A.2 Inserting equations in Powerpoint presentations

The two tools most commonly used for presenting talks – Microsoft Powerpoint and OpenOffice Impress – have limited facilities for importing text rendered in latex into slides. Powerpoint does include its own Equation Editor, but its output is considerably less professional than that produced by latex. This can prove a frustration for anyone who works in a field with notation which makes use of non-standard characters, but especially for those who work in mathematical and equation-centric disciplines.

It is possible to import graphic images into Powerpoint, but it cannot read images in PostScript format, the format in which latex usually produces its output. Pyxplot’s gif and png terminals provide a fix for this problem, as the following example demonstrates:

set term transparent noantialias gif
set term dpi 300
set output 'equation.gif'
set multiplot

# Render the Planck blackbody formula in LaTeX
set textcolour yellow
text '$B_\nu = \frac{8\pi h}{c^3} \
\frac{\nu^3}{\exp \left( h\nu / kT \right) -1 }$' at 0,0
text 'The Planck Blackbody Formula:' at 0 , 0.75

The result is a gif image of the desired equation, with yellow text on a transparent background. This can readily be imported into Powerpoint and re-scaled to the desired size.