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In the current situation it seems especially important to be able to present your mathematical results online in a way that your audience does not fall asleep in front of their screens. But I am struggling to find suitable software one could use to enhance the usual beamer LaTeX presentations with some handwriting/drawing.

So I am searching for the following features:

  • Allows to present PDFs, as generated by the beamer Latex package
  • Compatibility with usual video conference software (should be easy, just share your screen)
  • Easy to use and easy to access handwriting tools (pen, colors, laserpointer, etc.)
  • Drawing should stay on the slide you drew them on, so you can go back to them and save them after your talk
  • Program and Toolbar should not be visible to the audience (so maybe campatibility with 2 screens would be necessary here)
  • Additionally: Shows next slide, time, additional notes, ... (only for the speaker)

What is the best tool you know for this purpose?

PS: I am not restricted to any operating system.

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    $\begingroup$ you could use Microsoft OneNote: it shows pages on which you can write with a tablet, and you can include pdf's or other images on each page; you can hide the toolbar if you wish. $\endgroup$ – Carlo Beenakker Nov 27 '20 at 9:33
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    $\begingroup$ Note that in Zoom for instance you can easily share a portion of the screen (Share Screen > Advanced > Portion of Screen), in which case visibility of the toolbar is not an issue. In that case Xournal++ works well for handwriting on pdfs. $\endgroup$ – Timothy Budd Nov 27 '20 at 13:23
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    $\begingroup$ One thing to keep in mind is that while I can present a beamer slide while looking at the camera, writing on a tablet requires looking down at it -- giving viewers an extended look at my shiny bald head... (For lectures, I usually disable the camera for this reason, among others -- students should focus on the material and not on me. But this is not as reasonable for a talk.) $\endgroup$ – Christian Clason Nov 27 '20 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ @ChristianClason For a seminar, maybe. But for a full course I think that it is psychologically useful to be able to see your lecturer's face. But then again I am Italian, everyone knows we speak with our hands. :p $\endgroup$ – Federico Poloni Nov 27 '20 at 15:31
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    $\begingroup$ @FedericoPoloni The point is exactly that they won't be seeing my face :) But, yes, some face-to-face at the beginning or end of the lecture (or during a break) is very useful. (Ideal would be some sort of hot-button switching similar to "hold space for unmute", but I haven't seen that anywhere -- camera and screen sharing takes too long to spool up each time.) $\endgroup$ – Christian Clason Nov 27 '20 at 15:40
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For a couple of talks I borrowed an iPad and used the app Notability, which seems to cover most of what you wanted.

  • I presented a PDF prepared with Beamer.
  • The talk was through Zoom, which allows you to share an iPad screen connected through Airplay (or through a cable in theory, but I could not get this to work).
  • I wrote with an Apple pencil and was happy with the options for different colours, styles etc that Notability provides, and the ease of accessing them during the talk. (Perhaps relevant here is to re-emphasize that this was borrowed equipment: I obviously practiced with it a little in advance, but not for so long, so this is some evidence that the learning curve is not steep).
  • Notability is a note-taking app, and this process worked exactly as it would for annotating a PDF file, so annotations remain on the slide indefinitely once written. (In fact one feature that might have been helpful would be an easy way to clear all the annotations! I just imported the PDF again to a new Notability document.)
  • Only the slides were visible to the audience, not the controls. (To clarify, by way of comparison with other answers: the controls were always visible to me.)
  • I could not see things like the next slide or private notes, but I did not try to set this up, so maybe it is possible. I think I could probably see the time, but I am not 100% sure now.

As an audience member, I must say I have much preferred when speakers have not used Beamer, but written at least most things in real time like a board talk, although the lack of space and slow pace of writing with a stylus does make this rather difficult. (I did not even do it myself, despite this preference -- I had too many figures, and no previous experience using the stylus or the software, which put me off.) If you do this I think a feature to look for is the ability for the audience to see both the page you are writing on and the previous one, e.g. as two portrait pages side by side. I think Xournal can do this (and is especially on topic here because symplectic geometer Denis Auroux has some role in its development).

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for sharing you experience! I agree that using just beamer slides is kind of tiring for the audience. That's why I would like to have a way to e.g. add handwritten proofs etc. during the talk to a Latex written Theorem. $\endgroup$ – Marvin Dippell Nov 27 '20 at 12:46
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    $\begingroup$ Apologies, I had intended to share this link: support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201379235 $\endgroup$ – asahay Nov 27 '20 at 17:56
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    $\begingroup$ @asahay Indeed, I just tested this, and Zoom (now) includes an AirPlay client so you can mirror your iPad without additional software. Thank you! I learned something new today :) (Too bad I have to -- and want to! -- use BigBlueButton for teaching. But this will be quite helpful for the next seminar talk I give!) $\endgroup$ – Christian Clason Nov 27 '20 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ @PaataIvanishvili Do you mean switching slides without a page transition? (For example, that the previous slide is dragged to the left to reveal the new one underneath.) I was also bothered by this, but found that while this transition was displayed on the tablet, on the screen share there was no transition -- possibly just because the refresh rate was not high enough! $\endgroup$ – Matthew Pressland Nov 27 '20 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ @MatthewPressland, yesterday I played with it a little bit and I guess I figured it out how to switch slides without page transition. Join a zoom meeting on your computer. Click "Share screen", Choose "iPone/iPad via AirPlay". Next, choose "Screen Mirroring" on your iPad, and open Notability app. Open any notes, click "3 dots" on the top right corner, click "view", choose "Single Page", and that is it. People in zoom will not see your page transition (only you will see page transition on your iPad). $\endgroup$ – Paata Ivanishvili Nov 28 '20 at 17:22
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XODO PDF READER

Free to use. For the Windows version:

Allows to present PDFs, as generated by the beamer Latex package

Yes

Compatibility with usual video conference software (should be easy, just share your screen)

Yes

Easy to use and easy to access handwriting tools (pen, colors, laserpointer, etc.)

It is easy to write in a single color; it takes a few clicks to change it because the toolbar is not on the screen (as per your other request). I normally highlight the cursor with a button on my pen

Drawing should stay on the slide you drew them on, so you can go back to them and save them after your talk

Yes

Program and Toolbar should not be visible to the audience (so maybe campatibility with 2 screens would be necessary here)

Only the slides are visible. Tapping on the touchscreen shows a toolbar (pen and finger touches do different things; for instance you can move to the next slide with a flicker). I don't have a second screen on my tablet so I don't know if it supports it.

Additionally: Shows next slide, time, additional notes, ... (only for the speaker)

No.

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If your presentation is based on a Beamer file, I recommend PdfPc. It supports a hidden dashboard for the speaker, showing previous/next slides and some annotation and pointing tools.

Moreover, it allows you to jump among sections without having to run slide by slide - which is particularly cumbersome when a single frame corresponds to multiple pages on the pdf file.

In practice, when using PdfPc you then would only share the presentation window (but not the speaker dashboard) on your video conferencing software.

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