I'm asking myself: is there, on linux, any software that can build and show simple slides on terminal, like the slides you make on Libreoffice Impress (but way more simple)?

This would be a great experience to make a presentation using only the console, whithout any advanced graphics (like GL and framebuffer), maybe using only ncurses or other lib like that.

Any help?

EDIT 1: I'm using and recommending vimdeck. Thank you all :D

EDIT 2: This question is still open for a standalone software or any plugin that can use LaTeX.

  • 3
    telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl ;-) (not an answer, just cool)
    – derobert
    Commented May 23, 2014 at 16:03
  • Yes, this is really cool :D Commented May 23, 2014 at 16:06
  • 9
    Write your presentation as HTML and display it with elinks/w3m. If you write it properly, then you can have the fancy version with pictures in X with a GUI browser or the console one otherwise. Commented May 23, 2014 at 16:41
  • 1
    What will the presentation consist of? Do you want to make ASDCII art images? If not, just paginate it properly and then show it through less or more.
    – terdon
    Commented May 23, 2014 at 16:44
  • I edited my answer and offered some solutions that rely on Latex—hopefully, they'll make your life easier until someone actually codes up the tool that you need.
    – HalosGhost
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 20:10

5 Answers 5


Okay, several things here:

  1. You're not even remotely the only person that wants something like this (I've been looking for a good one for a while now).

  2. There are a couple of projects out there that attempt to fill this niche but none of the ones I have found are quite as simple to use as I'd hoped.

Big Update!

It looks like there is a wonderful soul out there that has finally accomplished nearly the perfect setup!

patat is a terminal presentation tool written in Haskell which uses pandoc to parse the slides. This means that you can use nearly any format you might want for the slides (markdown, reStructuredText, LaTeX, etc.)!

The closest project I have found to meeting this need is tpp. Tpp (Text Presentation Program) allows you to create presentation slides from Ruby and then run through them in a presentation format through ncurses.

You may also find tkn (Terminal Keynote) to be a helpful project. The slides are also written in Ruby, but there appears to be much less markup required to write the slides themselves, so it may be simpler to use.

And, to my surprise, there is a third Ruby-based project, slider, which also attempts to fill this niche. Slider seems less flexible than either tpp or tkn, but perhaps it would better suit your needs.

There is also a vim plugin, posero, but it seems rather limited.

If you're willing to invest a little effort in figuring out some spacing. You could actually use LaTeX to generate some files. You could either use latex2man to generate a man page, which you could then present using whatever pager you would like; or, if you are still interested in presenting using a text-based web-browser, you could use latex2html to generate the web page(s).

Personally, I would love to see a project that used a format compatible with something like pandoc so that users could write slides in anything (e.g., LaTeX) and then generate the presentation without much extra effort. But, to-date, I have yet to find such a mythical tool (I may end up breaking down and writing one myself).

In the meantime, if these projects are too much for your goal (or are just too difficult to work with), writing an HTML slideshow (using links to another page as slide transitions) and then presenting using a text-based web browser is a good fall-back (just as Stéphane pointed out).

Big update! I think I finally found a project that could meet almost all these goals. It's still not LaTeX-based, but it uses Markdown slides (a significant improvmement over having to code the slides directly with Ruby). mdp, written in C, allows you to create a simple markdown file and display it with transitions and fairly strong support for basic formatting. It's not entirely perfect, but it's much better than any of the other projects I've seen so far.

  • Actually, tpp is really cool and can fulfill my needs. But it's too complicated to format text. It is really restricted in what touch mathematical formulas and so on. Build my presentation in HTML+CSS+JS isn't a no go, but this represents a big effort for a little presentation. If someone knows a software that use LaTeX or CSS, I'm here :p Commented May 24, 2014 at 14:33
  • I do not know of anything using LaTeX or another pandoc-supported format. However, I have stumbled on a couple other projects that may be more useful. I'll be updating my post momentarily.
    – HalosGhost
    Commented May 24, 2014 at 14:36

You've got a few options:


Uses Markdown, ASCII-art-ifies header text and even images. Code highlighting. vimdeck


Markdown, Vim-like keybindings. Fancy transitions. mdp


Each slide is a text file, custom format. vtmc


Slides are written in Ruby. ANSI escape sequences for color. Cute sections. tkn


CoffeeScript. Seems to produce color. No image, sorry.

  • +1 for the example images/gifs
    – TornaxO7
    Commented Jun 25, 2021 at 19:43
  • @TornaxO7 I try! Commented Jul 3, 2021 at 21:59

The popular vimdeck project allows you to write your slides in markdown and display them in vim.

Some of its interesting features include the following:

  • Parsing a single markdown file into multiple presentation slides
  • Providing syntax highlighting for various programming languages (if your slides happen to include code snippets)
  • Automatically converting H1 and H2 tags to ASCII art
  • Even automatically converting images to ASCII art!

I recommend that you check out the screenshots and give it a try if it appears to fit your use case.

  • Very cool project; I had never seen this before! I don't know how the OP feels, but it still doesn't quite meet my needs (depends on vim and SyntaxRogue rather than just being a stand-alone program), but it is very cool. Good find!
    – HalosGhost
    Commented May 24, 2014 at 15:11
  • This is a very good program, but isn't what I'm looking for. I still think that this is quite easy to do (but I don't have time to spend in a project like that). Looking at all alternatives posted here until now, vimdeck is the coolest. The interface of tpp is better, but vimdeck is really easy to use. Commented May 24, 2014 at 22:16

I like using sent for my presentations, because this force me use the Takahashi method.

Beyond that:

  • a simple text file
  • one slide per paragraph
  • lines starting with # are ignored
  • image slide: paragraph containing @FILE.png
  • empty slide: just use a \ as a paragraph
  • It is minimalist =)


  • This don't export for pdf format.

I'm incredibly late to the party, but in my opinion, by far the best terminal slideshow app is lookatme:

  • Markdown notation
  • Live code examples
  • Can include images
  • Live terminals
  • Options for different types of rendering (ascii, regular)

There is however no option to convert it to pdf.

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