A neat little tool to build presentations using the Scala REPL
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represent verb 0. depict, portray, render, delineate, show, illustrate. 0. symbolize, stand for, personify, typify, embody. 0. point out, state, present, put forward.

REPLesent is a neat little powerful tool to build presentations using the Scala REPL.

Conceptualized and originally implemented while waiting almost two hours for my plane to be de-iced, it was introduced during the Northeast Scala Symposium 2015 in Boston.

While clearly not a Powerpoint Keynote replacement, REPLesent is a good option for training sessions and technical talks featuring live coding. Its old-school looks were considered very cool by many conference attendants.


  • Easy to write slides: a simple plain text file with minimal markup
  • The full arsenal of navigation options: next, previous, first, last, jump to
  • Builds (incremental slides)
  • Slide number / total
  • Text alignment: left, right, centered, flushed
  • ANSI colors
  • Horizontal rulers (thanks, @daviscabral)
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Run code straight from slides directly in the REPL with a single keystroke. No other presentation tool can do that for you!
  • And the #1 requested feature: emoji! :-) I mean, 😄

Quick Tour


Getting Started

REPLesent is distributed as a single .scala file and has no dependencies.

REPLesent was designed to be used only in conjunction with the Scala REPL. It is not meant to be compiled as a standalone application (build.sbt is only for running the unit tests).

We recommend you install and use the full Scala distribution (the scala command) instead of just the sbt console. Scala 2.11.4 or later and JDK 7 or later are the preferred versions. If you are using Windows, you need to run scala in ANSICON or another console that supports ANSI escape codes. REPLesent will not render correctly in Windows' standard cmd console.

To get started, download and save to the same folder the files REPLesent.scala and REPLesent.txt. The file emoji.txt is optional, only needed to enable emoji support.

First, create an alias:

alias REPLesent='scala -Dscala.color -language:_ -nowarn -i REPLesent.scala'

Open the REPL and enter the two statements below:

$ REPLesent
Loading REPLesent.scala...
defined class REPLesent

Welcome to Scala version 2.11.5 (Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM, Java 1.8.0_31).
Type in expressions to have them evaluated.
Type :help for more information.

scala> val replesent = REPLesent(80, 25, intp=$intp)
replesent: REPLesent = REPLesent(80,25,REPLesent.txt)

scala> import replesent._
import replesent._

Do not forget to replace 80, 25 with the actual size of your terminal window. The intp=$intp incantation is required to hook onto the REPL to run slide code.

Once all is done, type f, press ENTER, and follow the on-screen instructions.

Experimental screen size auto-detection: For Unix-like systems, including Mac OS X and Linux, you can omit the screen size. Does not work for Microsoft Windows systems.

Quick Reference Guide

Initialization options

Parameter Type Description Default
width Int Terminal width in columns 0 (Unix: autodetect, Windows: 80)
height Int Terminal height in rows 0 (Unix: autodetect, Windows: 25)
source String The path to the presentation file "REPLesent.txt"
slideCounter Boolean Whether to show the slide number false
slideTotal Boolean Whether to show the total number of slides false
intp A hook to the Scala REPL No default, use magic value $intp

Navigation commands

Command Shortcut Symbolic alias Description
next n > Go to next build/slide
previous p < Go back to previous build/slide
redraw z Redraw the current build/slide
reload y Reload the slides from file
Next N >> Go to next slide
Previous P << Go back to previous slide
i next i n Advance i slides
i previous i p Go back i slides
i go i g Go to slide i
first f ` <`
last l `> `
Last L `>> `
run r !! Execute code that appears on slide
blank b Blank screen
help h ? This help message

Separators and delimiters

Separator Description
--- Separates slides
-- Separates builds
``` Delineates Scala code

Text alignment

Command Description
<< Left-flushed text
< Left-aligned text
` `
> Right-aligned text
>> Right-flushed text

A space separating the alignment command from the text is mandatory.

ANSI colors

Escape code Result
\x Foreground color, where x is one of: red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, yellow, black, white
\X Background color, where capital X is one of the same as above
\* Bold
\_ Underscore
\! Reverse colors
\s Resets to normal

Horizontal rulers

Command Description
/ A ruler across the slide length
// A ruler across the entire screen width

An optional pattern may be specified immediately following the forward slash. Unicode characters and ANSI color escapes (as above) are supported.


To enable emoji support, you will need a copy of the emoji.txt file.

Almost all shortcuts listed by the Emoji cheat sheet are supported. You can look at emoji.txt for the definitive list of supported emoji.

Emojis can be combined with horizontal rulers and, depending on your system fonts, ANSI colors, too.

Emoji has only be tested on Mac OS X Terminal.app and Gnome Terminal, YMMV.

Multiple File Support

As your REPLesent.txt grows, you may find yourself needing to split slides into logical chunks for quick navigation.

In order to use this mode, simply place all your individual slide files into a directory (in this example, we'll be using the directory name "slides"), all ending with the file extension .replesent.

Then, initialize REPLesent with the additional parameter source="slides", which will concatinate all files in ASCIIbetical order. Suggested practice is to name files with a leading sequence number, padding with zeros (01, 02, 03 ... 14, 15 ...)

One caveat is that since this is strict file concatination, slide separators will not be added automatically, so please remember to end your files with --- or --.

Vim Syntax Highlighting

Included in this repository is a vim directory, which contains a vim plugin for editing REPLesent slides.

This plugin depends on derekwyatt/vim-scala for Scala syntax highlighting.

Simply copy the files into your ~/.vim directory to get started, or use Vundle (or similar) like:

Plugin 'derekwyatt/vim-scala'
Plugin 'marconilanna/REPLesent', {'rtp': 'vim/'}



Copyright 2015-2017 Marconi Lanna

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at


Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.