Continuing on my series of posts on applications I like (and use most of the time), here is Deckset, a simple yet effective application to build and deliver gorgeous slides.

I already discussed Decket a while ago while I was in the process of migrating a set of slides from $\LaTeX$ + Beamer to Markdown. That was initially just to try how viable such an option would be in the long term. I have since used Deckset to build short presentations and even complete courses more than once. Now that the Deckset team added support for footer, footnotes and tables, the application should suit the needs of most users. Moreover, in the last update I got from Deckset team, it was also easy to define a specific theme (among those offered by Deckset) in the document header. One of the most interesting feature of Deckset is that you can easily manage to put pictures, movies or single text on a plain page, bypassing the default structure of your slide deck if any. That is something that I really miss when using Markdown + Beamer since this would require to add extra inline $\LaTeX$ commands.

A few pictures are worth than thousand words. When you launch Deckset, you get sort of a drawer where you can see all your recent files. You can pick one and it will be displayed in a dedicated window, or you can just edit your Markdown file directly from your preferred editor.

The next two screenshots show the variety of slides that can be built using simple Markdown and a lightweight set of extra commands specific to Deckset. This is well documented and easily available from the Help menu. You can display your slides using Deckset directly, and you will get access to “presenter notes” and a second display monitor for free. Importantly, you can also export your slides in PDF format (I know people like JS slides, but I can ensure you that your PDF will still be readable in 20 years but certainly not your Javascript-powered prez).

It looks like Deckset got a major refactoring and now support custom themes. As I said, I used this app a lot when preparing slides for my lectures or academic prez, and I always felt it was lacking support for custom tables and themes, although the built-in theme were pretty neat. Specifically, I always thought it would be good to be able to (1) use different fonts than the ones that ship with Deckset—and even use different fonts in the same slide deck, and (2) change background color or theme structure for specific slides. It seems that it is now possible with the 2.x version.

I bought the 1.x version from the App Store back in 2014, so I am not eligible for the free upgrade. To be honest, I thought this app was going to die slowly, but I am happy to be proven wrong. I may try the update at some point. In the meantime, the current version is no longer supported and not available via AppStore anymore!