[Tex/LaTex] use LaTeX for presentations


I've read that LaTeX can be used also for presentations, using specific packages to make slides in PDF.

But I'm wondering: since LaTeX is a typographic language made to separate content from style, and being PDF a format designed for printing; what are this presentation tools meant for? Maybe I'm thinking about the wrong type of presentation?

What's the reason for using LaTeX for this task?

UPDATE: I'm asking this because I'm about to start making a presentation, and yes, I'd prefer avoid using PowerPoint; I like vector graphics and I was wondering if it's possible to create a sort of vectorial GIF (just to give the idea), or anyway something of platform-independent. But I find PDF too static for this purpose (maybe it's just a personal feeling).

Best Answer

PDF is not just designed for printing. It is a format for displaying electronic documents, independently of hardware (printer, screen, e-reader, smartphone, projector etc.) and software (such as the operating system). This format is both good for printouts and presentation, so a good choice as output format.

Presentations with technical or scientific content are often based on documents, very often written in LaTeX also because of it's mathematical typesetting capabilities. It's very natural to use the same tool, LaTeX, for the presentation.

The benefits of LaTeX, such as separating the form/style and the content, portability in source, implementation and output, cross-referencing capabilities and typesetting quality, are great for presentations as well.

As I use LaTeX, I can work on the source using Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X, and I can give the presentation away as a PDF for reading or presenting on a conference, the reader or speaker can use Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, a tablet computer, a smartphone - or a printout.

If I would use PowerPoint - well, I would be pretty bound to Windows Version X with PowerPoint Version Y or a suited viewer, which is also a limit for the reader or presenter.