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A simple dual-screen PDF reader designed for presentations
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What is Pympress?

Pympress is a little PDF reader written in Python using Poppler for PDF rendering and GTK+ for the GUI.

It is designed to be a dual-screen reader used for presentations and public talks, with two displays: the Content window for a projector, and the Presenter window for your laptop. It is portable and has been tested on various Mac, Windows and Linux systems.

It comes with many great features:

  • supports embedded videos
  • text annotations displayed in the presenter window
  • natively supports beamer's notes on second screen!

Pympress is a free software, distributed under the terms of the GPL license (version 2 or, at your option, any later version).

Pympress was originally created and maintained by Schnouki, on his repo.


If you have python

Using pip

Run the following command in your shell (or replace python3 -m pip with python -m pip or just pip):

python3 -m pip install pympress

Or you can get it from github:

python3 -m pip install git+

If you don't have pip, see the python documentation on installing. You may also want to check that you have all the dependencies.

From source

If you also want the source code, you can clone this repo or grab the latest releases' source, open a console where you put the code, and type python3 -m pip install . (or, if you plan on modifying that code, python3 -m pip install -e .). Same remarks as above apply.

Binary install

If you don't want to know about source code or dependencies, this is for you. Grab the latest installer for your platform and execute it. You're done!

Currently binaries are only available for windows (.msi files). Choose packages with 'amd64' in the name if you have a 64 bit machine, 'x86' if you have a 32 bit machine. The 'vlc' suffix indicates that this installer ships VLC as well to support video, so try it if the other version fails to read videos.


Pympress relies on:

  • Python, 3.x or 2.7 (with setuptools, which is usually shipped by default with python).
  • Poppler, the PDF rendering library.
  • Cairo (and python bindings for cairo), the graphics library which to pre-render and draw over PDF pages.
  • Gtk+ 3, a toolkit for creating graphical user interfaces.
  • PyGi, the python bindings for Gtk+3. PyGi is also known as pygobject3, just pygobject or python3-gi.
    • Introspection bindings for poppler may be shipped separately, ensure you have those as well (typelib-1_0-Poppler-0_18 on OpenSUSE, gir1.2-poppler-0.18 on Ubuntu)
  • optionally VLC, to play videos (with the same bitness as Python)
  • optionally gettext, to get a translated version of Pympress.

Gettext is part of libc on Linux, and part of the PyGi installer on Windows. On Mac OS X, you can use brew to install gettext.

On windows GTK+3, Poppler and their python bindings are all shipped together in the PyGi installer. Be sure to check the supported Python versions (up to 3.4 at the time of writing), they appear in the FEATURES list in the linked page.

On other platforms they are often installed by default, or easily available through your package or software manager. For example, on ubuntu, you can run the following as root to make sure you have all the prerequisites assuming you use python3:

apt-get install python3 python3-pip libgtk-3-0 libpoppler-glib8 libcairo2 python3-gi python3-cairo gir1.2-gtk-3.0 gir1.2-poppler-0.18

Different distributions might have different package naming conventions, for example the equivalent on OpenSUSE would be:

zypper in python3 python3-pip libgtk-3-0 libpoppler-glib8 libcairo2 python3-gobject python3-gobject-Gdk python3-cairo typelib-1_0-GdkPixbuf-2_0 typelib-1_0-Gtk-3_0 typelib-1_0-Poppler-0_18


Opening a file

Simply start Pympress and it will ask you what file you want to open. You can also start pympress from the command line with a file to open like so: pympress slides.pdf


All functionalities are available from the menus of the window with slide previews. Don't be afraid to experiment with them!

Keyboard shortcuts are also listed in these menus. Some more usual shortcuts are often available, for example Ctrl+L, and F11 also toggle fullscreen, though the main shortcut is just F.

A few of the fancier functionalities are listed here:

  • Swap screens: If Pympress mixed up which screen is the projector and which is not, press S

  • Go To Slide: To jump to a selected slide without flashing through the whole presentation on the projector, press G or click the "current slide" box.

    A spin box will appear, and you will be able to navigate through your slides in the presenter window only by scrolling your mouse, with the Home/Up/Down/End keys, with the + and - buttons of the spin box, or simply by typing in the number of the slide. Press Enter to validate going to the new slide or Esc to cancel.

  • Estimated talk time: Click the Time estimation box and set your planned talk duration. You can also pass this on the command line through the -ett flag. The color will allow you to see at a glance how much time you have left.

  • Adjust screen centering: If your slides' form factor doesn't fit the projectors' and you don't want the slide centered in the window, use the "Screen Center" option in the "Presentation" menu.

  • Resize Current/Next slide: You can drag the bar between both slides on the Presenter window to adjust their relative sizes to your liking.

  • Preferences: Some of your choices are saved in a configuration file, in ~/.config/pympress or ~/.pympress on linux, and in %APPDATA%/pympress.ini on windows.

  • Cache: For efficiency, Pympress caches rendered pages (up to 200 by default). If this is too memory consuming for you, you can change this number in the configuration file.


Feel free to clone this repo and use it, modify it, redistribute it, etc, under the GPLv2+. Pympress has inline sphinx documentation (Google style, contains rst syntax), and the docs folder contains the documentation generated from it, hosted on the github pages of this repo.


If you want to add a translation, check if pympress/share/locale/<language>/pympress.po already exists. If not, take the template file as input and translate all the strings, then add it to the repo in pympress/share/locale/<language>/pympress.po. Finally pass this .po file to msgfmt and add the output to the repo at pympress/share/locale/<language>/LC_MESSAGES/

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