I am looking for a Linux presentation software and the main features I need are:

  • Light on dependencies and resource consumption (I use GTK+)
  • Easy to use
  • Align & Distribute information on slide
  • Uses pictures

The extra features I would like are:

  • On-click animations
  • .ppt Import/export
  • Use templates/themes for easily unified presentation

Sliderocket looks like a presentation tool matching my needs. Unfortunately it is an online presentation editor and I am looking for an offline one.

I don't mind the software being proprietary and non-free of charge

  • 6
    PPT import is going to be a no go for anything legitimately billing itself as light.
    – Caleb
    Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 20:04
  • Can you give us anything more about your use case? The most common need for light slides is in event specific software like lyric display. Is your concern the memory footprint or the interface clutter?
    – Caleb
    Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 20:06
  • I will be using it for the presentation of a year long hot air balloon project. I am concerned about the memory footprint because I am using a nice and old laptop with little ram. I would also like a rather simple Gui (beacause I find them nicer)
    – danjjl
    Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 20:25
  • Are you generating the content on an under-powered machine or just using it for the presentation?
    – Caleb
    Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 20:32
  • It's not completely under-powered it has got 512mb of ram. Yes I would have liked to use it to generate the presentation
    – danjjl
    Commented Aug 20, 2011 at 20:34

7 Answers 7


You can make presentations with LyX and the beamer class. LyX is a semi-wysiwyg document editor that saves document in a format that can be converted to and from LaTeX. LyX produces PDF output which you then present in the PDF viewer of your choice. This meets your compulsory requirements; I don't know about animations, you don't stand a chance of Powerpoint import/export, and there are templates.

  • 2
    I've used Impress!ve to present PDFs before; it has some neat features, including animations Commented Aug 21, 2011 at 3:12
  • LyX does NOT use LaTeX as its document format, but merely outputs LaTeX documents that can then be compiled to PDF, etc.
    – landroni
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 8:49

I have use the S5 template for presentations. You just need a web browser to use it, since it's based on web technologies. I do have to add content by editing HTML text, but it's pretty clean setup. So anything you can do or see in a web browser you can do with this. It also has some themes available, of course based on CSS.

  • 3
    If you like S5 presentations but do not like editing HTML, the Python docutils can generate S5 presentations from a reStructuredText file: check out this link for a tutorial. Commented Aug 21, 2011 at 12:57
  • Oh right, good comment.
    – Keith
    Commented Aug 21, 2011 at 23:24

I've asked the same question on the Ubuntu stack exchange hoping I would get answers from a different community and so far the answers are quite different.

Here is a summary of the answers on the other stack :

  • JessyInk : make presentations in Inkscape and view them in a web browser (Jan)
  • Ease: a dead (currently not under development), light weight, gtk based, neat presentation editor. (Thomas Boxley)
  • Prezi: Online and offline editor, working with one master slide you navigate through. (Lode)
  • html5slides: presentation framework that works in your (local) browser. You can see a demo from Google here. (Lode)

If you can pass me considering Emacs as lightweight ;-), then there are a few options to generate nice presentations from text files with org-mode markup. Check out this link for a complete review.

(As an aside not directly related to your question, I think there's a big advantage to using a "readable text" format for presentations, be it LaTeX, Org or whatnot: that you can easily use any of the many UNIX tools, including version control systems, to operate on the file content.)


Just write presentation using your favourite rich-text editor (that may be AbiWord or Libre Office). Just change page and font size.

Libre Office can produce .pdf (optionaly you can embed fonts) which can be used for projecting on big screen or for printing.

Why do you need special software?

  • I use quite a few pictures and charts when I give a presentation. I would prefer an application that easily let's me dispose these images on the page
    – danjjl
    Commented Aug 21, 2011 at 16:37

Presentations on LibreOffice Draw

Have most of the features you asked: light, easy, align and distribute tools, pictures and master pages.. It does not export/import ppt, but you can copy/paste from LibreOffice Impress that import/export ppt. It does not have onclick animations, however this can be simulated: To simulate onclick animations you can create your final slide. Duplicate it as many times you want and then removing the objects you want to hide from the previous pages. In the end I export the presentation to PDF. This also have some bonuses: draw is very good to make diagrams, it have fluxogram/organogram boxes and connectors ready to use; works on almost any operating system.

Presentations on Libreoffice Write

On libreoffice write you can create page styles with different backgrounds, and paragraph styles called "slide01-title" that insert a page-break with your page style "slide01" and so on. You can also chain the paragraph styles and make very very easy to use templates. For layouting I use tables with no borders. But then you can't export to ppt. For complex images and slides you can use the LibreOffice draw, copy and paste directly in the document.

Which one is best?

I actually use both of them, depending on the kind of presentation I working on. Draw is better for diagrams and drawings and is easier to layout. Write is better for text styles (bullets and so on), to make page templates and allows the presentation be embedded in a regular text document.

  • Neither of them is lightweight, and the proper libreoffice tool would be impress.
    – pfnuesel
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 21:28
  • "Lightweigth" actually depends on the environment. I am running a cheap notebook (i5 processor with 6GiB RAM), ubuntu 14.10 and libreoffice 4.
    – Lucas
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 22:21
  • Just because efficient computers are cheap nowadays, doesn't mean this solution is lightweight. A real lightweight solution like vim and LaTeX would easily run on a 80486 computer.
    – pfnuesel
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 15:50
  • Yes! In a obsolete computer with older processors and limited screen resolution was very painful to use [libre|ms]office like packages. But on average computers things changed for small and simple documents. Libreoffice is actually more responsive than LaTeX in that situations. LaTeX takes 10 to 30 seconds to compile an average document on my computer. I use LaTeX to articles and thesis because I need bibliographic databases and lots of cross-references. LaTeX is hardly "easy to use".
    – Lucas
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 17:42

sent is quite certainly the simplest and most lightweight presentation tool you can find.

It runs on X11 systems only (Unix, Linux, OSX), so it does NOT run on Windows without an X11 emulation.

feature "matrix":

  • LIGHT (on dependencies and resource consumption)
  • Easy to use
  • Align & Distribute information on slide
  • Use pictures
  • Offline editor
  • (extra) On click animations
  • (extra) .ppt Import/export
  • (extra) Use templates/themes for easily unified presentation

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