in the authoring toolbar, but here this palette provides a way of editing the slideshow from within the actual presentation, rather than from the working notebook environment. Choosing Side Notes opens the Side Notes palette to show side notes, which you could display on a different monitor or on a separate tablet or other device. You can also click within this palette to move between slides. Choosing Slide Outline opens the Slide Outline palette that was shown earlier, which provides yet another way of moving between slides. Going beyond a basic slideshow like this, there's an unlimited range of possibilities for what is displayed in a presentation and for how that display is controlled. To illustrate some of the possibilities, consider this animation, which is used for illustrating a topic that comes up during this particular presentation. During a presentation, the presenter can control this animation using the controls in the display. There are, however, situations where it would be better to have the controls somewhere else, such as in a separate controller. There are several ways to do that, one of which is shown here. This example shows a display in the presentation that depends on a dynamically updated variable and a button in a separate notebook for controlling the value of that variable. This allows the presentation to be controlled by a separate controller, which is useful in settings where it is inconvenient for the presenter to click on buttons in the display. Wolfram Notebooks support a whole collection of features for programmatic control of the display, so it is possible to design presentations with complex animations or sequences of images, and to program all of that in advance so that it can be shown during the presentation with the click of a button on an off-screen controller. That's the end of the examples for this section. In the Wolfram documentation, you can find more information by searching for presentations or slideshows, and in particular from this page on preparing and giving presentations, which includes links to workflow guides like this one, with step-by-step instructions for the operations that came up in this section.

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Duration: 11 minutes and 4 seconds
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Posted by: wolfram on Feb 18, 2020

11 Creating Presentations

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