[texhax] Change of behavior of beamer in handout mode

Joseph Wright joseph.wright at morningstar2.co.uk
Tue Sep 2 08:10:52 CEST 2014

On 02/09/2014 05:21, Micha Hofri wrote:
> Dear All,
> the beamer package is just what is needed to produce presentation mode
> slides when I lead a discussion course.  Then I post the content as pdf
> files, one per class, and use the handout mode output.
> Early last spring the handout mode output suddenly changed on one on my
> machines, and it misbehaves on all the machines I have access to;
> The problem: I use the command:
>  \pgfpagesuselayout{4 on 1}[letterpaper, border shrink=4mm,landscape]
> to collect four presentation frames on each pdf page, but get only the
> first of each four, in full size.
> The aggravation is mostly due to the fact that this is a _change_ over
> several years it provided, and now it does not.  What happened?  I found
> nothing...
> I ran a minimal (non)working example, with \listfiles so it is all out
> there.  It was expected to produce three pages, with four frames on
> each, but instead only frames 1, 5, 9 appear!
> The example, and mwe.log are listed in
>  http://web.cs.wpi.edu/~hofri/mwe.listfiles
> Any clue would be much appreciated.  Sincerely,
>              --Micha Hofri

I've tested your example using TeX Live 2012/13/14 and a variety of
beamer releases. With an up-to-date pgf/TikZ (TL2014) I do not see the
issue going back through beamer versions to 3.08, released in 2010
(backing up before that gets tricky as there are some bug fixes which
interact with other packages in earlier versions). On the other hand,
with the latest beamer release but TeX Live 2012 I can see the issue.

The big difference between those cases is the version of pgf in use, and
I therefore suspect there may be a change in the code for that rather
than for beamer. Supportive of this view is that beamer itself doesn't
do n-up printing/layout: the advice to use pgfpages is in the manual,
but that's a separately-maintained bundle. I cannot be absolutely
certain on that as I'd need to know exactly which versions were in use
'before' as well as 'after' the issue appeared. As a result, what I
can't do is point to a specific change in either beamer or pgf that
leads to the issue. (There are no obvious check-ins for beamer which I'd
immediately think of as potentially responsible. There are some that
might warrant a second look but I'd need to know more about the changes
in pgf, and they have been quite large.)

What I can say is that with the latest release of pgf I don't see the
issue: my TL2014 and 'up-to-date-to-freeze' TL2013 installations both
give the expected behaviour. I'm not really surprised by that: lots of
people I suspect make n-up handouts with beamer using the advice in the
manual (I do) and there have not been 100s of people raising an issue.
Thus all I can suggest is getting a up-to-date pgf version and
installing it in your local tree.
Joseph Wright

More information about the texhax mailing list