# Creating a handout from beamer slides

I’m about to head off on a speaking tour to Europe (more on that in another post) and one of my hosts has asked for my powerpoint slides so they can print them. They have made two false assumptions: (1) that I use powerpoint; (2) that my slides are static so they can be printed.

Instead, I produced a cut-down version of my beamer slides, leaving out some of the animations and other features that will not print easily. Then I produced a pdf file with several slides per page. Continue reading →

# Removing white space around R figures

When I want to insert figures generated in R into a LaTeX document, it looks better if I first remove the white space around the figure. Unfortunately, R does not make this easy as the graphs are generated to look good on a screen, not in a document.

There are two things that can be done to fix this problem. Continue reading →

# Bare bones beamer

Beamer is far and away the most popular software for presentations amongst researchers in mathematics and statistics. Most conference and seminar talks I attend these days use beamer. Unfortunately, they all look much the same. I think people find beamer themes too hard to modify easily, so a small number of templates get shared around. Even the otherwise wonderful LaTeX Templates site has no beamer examples.

The beamer user guide explains how to make changes but it is not for the faint-hearted (although it is a fantastic resource once you have some expertise).

So I thought it might be useful to produce a very simple beamer template that is easy to extend and modify. Continue reading →

# Making a poster in beamer

This week, I made my first poster. Although I’ve been an academic for more than 20 years, I’ve never had to make a poster before. Some of my coauthors have made posters about our joint research, and two of them have even won prizes (although I can’t take any credit for them). But this week, our department is displaying posters from all research staff about our recent work.

It was done using beamer which turns out to be as good for posters as it is for slides. I used the beamerposter package which comes with a few themes. None of the themes were quite what I wanted, so I adapted one. Here it is in case anyone else wants to use it. I’ve also made a template based on the poster above.

# LaTeX templates for Monash

I have updated my LaTeX templates for use at Monash so they no longer depend on HyTeX. Templates are provided for producing a working paper and a PhD thesis in the Department of Econometrics & Business Statistics at Monash University. People at other universities are welcome to adapt the templates for their own institutions.

• The style files and Monash crest are provided here. This should be unzipped in a directory on the MikTeX search path; for example, in C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.9\tex\latex.
• Monash working paper. Here is a template. You will need to provide the working paper number (ask Elke) and some JEL codes. See an example of its use.
• Monash thesis. Here is a template. You should be able to figure the rest out yourself! Here is an example of what it looks like.
• Seminar slides. Here is a template based on the beamer package.

# Giving a research seminar

An expanded version of this post is available in my article on “Giving an academic talk”.

With conference season almost upon us, it is timely to discuss what makes a good conference presentation. Here is a suggested structure.

1. A motivating example demonstrating the problem you are trying to solve.
2. Explain existing approaches to the problem and their weaknesses.
4. Show how your ideas solve the problem/example you started with.

That won’t necessarily work for every talk, but it is a good place to start. In particular, beginning with a motivating example is much better than setting up the problem algebraically.

#### Further suggestions:

• Use beamer with this template.
• Use a maximum of 20 slides for a 20 minute conference presentation.
• Assume the audience knows about what you did at the start of your research in this area. That is, probably not much. You can assume standard material taught to undergraduates (regression, ARIMA models, etc.), but don’t assume they already know what you have spent long hours learning on your own.
• Give only the most necessary mathematical details. People do not quickly absorb mathematical equations so don’t give any more than you have to. Never give proofs.
• When you do include some algebra, define all terms used. Why make the audience guess?
• Use graphs instead of tables where possible.
• Where possible, let the graph fill the slide. The command \fullwidth{file} is useful.
• Use \begin{block}...\end{block} to highlight equations or important information.
• Use \structure{...} to highlight headings on slides.
• Do not use equation numbering, figure numbering, etc. The listeners can’t go back and see which one you are referring to.