pdfpc man page

pdfpc — PDF presenter console with multi-monitor support

Synopsis

pdfpc [options] PDF-file

Description

pdfpc is a GTK-based presentation viewer which uses Keynote-like multi-monitor output to provide meta information to the speaker during the presentation. It is able to show a normal presentation window on one screen while showing a more sophisticated overview on the other one, providing information like a picture of the next slide, as well as the time left in the presentation. pdfpc processes PDF documents, which can be created using nearly all modern presentation software.

By default the presenter view appears in the primary monitor and the presentation view in the second monitor (provided you have two monitors).

Options

-c, --disable-cache

Disable caching and pre-rendering of slides to save memory at the cost of speed.

-C, --time-of-day

Display the time of the day

-d, --duration=N

Duration in minutes of the presentation used for timer display. If not given or if a value of 0 is specified, the clock just measures the time in the presentation.

-e, --end-time=T

End time of the presentation. (Format: HH:MM (24h))

-g, --disable-auto-grouping

Disable auto detection of overlay groups. (Default: enabled)

-h, --help

Shows the help

-l, --last-minutes=N

Time in minutes, from which on the timer changes its color. (Default: 5 minutes)

-L, --list-actions

List actions supported in the config file(s)

-n, --notes=P

Position of notes on the PDF page. Position can be either left, right, top or bottom. Disable slide auto-grouping (Default: none)

-p, --persist-cache

Persist the PNG cache on disk for faster startup.

-P, --page

Goto a specific page directly after startup. In case of overlays, the first slide will be displayed.

-s, --switch-screens

Switch the presentation and the presenter screen.

-S, --single-screen

Force to use only one screen

-t, --start-time=T

Start time of the presentation to be used as a countdown. (Format: HH:MM (24h))

-w, --windowed

Run in windowed mode

-z, --disable-compression

Disable the compression of slide images to trade memory consumption for speed. (Avg.  factor 30)

-Z, --size

Size of the presentation window in width:height format (forces windowed mode)

Some previous command line options (like black-on-end) where moved to permanent config file options. See pdfpcrc(5) for further details.

Keybindings

These are the default keybindings for pdfpc:

Right cursor key / Page down / Return / Space / Left mouse button

Go forward one slide

Shift + Right cursor key / Page down / Return / Space / Left mouse button / Mouse wheel down or right

Go forward 10 slides

Down cursor key

Go forward one user slide (see Overlays below)

Left cursor key / Page up / Right mouse button / Mouse wheel up or left

Go back one slide

Shift + Left cursor key / Page up / Right mouse button

Go back 10 slides

Up cursor key

Go back one "user slide" (see Overlays below)

Home

Go to the first slide

End

Go to the last slide

Backspace

Go back in history. Note that history is defined by "jump" commands, not by normal slide movement.

Tab / Middle mouse button

Overview mode

g

Input a slide number to jump to

Plus / Equal / KP_Add / Bracket Left

Increase Notes Font Size

Minus / KP_Substract / Bracket Right

Decrease Notes Font Size

8

Toggle Pointer Mode

7

Decrease pointer size

9

Increase pointer size

Escape / q

Exit pdfpc

b

Turn off the presentation view (i.e.  fill it with a black color)

n

Edit note for current slide

f

Freeze the current presentation display (the presenter display is still fully active)

o

Toggle the overlay flag for one particular slide (see Overlays below)

p

Pause timer

r

Reset presentation (reset timer and go back to first slide)

e

Define end slide

Within overview mode the following key bindings are used

Return / Left mouse button

Goto currently selected page (last page of overlay)

Shift + Return / Shift + Left mouse button

Goto currently selected page (first page of overlay)

Cursor left / Page up

Select previous slide

Cursor right / Page down

Select next slide

See pdfpcrc(5) if you want to customize the keybindings.

