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Published at 1.2.2001
Author: Ronny Ziegler
Translator: Tobias Bayer
Languages: de
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FoilTeX - Transparency presentations

Transparancies with TeX There is still a lack of applications for preparing presentations with Linux.
If you like to focus on content rather than graphics for a presentation, instead of using PowerPoint, you can use FoilTeX. This program is especially good for creating scientific presentations.

Transparancies with TeX

If you want to prepare presentations with Linux, you will quickly see that there is no Linux software for this purpose, although some efforts have been made.
But if you want to lecture scientifically rather than popular scientifically, with information presented by transparancies (for a projector system) instead of colorful animated pictures, you would perhaps like to use TeX.

For what is the use of flashing formulas and rotating distribution graphs? Content matters. And content is usually inanimate.
Everbody who has to use many formulas in his lectures, will soon use TeX, for no other formula placement looks as professional as the one in TeX.

But normal writing is not sufficient for creating good transparancies; the font is much too small, the headlines are not centered and have you ever tried to print the content of a transparancy in landscape format?


There are several additional packages for TeX which are especially suitable for printing transparancies.
A very easy-to-use package is FoilTeX, which we provide for download here, because it is not included in a standard TeX installation in many distributions.
You can also get an up to date version from http://www.tex.ac.uk/tex-archive/help/Catalogue/entries/foiltex.html

FoilTeX has bigger fonts, centers all headlines and can print single pages in landscape format and is specifically designed for transparancy presentations.

The installation is not complicated as long as you know what to do.
First you have to decompress the FoilTeX package and copy it to the right location:

  >> tar zxvf foiltex.tgz -C /usr/share/texmf/tex/latex/
In the next step you must execute the command
  >> texconfig
as root in a (X-) terminal. In the menu which appears you have to run REHASH.

Screenhot: texconfig

TeX will now update its database and add the package FoilTeX to the possible formats.

Writing the transparancies in LyX is very easy. (Homepage: www.lyx.org). Though, the new package FoilTeX must be introduced to LyX before it can be used. However, this is not very hard:
Start LyX as usual and select Reconfigure from the menu Options.

When creating a new document you can now select slides (FoilTeX) in Layout -> Document (Class).

FoilTeX has the nagging habit of advertising for itself and places -FoilTeX- at the end of each page. To scotch this, you should select plain in Page format.


The menu in the upper left corner of LyX where you can adjust the paragraph formats now includes the transparancy-relevant items.
Foilhead starts a new transparancy with a new headline while Rotatefoilhead does the same for landscape format.

  paragraph formats


For emphasizing content, you should use some color on the transparancies. But beware: too many colors are more irritating than helpful.
You should just support few sentences/formulae with colour and be aware of assigning the same colors to the same contents, e.g. blue for formulas, red for important statements etc.
Colors are not (yet) supported by LyX, so you must insert real TeX code. First, you have to insert the following TeX code into the LaTeX prefix (menu Layout -> LaTeX Prefix):

This allows using colored text in a document.
Where a word or paragraph should appear in colour now, you have to enter TeX code directly in LyX by pressing the red TeX-button and entering the following code:
  \textcolor{blue}{This text appears blue}
For the sake of clarity you should restrict this to the primary colours green, blue, red
ATTENTION: Depending on your printer, not every colour will be readable on the overhead projector!

If you have followed all of the directions correctly, the result might look like the following:


Now you have acquired the basic knowledge in order to create appealing transparancy presentations. Good luck!

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