R Presentations for beginners


I’m looking for the best Rmd presentation package to introduce to beginners.

From what I’ve seen there are several options:

I noticed that there was a lot of excitement for xaringan, in the R Presentations thread, but one of the drawbacks is that it’s aimed at presentation ninjas.

I was wondering, of the options above (or others), which one would be best to introduce to beginner-level users who are familiar with basic markdown, but have no knowledge of css. I am personally leaning toward revealjs because it appears to have the ability to export to PDF and seems to have sensible defaults for text size and alignment. What do you think?


Are there any features that you know your users will expect? My methodology for finding a presentation framework was to try to make it in one, and once I ran into something that seemed too hard to do in my current framework, I moved onto another one. I did this until I got far enough using ioslides that it was easier to learn the hacky CSS necessary than to change frameworks yet again.

I think that I gave up on reveal.js when I couldn’t find a reasonably straightforward way to create a two-column slide. That said, considering that I fought the two-column support in ioslides through much of my presentation, I’m not sure that it was a significant improvement in the end.

Main point: if you know your users will have one or two “must-have” features, figure out which frameworks support those natively (and well), and that will probably make your list much shorter.


Yeah, your methodology—and, in particular the pain of implementing two-column slides—reflects my process as well.

This is a good point to think about. I think one of the biggest features people will want is the ease of being able to export to PDF since our scientific society only takes power point and pdf slides.

FWIW, I found a way to have a two column layout that works across pretty much all of these (except beamer) is to use div tags, but it’s pretty ugly.

<div style="float: left; width: 50%;">

 - some
 - text 
 - here

<div style="float: right; width: 50%;">




That method of making two columns isn’t any more ugly than some of what I had to do to get ioslides “native” method to produce columns balanced as I expected. I’ll keep that in mind if I ever need to present a lot of R material in a “pretty” format in the future.

FWIW in return, ioslides and Slidy will also render nicely to PDF when printed in Chrome. You may need to turn on “Print Background” for it to work properly, though.