Features

Caching / Pre-rendering

To allow fast changes between the different slides of the presentation the PDF pages are pre-rendered to memory.  The progress bar on the bottom of the presenter screen indicates how many percent of the slides have been pre-rendered already.  During the initial rendering phase this will slow down slide changes, as most CPU power is used for the rendering process in the background.  After the cache is fully primed however the changing of slides should be much faster, as with normal PDF viewers.

As the pre-rendering takes a lot of memory it can be disabled using the --disable-cache switch at the cost of speed.

It it also possible to store the pre-rendered slides on the disk (see --persist-cache).  This speeds up the start of the program if the slide-set is used for a second time.

Cache compression

The pre-rendered and cached slides can be compressed in memory to save up some memory.  Without compression a set of about 100 PDF pages can easily grow up to about 1.5 GB size.  Netbooks with only 1 GB of memory would swap themselves to death if pre-rendering is enabled in such a situation.  The compression is enabled by default as it does not harm rendering speed in a noticeable way on most systems.  It does however slow down pre-rendering by about a factor of two. If you have got enough memory and want to ensure the fastest possible pre-rendering you can disable slide compression by using the -z switch. But be warned using the uncompressed pre-rendering storage will use about 30 times the memory the new compressed storage utilizes (e.g. 50 MB will become about 1.5 GB).

Timer

If a duration is given (-d option), the timer will show a countdown with the given parameters.  If no duration is specified (or if a value of 0 is given to the -d option), the timer will show how much time has been spent.  The duration is stored automatically, so you do not need to repeat it for every invocation.

The timer is started if you are navigating away from the first page for the first time.  This feature is quite useful as you may want to show the title page of your presentation while people are still entering the room and the presentation has not really begun yet.  If you want to start over you can use the 'r' key which will make the presenter reset the timer.

If a duration is given, at the moment the timer reaches the defined last-minutes value it will change color to indicate your talk is nearing its end.  As soon as the timer reaches the zero mark (00:00:00) it will turn red and count further down showing a negative time, to provide information on how many minutes you are overtime.

Notes

Textual notes can be displayed for each slide.  While in the presentation, pressing 'n' will allow you to take notes for the screen.  To go out of editing mode, press the Escape key.  Note that while editing a note the keybindings stop working, i.e.  you are not able to change slides.

The notes are stored in the given file in a plain text format, easy to edit also from outside the program.  See the section about the pdfpc format below.

Overview mode

Pressing tab you can enter the overview mode, where miniatures for the slides are shown.  You can select one slide to jump to with the mouse or with the arrow keys.  You can also define overlays and the end slide (see next sections) in this mode.

Overlays

Many slide preparation systems allow for overlays, i.e.  sets of slides that are logically grouped together as a single, changing slide.  Examples include enumerations where the single items are displayed one after another or rough "animations", where parts of a picture change from slide to slide. Pdfpc includes facilities for dealing with such overlays.

In this description, we will differentiate between slides (i.e.  pages in the PDF document) and "user slides", that are the logical slides.  The standard forward movement command (page down, enter, etc.) moves through one slide at a time, as expected.  That means that every step in the overlay is traversed. The backward movement command works differently depending if the current and previous slides are part of an overlay:

  • If the current slide is part of an overlay we just jump to the previous slide. That means that we are in the middle of an overlay we can jump forward and backward through the single steps of it
  • If the current slide is not part of an overlay (or if it is the first one), but the previous slides are, we jump to the previous user slide.  This means that when going back in the presentation you do not have to go through every step of the overlay, pdfpc just shows the first slide of the each overlay.  As you normally only go back in a presentation when looking for a concrete slide, this is more convenient.

The up and down cursor keys work on a user slide basis. You can use them to skip the rest of an overlay or to jump to the previous user slide, ignoring the state of the current slide.

When going through an overlay, two additional previews may be activated in the presenter view, just below the main view, showing the next and the previous slide in an overlay.

Pdfpc tries to find these overlays automatically by looking into the page labels in the PDF file.  For LaTeX this works correctly at least with the beamer class and also modifying the page numbers manually (compiling with pdflatex).  If your preferred slide-producing method does not work correctly with this detection, you can supply this information using the 'o' key for each slide that is part of an overlay (except the first one!).  The page numbering is also adapted.  This information is automatically stored.

