ReactJS based Presentation Library
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Spectacle Boilerplate


Getting Started

The best way to get started is by using the Spectacle Boilerplate.

Alternatively, you can npm install spectacle and write your own build configurations.

But really, it is SO much easier to just use the boilerplate. Trust me.


After downloading the boilerplate, your first order of business is to open terminal and run npm install

Next run rm -R .git to remove the existing version control.

Then, to start up the local server, run npm start

Open a browser and hit http://localhost:3000, and we are ready to roll

Build & Deployment

Building the dist version of the project is as easy as running npm run build

If you want to deploy the slideshow to surge, run npm run deploy


Spectacle comes with a built in presenter mode. It shows you a slide lookahead, current time and your current slide:

To present:

Note: Any windows/tabs in the same browser that are running Spectacle will sync to one another, even if you don't want to use presentation mode

Check it out:

You can toggle the presenter or overview mode by pressing respectively alt+p and alt+o.


Key Combination Function
Right Arrow Next Slide
Left Arrow Previous Slide
Space Next Slide
Shift+Space Previous Slide
Alt/Option + O Toggle Overview Mode
Alt/Option + P Toggle Presenter Mode


Fullscreen can be toggled via browser options, or by hovering over the bottom right corner of your window until the fullscreen icon appears and clicking it.

PDF Export

Exporting a totally sweet looking PDF from your totally sweet looking Spectacle presentation is absurdly easy.

  • Run npm start
  • Open http://localhost:3000/
  • Add export& after the ? on the URL of page you are redirected to, e.g.: http://localhost:3000/#/?export&_k=wbyhif
  • Bring up the print dialog (ctrl or cmd + p)
  • Check "Background Graphics" to on if you are about that life
  • Change destination to "Save as PDF", as shown below:

If you want to print your slides, and want a printer friendly version, simply repeat the above process but instead print from http://localhost:3000/?export&print

Basic Concepts

Main file

Your presentation files & assets will live in the presentation folder.

The main .js file you write your deck in is /presentation/index.js

Check it out here in the boilerplate.

// index.js

import React, { Component } from 'react';
import {
  Appear, BlockQuote, Cite, CodePane, Code, Deck, Fill, Fit,
  Heading, Image, Layout, ListItem, List, Quote, Spectacle, Slide, Text
} from 'spectacle';

export default class extends Component {
  render() {
    return (

Here is where you can use the library's tags to compose your presentation. While you can use any JSX syntax here, building your presentation with the supplied tags allows for theming to work properly.

The bare minimum you need to start is a Spectacle element, aDeck element and a Slide element. Each Slide element represents a slide inside of your slideshow.


In Spectacle, themes are functions that return style objects for screen & print.

You can import the default theme from:

import createTheme from "spectacle/lib/themes/default";

Or create your own based upon the source.

index.js is what you would edit in order to create a custom theme of your own, using ReactJS style inline style objects.

You will want to edit index.html to include any web fonts or additional CSS that your theme requires.

createTheme(colors, fonts)

Spectacle's functional theme system allows you to pass in color and font variables that you can use on your elements. The fonts configuration object can take a string for a system font or an object that specifies it‘s a Google Font. If you use a Google Font you can provide a styles array for loading different weights and variations. Google Font tags will be automatically created. See the example below:

const theme = createTheme({
  primary: "red",
  secondary: "blue"
}, {
  primary: "Helvetica",
  secondary: { name: "Droid Serif", googleFont: true, styles: [ "400", "700i" ] }

The returned theme object can then be passed to the Spectacle tag via the theme prop, and will override the default styles.


In Spectacle, presentations are composed of a set of base tags. We can separate these into three categories: Main tags, Layout tags & Element tags.

