dead simple way to create semantic, nice to look at slides - without any dependencies
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dead simple way to create semantic, nice to look at slides

  • forget about styling, only think about content
  • p_slides is static files only, it doesn't need a server, installed software, pre-compilation or a special editor (unless of course your favorite and very special editor!)
  • for editing and presenting, there are no external dependencies - it's just a html file (therefore it can easily be put into version control for example)
  • it's extendable and supports themes(see section "extensibility" for details)
  • write markdown (uses remarkable.js)
  • slides are automatically styled nicely (uses twitter bootstrap)
  • code samples are syntactically highlighted (uses jquery syntax)
  • generates nice slides in the browser (uses slidy2)
    • use arrow keys to navigate
    • use the generated 'table of contents' for quick navigation
    • supports printing to pdf (see presentation.pdf)
    • every slide has a unique url for easy sharing
    • supports having a timer in the presentation (see meta[name="duration"] element in presentation.html
      • use an empty first slide if you don't want the timer to start automatically


  • open the demo presentation.html in your favourite browser
    • tested in current versions of chrome/safari/ff
  • print the document to pdf if you need to
  • slides will automatically get separated into pages


syntax highlighting

  • write your code in <pre> tags
  • annotate the given language using a css class

example code

<pre class="syntax c">
static int foo;
void bar(void) {
    foo = 0;
    while (foo != 255) ; }


static int foo;
void bar(void) {
    foo = 0;
    while (foo != 255) ; }

syntax highlighting

  • if you want to syntax highlight all your code in the same way then you can uncomment and customize the following line at the bottom of the presentation.html file:
$('pre > code').parent().addClass("syntax cpp");



  • Five years ago I became a lecturer at the Zurich University of applied Sciences
  • With this, I was tasked with creating great lectures with good presentations and labs
  • Looking at the landscape of the popular tools out there, I saw that most people are doing WYSIWYG - however, I knew that this was going to be a waste of time (I'm not going into this generic argument here, if you don't agree, that's absolutely ok)
  • I wanted a tool that
    • works well cross-platform
    • works well with version control
    • uses a succinct and well-known markup language (markdown, org-mode, ...)
    • has no dependencies to install for other lecturers
    • allows for demos in the browser with distribution via PDF
    • allows editing with a regular text editor (for me that was VIM for well over a decade, now it's Emacs), because this yields the greatest typing efficiency
  • There was no such thing in 2011, so I created p_slides
  • To this day p_slides prevails with regard to the above list
    • There are a lot of other tools out there, but as far as I know, they all fail one of the above criteria.

p_slides design decisions

  • a p_slide presentation is only a static file that you can put into version control and work on collaboratively with your peers
  • p_slides is explicitly dumb
    • it has no requirements to install additional software, pre-compile anything or run a server
    • therefore it is completely self-contained/self-hosted and doesn't require any complications for less technical users
      • no usage of the command-line is required (no ruby, node, npm, browserify, gulp, babel, ...)
      • no compilation step is required
      • no hosting solution is preferred, not even Github Pages

difference to reveal-js (and other popular options)

  • Out of the box reveal-js does not support Markdown Slides. Yes, of course they do, but you'll have to write HTML per slide and then embed Markdown. With p_slides, you'll write your markdown directly inline - no HTML cruft where it doesn't add benefit.

  • reveal-js is much bigger whereas p_slides relies on well tested and established software. For example many features that you can find on the reveal-js README are also included in p_slides, because it uses W3Org slidy2. p_slides actually is only very little code itself as it glues together very well established and good existing libraries. reveal-js does a lot by itself. Both options are valid, yet they are different(;

editing tips

With p_slides you are completely free to use your favorite Editor - that might be Atom, Visual Studio Code, Notepad++ or anything really. All of them have good markdown integration - for some of them please find the documentation directly here:


For Emacs, there is a great markdown-mode. With this snippet in your init.el, you can automatically enable it. The snippet also shows how to enable automatic spell checking with flyspell-mode.

(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("presentation.html" . markdown-mode))
;; If you are into spell-checking
(add-hook 'markdown-mode-hook 'flyspell-mode)


If you want VIM to automatically use Tim Popes great markdown plugin, use this snippet for VIM to automatically register the correct filetype - or write a better solutions and make me a Pull Request(;

au! BufRead,BufNewFile *html,*htm call TestForPSlides()
"Check whether it is a p_slides presentation
function TestForPSlides()
  if match(join(getline(1,'$')), 'p_slides') > 0
    set filetype=markdown



  • create a new tag
  • change links to assets (examples and README) to refer to new tag



Library License
slidy2 W3C software license
jquery-syntax MIT
bootstrap MIT
remarkable MIT

p_slides is licensed under the GNU AGPL.