for making slideshows in PDF format

Last update: 12/21/2002


new in version 1.4:


Slidemaker is a utility for creating presentations in a very simple and time saving way. Presentations are saved in the highly portable and reliable PDF format, which can be viewed on nearly every computer. The main idea of slidemaker is that you first make a bunch of images with your favourite drawing programs. With Slidemaker you can then make a PDF file out of these image files. The end result can be presented with PDF viewers, like Acrobat Reader, in fullscreen mode. Slidemaker is a unix alternative to other well known commercial procucts (see below a comparison). Slidemaker is especially for people who don't have a lot of time to spend, but want a good digitally portable presentation.

Slidemaker is not a program to make physical slides on film.


Let us start with showing what slidemaker produces. Before you watch the demonstration PDF presenation, please read these tips on how to display the slide show optimally with Acrobat reader:

Example slideshow made with slidemaker.

How slidemaker works

If you want to make a presentation with slidemaker, you would usually go through the following steps.
  1. You create pictures with your favourite drawing program in one of the following formats:
  2. call slidemaker on the command line
  3. slidemaker creates a pdf file (using all kinds of other programs, under which latex, ps2pdf, fig2dev).
  4. view slideshow with a PDF viewer, for example Acrobat Reader

Who should use slidemaker

Everybody who would like to make a slideshow for a speech, teaching, business meeting, or any other seminar. You can also easily put the slideshow on the internet.

The differences with powerpoint

You might ask what the advantage of this simple utility over other powerfull presentation software might be. So far, powerpoint (PP) dominates the market, so I will list some of the important differences between PP and slidemaker:

What about transitions and other special effects?

Slidemaker currently does not support animated transitions between slides, like some other presentation programs do. The reason is that most people do not use all those cool transitions and animations anyhow, and often they only distract from the content of the presentation.


Documentation comes with the distribution in the form of a man page (i.e. unix formatted manual page, see download).

Requirements for creating a slideshow with slidemaker

OS: Linux, any other Unix, Cygwin (runs with Microsoft Windows), GNU.

Requirements for showing slideshow made with slidemaker

You can view slidemaker slideshows with any PDF viewer, for example Acrobat Reader. You can also integrate PDF files in webpages. Just put the PDF file in your webdirectory and make a HREF link in that file, like in the next section.


Click here to download the latest version of slidemaker

Useful links for making slides

Useful link for displaying PDF files

Acrobat reader


If you want to contact me about bugs or problems, do not hesitate to send an email to


I would like to thank those who have send me emails with ideas of how to improve slidemaker.

Other free presentation software

If you know of other free presentation software, please let me know and I will update this list accordingly.

Other project

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