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A docutils writer and script for converting restructured text to the Beamer presentation format

Project description


A docutils script converting restructured text into Beamer-flavoured LaTeX.

Beamer is a LaTeX document class for presentations. rst2beamer [1] provides a Docutils [2] writer that transforms restructured text [3] into Beamer-flavoured LaTeX. and provides a commandline script for the same. Via this script, ReST can therefore be used to prepare slides and presentations.


rst2beamer can be installed via setuptools / easy_install or manually. Consult the enclosed manual for further details.


rst2beamer should interpret a reasonable subset of restructured text and produce reasonable LaTeX. Not all features of beamer have been implemented, just a (large) subset that allows the quick production of good looking slides. These include:

  • Overlay lists (i.e. list items that appear point-by-point)

  • Beamer themes

  • Automatic centering and resizing of figures

  • Embedded notes and the output of note slides.

  • Arranging slide contents into columns.

Some examples can be found in the docs/examples directory of the distribution. In practice, rst2beamer can be used with pdflatex to get PDF versions of a presentation.

rst2beamer is called:

rst2beamer [options] [<source> [<destination>]]

For example:

rst2beamer infile.txt outfile.tex

where infile.txt contains the ReST and outfile.tex contains the produced Beamer LaTeX.

It supports the usual docutils and LaTeX writer (rst2latex) options, save the documentclass option (which is fixed to beamer) and hyperref options (which are already set in beamer). It also supports:


Specify Beamer theme.


Overlay bulleted items. Put [<+-| alert@+>] at the end of begin{itemize} so that Beamer creats an overlay for each bulleted item and the presentation reveals one bullet at a time


Center figures. All includegraphics statements will be put inside center environments.


Specify document options. Multiple options can be given, separated by commas. Default is “10pt,a4paper”.


Print embedded notes along with the slides. Possible arguments include ‘false’ (don’t show), ‘only’ (show only notes), ‘left’, ‘right’, ‘top’, ‘bottom’ (show in relation to the annotated slide).


Earlier versions of rst2beamer did not work with docutils 0.4, seemingly due to changes in the LaTeX writer. While this has been fixed, most work has been done with docutils snapshots from version 0.5 and up. In balance, users are recommended to update docutils.

More recently, changes in the LaTeX writer in docutils 0.6 broke rst2beamer again. We think all those bugs have been caught.

Not all features of beamer are supported, and some - that deal with with page layout or presentation - may never be. Introducing complex syntax to achieve complex and specific page effects defeats the point of ReST’s simple and easy-to-write format. If you need a complex presentation, use Powerpoint or Keynote.

If the content for an individual slide is too large, it will simply overflow the edges of the slide and disappear. Arguably, this is a sign you should put less on each slide.


rst2beamer is developed by Ryan Krauss and Paul-Michael Agapow. Thanks to those who reported and helped us track down bugs: Perttu Laurinen, Mike Pennington, James Haggerty and Dale Hathaway.



v0.6.6, 2009-11-06

  • Added experimental support for codeblocks, which may be syntax-colored with Pygments.

  • Normalised all directive names to r2b- (as opposed to r2b_) in line with general docutils style, although the old names are still silently supported.

v0.6.4, 2009-10-22

  • The parsed-literal environment was losing indentation, and perhaps has been since docutils 0.4. It now works correctly.

  • Added “calling” information to examples. Also added bullet example.

v0.6.2, 2009-10-20

  • It seems there have been some changes in the docutils LaTeX2e writer, which the Beamer writer is based upon. Hopefully they’ve all been caught.

  • Corrected url in header of source, as well as some misspellings.

v0.6.1, 2009-09-14

  • Added note environment

  • Added manual

v0.6, 2009-09-03

  • Introduced column environment

v0.5.3, 2009-07-16

  • Fixed manifest so source included (facepalm)

  • Changed to get single-file module to install

v0.5.1, 2009-05-08

  • Expanded documentation.

v0.5, 2009-05-07

  • Shift to setuptools distribution with script installation.

v0.3, 2009-03-25

  • RK takes over. Sections and subsections are supported. Images default to being centered and having a height of 0.7textheight.

v0.2.1, 2008-08-30

  • Date approximate. Earlier versions of rst2beamer did not work with docutils 0.4, seemingly due to changes in the LaTeX writer.

v0.2.0, 2007-08-30

  • Date approximate. Initial release.

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