End slide

Some people like to have some additional, backup slides after the last slide in the actual presentation. Things like bibliographic references or slides referring to specialized questions are typical examples. Pdfpc lets you define which is the last slide in the actual presentation via the 'e' key. This just changes the progress display in the presenter screen, as to have a better overview of how many slides are left.

Movies

Pdfpc can play back movies included in the PDF file.  Movies may be started and stopped by clicking within their area.  For the presenter, a progress bar is drawn along the bottom of the movie.  This expands when the mouse hovers over it, allowing one to seek by clicking or dragging within the progress bar.  Switching slides automatically stops playback, and movies will be reset after leaving and returning to a slide.

Movies may be included in PDF files as "screen annotations".  pdfpc does not yet support options that modify the playback of these movies.  In LaTeX, such movies may be added to a presentation with the "movie15" or "multimedia" package. Note that the poster, autoplay, and repeat options are not yet supported. (Also, run ps2pdf with the -dNOSAFER flag.)

As a perhaps simpler option, pdfpc will play back movies linked from a hyperlink of type "launch".  A query string may be added to the URL of the movie to enable the "autostart", "loop" and "noprogress" properties, if necessary.  (E.g., a link to "movie.avi?autostart&loop&noprogress" will add a video that starts playing automatically, loops when it reaches the end, and does not show the progress bar.)

In LaTeX, such links are created with

\usepackage{hyperref}
\href{run:<movie file>}{<placeholder content>}

The movie will playback in the area taken by the placeholder content.  Using a frame of the movie will ensure the correct aspect ratio.

See our website for a full example.

Pointer Mode

If needed it is possible to turn on a pointer which draws a red dot in the place pointed by mouse cursor on both - presenter and presentation screens. It is also possible to increase and decrease the pointer size. Additionally when the pointer is enabled it is possible to drag & drop some area of the presenter screen causing it to be highlighted in both views as well. Area outside the selected region will be dimmed.

pdfpc Files

The several additional information are stored in a file with the extension "pdfpc".  When pdfpc is invoked with a PDF file, it automatically checks for and loads the associated pdfpc file, if it exists.  This means that you normally do not have to deal with this kind of files explicitly.

Beside internal configiration, the following user contributed command line options are stored within the pdfpc file for later usage:

  • duration
  • end_time
  • last_minutes
  • notes (position)
  • start_time

There are however cases where you may want to edit the files manually. The most typical case is if you add or remove some slides after you have edited notes or defined overlays. It may be quicker to edit the pdfpc file than to re-enter the whole information.

The files are plain-text files that should be fairly self-explanatory. A couple of things to note:

  • The slide numbers of the notes refer to user slides
  • Slide indexes start at 1

Appearance

With GTK3 it is possible to modify the appearance of pdfpc. There are two locations where pdfpc is looking for files. The default location is /usr/share/pixmaps/pdfpc/pdfpc.css. A user can copy it to $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/pdfpc/pdfpc.css and change the attributes as he likes.

Integration with other tools

Pdfpc provides a dbus interface that other tools can use to execute any action listed by --list-actions.  The interface appears on the session bus as io.github.pdfpc.

Bugs

Bugs can be reported at our issue tracker.

Acknowledgements

pdfpc was previously developed by davvil.

pdfpc is a fork of Pdf Presenter Console, available online.

See Also

pdfpcrc(5)

There are several other programs with similar functionality.

impressive(1) has nice transition effects.

hpdfp(1) is the Haskell PDF Presenter program, which packs an amazing level of functionality into not many lines of Haskell.

pympress(1) is a little PDF reader written in Python which handles dual screens and beamer notes.

dspdfviewer(1) is also specialized for beamer-produced wide PDF with notes.

Many PDF viewers have full-screen presentation modes, but without dual-monitor preview or notes or a timer. These include zathura(1), evince(1), and okular(1).

Referenced By

pdfpcrc(5).