Main Tags


The Spectacle tag is the root level tag for your presentation. It handles routing, flux and generally presenting your Deck & Slides. It supports the following props:

Name PropType Description
history React.PropTypes.object Accepts custom configuration for history
theme React.PropTypes.object Accepts a theme object for styling your presentation


The deck tag wraps your slides. It supports the following props:

Name PropType Description
transition React.PropTypes.array Accepts slide, zoom, fade or spin, and can be combined. Sets global slide transitions. Note: If you use the 'scale' transition, fitted text won't work in Safari.
transitionDuration React.PropTypes.number Accepts integer value in milliseconds for global transition duration.
progress React.PropTypes.string Accepts pacman, bar, number or none.
controls React.PropTypes.bool Show control arrows when not in fullscreen

Slide (Base)

The slide tag represents each slide in the presentation. Giving a slide tag an id attribute will replace its number based navigation hash with the id provided. It supports the following props, in addition to any of the props outlined in the Base class props listing:

Name PropType Description
align React.PropTypes.string Accepts a space delimited value for positioning interior content. The first value can be flex-start (left), center (middle), or flex-end (bottom). The second value can be flex-start (top) , center (middle), or flex-end (bottom). You would provide this prop like align="center center", which is its default.
transition React.PropTypes.array Accepts slide, zoom, fade or spin, and can be combined. Sets the slide transition. Note: If you use the 'scale' transition, fitted text won't work in Safari.
transitionDuration React.PropTypes.number Accepts integer value in milliseconds for slide transition duration.
notes React.PropTypes.string Text which will appear in the presenter mode. Can be HTML.
id React.PropTypes.string Used to create a string based hash.

Layout Tags

Layout tags are used for layout using Flexbox within your slide. They are Layout, Fit & Fill.


The layout tag is used to wrap Fit and Fill tags to provide a row.


The fit tag only takes up as much space as its bounds provide.


The fill tag takes up all the space available to it. For example, if you have a Fill tag next to a Fit tag, the Fill tag will take up the rest of the space. Adjacent Fill tags split the difference and form an equidistant grid.

Markdown Tag


The Markdown tag is used to add inline markdown to your slide. You can provide markdown source via the source prop, or as children. You can also provide a custom mdast configuration via the mdastConfig prop.

Markdown generated tags aren't prop configurable, and instead render with your theme defaults.

Name PropType Description
source React.PropTypes.string Markdown source
mdastConfig React.PropTypes.object Mdast configuration object

Element Tags

The element tags are the bread and butter of your slide content. Most of these tags derive their props from the Base class, but the ones that have special options will have them listed:


This tag does not extend from Base. It's special. Wrapping elements in the appear tag makes them appear/disappear in order in response to navigation.

BlockQuote, Quote and Cite (Base)

These tags create a styled blockquote. Use them as follows:

    <Quote>Ken Wheeler is amazing</Quote>

CodePane (Base)

This tag displays a styled, highlighted code preview. I prefer putting my code samples in external .example files and requiring them using raw-loader as shown in the demo. Here are the props:

Name PropType Description
lang React.PropTypes.string Prism compatible language name. i.e: 'javascript'
source React.PropTypes.string String of code to be shown

You can change your syntax highlighting theme by swapping the prism.js CSS file in index.html

Code (Base)

A simple tag for wrapping inline text that you want lightly styled in a monospace font.

Component Playground

This tag displays a two-pane view with a ES6 source code editor on the right and a preview pane on the left for showing off custom React components. React and render from ReactDOM are supplied as variables. To render a component use the domContainer mountNode. Any console output will be forwarded to the main console in the browser.

Name PropType Description
code React.PropTypes.string The code block you want to initially supply to the component playground. If none is supplied a demo component will be displayed.
previewBackgroundColor React.PropTypes.string The background color you want for the preview pane. Defaults to #fff.
theme React.PropTypes.string Accepts light or dark for the source editor's syntax highlighting. Defaults to light.

Example code blocks:

const Button = ({ title }) => (<button type="button">{ title }</button>);
render(<Button title="My Button" />, mountNode);
class View extends React.Component {
  componentDidMount() {

  render() {
    return (<div>My View</div>);
render(<View />, mountNode);

Heading (Base)

Heading tags are special in that, when you specify a size prop, they generate the appropriate heading tag, and extend themselves with a style that is defined in the theme file for that heading. Line height can be adjusted via a numeric lineHeight prop.

