In many cases, they (understandably) don't reply (or they are uncomfortable with sharing them, as they often contain unpublished material). Also, I do this often, and don't want to be known as "the person who asks people for their powerpoint slides".

At the same time though, it's simply far easier to remember the content of a presentation/talk when you actually have access to the stuff inside (and I do discover that I learn faster from talks than from any other source). Most of the time, I request the slides as a reference for learning the material (since I'm still new to the area, and they are quite helpful for that).

(though I do wonder - what are the underlying circumstances when most people ask for them?)

  • 1
    Most people ask for them for the same reason you do; to simplify note-taking, and to help remember some idea for future research. – eykanal Feb 22 '12 at 14:23
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    Whatever you do, just don't call them a PowerPoint unless you know they were actually prepared in PowerPoint :-P (I am among the minority of people who get a little offended when someone asks about my PowerPoint - because I prepare my slides in LaTeX) – David Z Sep 28 '12 at 4:11
  • In my experience, conference organizers often ask speakers to provide their slides, to be posted (after the talk) on the conference web site, so everyone can access them. (And @DavidZ will be glad to learn that, instead of calling them "PowerPoint slides" regardless of how they were actually produced, we usually call them "Beamer slides" regardless of how they were actually produced.) – Andreas Blass Oct 4 '18 at 1:17

There is no magic when it comes to asking for presentations. And there is nothing wrong with being the person who asks people for their powerpoint slides (at least you show that are interested and it may result in them being cited; and it shows that they got their job done - though a presentation they interested others in their idea).

If they don't reply (or don't sent it), it is usually of one of the following reasons:

  • They are busy and missed your mail,
  • It would take their time to find the presentation and send it (it may be big so it is not just sending an e-mail),
  • They would prefer not to make it public as:
    • It is not polished enough for anything but a presentation,
    • It may contain things that they would prefer not to share publicly (e.g. plots form other papers, preliminary data which may later proven to be wrong or incomplete, pictures or video they don't have right to share further, etc).

If they don't want to share it - they have right to it. However, usually they have nothing against (and actually are happy to do so) as long as you make it quick and easy for them.

So it is a good idea to ask for slides just after their talk - they may have it on their computer (so you can copy it to your stick) or on a stick (o you can copy it to your computer) or send it right away.


  • Send your e-mail at most a week after the presentation,
  • Be short and concise (what exactly you want, what do you want with do with it),
  • If there is no response try writing the same e-mail a week later.

Be very clear on what you want it for, particularly whether you will be sharing it further (even within your group, with your advisor, &c).

I often post edited version of the slides online, but I always want to have control on the contents that are public, semi-public, or private.


I don't mind sharing my presentations, but I make sure that I provide a read-only format only (PDF) with slides scaled to e.g. 1/4 of actual size, in raster format (so that more than one would fit on a page). When people ask for presentations, I expect they'd like to have the material handy for further reading and reference, not to present it or use it themselves.

One would go even further and restrict the PDF printing, copying and modifications, although these can be circumvented with a reasonable effort if you know what you are doing. I don't do this as a matter of principle, but I can see how some people might want to have such kind of control.


You can ask for a redacted version of the slides, without new data. Do note that this will require extra work from the presenter; in my experience, I've found that most people do not go this route. I would follow the route you're currently taking; ask for them, and if they don't wish to share, then drop the subject.


If you're uncomfortable asking the authors of the slides, for some event types, another idea could be to ask the organizers of the conference, seminar, talk, etc., if they could make the slides available to everyone on the event website. Depending on their attitude, the organizers may think that this is a good idea and do it on your behalf, and there may have a higher chance of getting a response from the presenter.

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