How Do I Work with Slide Shows in Mathematica?

With the release of Mathematica 4.2, Wolfram Research introduced a new slide show functionality. It is now possible to present Mathematica notebook content in a presentation format that allows the presenter to advance to the next slide or to go back to the previous slide simply by clicking an arrow at the top of the notebook. The first step to creating a slide show in Mathematica is to open the Slide Show palette.

This palette can be found through the Mathematica Help Browser under Other Information -> Style Sheets -> Working with Slide Shows. There is also a stand-alone version that can be downloaded.

Creating and Navigating Slide Shows

Once the palette is open, click the Create Template button on the palette to create a new notebook with three "slides" in it. The notebook is presented in the Authoring Environment style by default.

To see the template in the slide show environment, click the Slide Environment button on the palette. While in this environment, the slide can be advanced by clicking one of the arrows at the top of the notebook.

Editing Slides

As with any Mathematica notebook, this notebook can be edited. In the Authoring Environment, all of the slides are visible in the window and can be edited. In the Slide Environment, only the current slide can be edited.

Adding Slides

Slides can be added anywhere in the Authoring Environment, just as a new cell can be created anywhere in a notebook. To add a new slide, place the cell insertion bar at the location where the new slide is to be added. Once the location is chosen, click the Insert New Slide button on the palette. The new slide will appear and is ready to be edited.

Appending Slides

In general, adding slides is as simple as pushing a palette button, but there is one exception to this rule: when a slide is added to the end of a slide show. Due to the way that the slide counter works, it is necessary to indicate which slide is the last slide. In the template slide show, the Section 3 slide is defined to be the last slide. This is done through the use of a cell tag. To see this, use your mouse to highlight the cell bracket of the first cell in the new slide. Once the cell is selected, use the Find -> Add/Remove Cell Tags... menu item to bring up a list of cell tags for this cell. The image below shows the correct cell to highlight as well as the cell tag window created by the menu item.

Once the cell tag window appears, type LastSlide into the Cell Tag input field, and then click the Add button.

Now that the LastSlide tag has been added to the new slide, this same tag needs to be removed from the Section 3 slide. This is done in a way similar to the way the cell tag was added to the new slide. Highlight the cell bracket for the first cell in the Section 3 slide. Use the Find -> Add/Remove Cell Tags... menu item to bring up the list of tags associated with this cell. In the middle input field, highlight LastSlide and click the Remove button. Close the cell tag window.

If the counter still does not update the slide number correctly, you can get the front end to update the counter by adding a cell to the notebook. A good location is in New Slide. Place the cursor at the bottom of that slide, and type any character; you can always remove it later. This action should cause the counter to update.