Name PropType Description
fit React.PropTypes.boolean When set to true, fits text to the slide's width. Note: If you use the 'scale' transition, this won't work in Safari.
lineHeight React.PropTypes.number Sets the line height of your text.

Image (Base)

Name PropType Description
display React.PropTypes.string Set the display style property of the image
height React.PropTypes.string or React.PropTypes.number Supply a height to the image
src React.PropTypes.string Image src
width React.PropTypes.string or React.PropTypes.number Supply a width to the image

Link (Base)

The link tag is used to render <a> tags. It accepts an href prop:

Name PropType Description
href React.PropTypes.string String of url for href attribute
target React.PropTypes.string Set the target attribute

List & ListItem (Base)

Name PropType Description
ordered React.PropTypes.bool Render as <ol>-tag
reversed React.PropTypes.bool Set the reversed attribute
start React.PropTypes.bool Set the start attribute, Default: 1
type React.PropTypes.bool Set the type attribute. Default: "1"

These tags create lists. Use them as follows:

Ordered lists:

<List ordered start={2} type="A">
    <ListItem>Item 1</ListItem>
    <ListItem>Item 2</ListItem>
    <ListItem>Item 3</ListItem>
    <ListItem>Item 4</ListItem>

Unordered lists:

    <ListItem>Item 1</ListItem>
    <ListItem>Item 2</ListItem>
    <ListItem>Item 3</ListItem>
    <ListItem>Item 4</ListItem>

S (Base)

The S tag is used to add inline styling to a piece of text, such as underline or strikethrough.

Name PropType Description
type React.PropTypes.string Accepts strikethrough, underline, bold or italic

Table, TableRow, TableHeaderItem and TableItem (Base)

The Table tag is used to add table to your slide. It is used with TableRow, TableHeaderItem and TableItem. Use them as follows:


Text (Base)

The Text tag is used to add text to your slide. Line height can be adjusted via a numeric lineHeight prop.

Name PropType Description
fit React.PropTypes.boolean When set to true, fits text to the slide's width. Note: If you use the 'scale' transition, this won't work in Safari.
lineHeight React.PropTypes.number Sets the line height of your text.

Base Props

Every component above that has (Base) after it has been extended from a common class that includes the following props:

Name PropType Description
italic React.PropTypes.boolean Set fontStyle to italic
bold React.PropTypes.boolean Set fontWeight to bold
caps React.PropTypes.boolean Set textTransform to uppercase
margin React.PropTypes.number or string Set margin value
padding React.PropTypes.number or string Set padding value
textColor React.PropTypes.string Set color value
textSize React.PropTypes.string Set fontSize value
textAlign React.PropTypes.string Set textAlign value
textFont React.PropTypes.string Set textFont value
bgColor React.PropTypes.string Set backgroundColor value
bgImage React.PropTypes.string Set backgroundImage value
bgDarken React.PropTypes.number Float value from 0.0 to 1.0 specifying how much to darken the bgImage image


The Typeface tag is used to apply a specific font to text content. It can either use a font that exists on the system or load a font from the Google Fonts library. Typeface requires either font or googleFont to be defined.

Name PropType Description
font React.PropTypes.string Use a font from the local system
googleFont React.PropTypes.string Use a font from the Google Fonts library
weight React.PropTypes.number Numeric weight value for the font. Default: 400.
italic React.PropTypes.boolean Use an italics variant of the font if it exists. Default: false.
<Typeface googleFont="Roboto Slab" weight={600}>
  <Text>This text is using bold Roboto Slab from Google Fonts.</Text>
<Typeface font="SF Text" weight={400} italic={true}>
  <Text>This text is using the San Francisco Text font from the system.</Text>

Third Party Extensions

  • Spectacle Code Slide - Step through lines of code using this awesome slide extension by @thejameskyle