Impress.js Plugins documentation

Impress.js Plugins documentation

The default set of plugins

A lot of impress.js features are and will be implemented as plugins. Each plugin has user documentation in a file in its own directory.

The plugins in this directory are called default plugins, and - unsurprisingly - are enabled by default. However, most of them won’t do anything by default, rather require the user to invoke them somehow. For example:

Extra addons

Yet more features are available in presentations that enable extra addons. Extra addons are 3rd party plugins that are not part of impress.js, but that we have nevertheless collected together into the impress-extras repo to provide convenient and standardized access to them. To include the extra addons when checking out impress.js, use git clone –recursive. Even then, they are not activated by default in a presentation, rather each must be included with their own <script> tag.

Note: The enabled extra addons are automatically initialized by the extras plugin.

Example HTML and CSS

Generally plugins will do something sane, or nothing, by default. Hence, no particular HTML or CSS is required. The README file of each plugin documents the HTML and CSS that you can use with that plugin.

For your convenience, below is some sample HTML and CSS code covering all the plugins that you may want to use or adapt.

Sample HTML to enable plugins and extra addons

  <!-- CSS files if using Highlight.js or Mermaid.js extras. -->
  <link rel="stylesheet" href="../../extras/highlight/styles/github.css">
  <link rel="stylesheet" href="../../extras/mermaid/mermaid.forest.css">
  <div id="impress" data-autoplay="10">
    <div class="step"

      <h1>Slide content</h1>
        <li class="substep">Point 1</li>
        <li class="substep">Point 2</li>

      <div class="notes">
      Speaker notes are shown in the impressConsole.
  <div id="impress-toolbar"></div>
  <div class="impress-progressbar"><div></div></div>
  <div class="impress-progress"></div>
  <div id="impress-help"></div>

  <script type="text/javascript" src="../../extras/highlight/highlight.pack.js"></script>
  <script type="text/javascript" src="../../extras/mermaid/mermaid.min.js"></script>
  <script type="text/javascript" src="../../extras/markdown/markdown.js"></script>
  <script type="text/javascript" src="../../extras/mathjax/MathJax.js?config=TeX-AMS_CHTML"></script>
/* Using the substep plugin, hide bullet points at first, then show them one by one. */
#impress .step .substep {
    opacity: 0;

#impress .step .substep.substep-visible {
    opacity: 1;
    transition: opacity 1s;
  Speaker notes allow you to write comments within the steps, that will not 
  be displayed as part of the presentation. However, they will be picked up
  and displayed by impressConsole.js when you press P.
.notes {
    display: none;

/* Toolbar plugin */
.impress-enabled div#impress-toolbar {
    position: fixed;
    right: 1px;
    bottom: 1px;
    opacity: 0.6;
    z-index: 10;
.impress-enabled div#impress-toolbar > span {
    margin-right: 10px;
.impress-enabled div#impress-toolbar.impress-toolbar-show {
    display: block;
.impress-enabled div#impress-toolbar.impress-toolbar-hide {
    display: none;

/* If you disable pointer-events (like in the impress.js official demo), you need to re-enable them for the toolbar.
   And the speaker console while at it.*/
.impress-enabled #impress-toolbar         { pointer-events: auto }
.impress-enabled #impress-console-button  { pointer-events: auto }

/* Progress bar */
.impress-enabled .impress-progressbar {
  position: absolute;
  right: 318px;
  bottom: 1px;
  left: 118px;
  border-radius: 7px;
  border: 2px solid rgba(100, 100, 100, 0.2);
.impress-enabled .impress-progressbar DIV {
  width: 0;
  height: 2px;
  border-radius: 5px;
  background: rgba(75, 75, 75, 0.4);
  transition: width 1s linear;
.impress-enabled .impress-progress {
  position: absolute;
  left: 59px;
  bottom: 1px;
  text-align: left;
  opacity: 0.6;
.impress-enabled #impress-help {
    background: none repeat scroll 0 0 rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.5);
    color: #EEEEEE;
    font-size: 80%;
    position: fixed;
    left: 2em;
    bottom: 2em;
    width: 24em;
    border-radius: 1em;
    padding: 1em;
    text-align: center;
    z-index: 100;
    font-family: Verdana, Arial, Sans;
.impress-enabled #impress-help td {
    padding-left: 1em;
    padding-right: 1em;

For developers

The vision for impress.js is to provide a compact core library doing the actual presentations, with a collection of plugins that provide additional functionality. A default set of plugins are distributed together with the core impress.js, and are located in this directory. They are called default plugins because they are distributed and active when users use the js/impress.js in their presentations.

Building js/impress.js

The common way to use impress.js is to link to the file js/impress.js. This is a simple concatenation of the core impress.js and all plugins in this directory. If you edit or add code under src/, you can run node build.js to recreate the distributable js/impress.js file. The build script also creates a minified file, but this is not included in the git repository.

Tip: Build errors

If your code has parse errors, the build.js will print a rather unhelpful exception like


    throw new JS_Parse_Error(message, line, col, pos);
    at new JS_Parse_Error (/home/hingo/hacking/impress.js/node_modules/uglify-js/lib/parse-js.js:263:18)
    at js_error (/home/hingo/hacking/impress.js/node_modules/uglify-js/lib/parse-js.js:271:11)
    at croak (/home/hingo/hacking/impress.js/node_modules/uglify-js/lib/parse-js.js:733:9)
    at token_error (/home/hingo/hacking/impress.js/node_modules/uglify-js/lib/parse-js.js:740:9)
    at unexpected (/home/hingo/hacking/impress.js/node_modules/uglify-js/lib/parse-js.js:746:9)
    at Object.semicolon [as 1] (/home/hingo/hacking/impress.js/node_modules/uglify-js/lib/parse-js.js:766:43)
    at prog1 (/home/hingo/hacking/impress.js/node_modules/uglify-js/lib/parse-js.js:1314:21)
    at simple_statement (/home/hingo/hacking/impress.js/node_modules/uglify-js/lib/parse-js.js:906:27)
    at /home/hingo/hacking/impress.js/node_modules/uglify-js/lib/parse-js.js:814:19
    at block_ (/home/hingo/hacking/impress.js/node_modules/uglify-js/lib/parse-js.js:1003:20)

You will be pleased to know, that the concatenation of the unminified file js/impress.js has already succeeded at this point. Just open a test in your browser, and the browser will show you the line and error.

Structure, naming and policy

Each plugin is contained within its own directory. The name of the directory is the name of the plugin. For example, imagine a plugin called pluginA:


The main javascript file should use the directory name as its root name:


For most plugins, a single .js file is enough.

Note that the plugin name is also used as a namespace for various things. For example, the autoplay plugin can be configured by setting the data-autoplay="5" attribute on a div.

As a general rule ids, classes and attributes within the div#impress root element, may use the plugin name directly (e.g. data-autoplay="5"). However, outside of the root element, you should use impress-pluginname (e.g. <div id="impress-toolbar">. The latter (longer) form also applies to all events, they should be prefixed with impress:pluginname.

You should use crisp and descriptive names for your plugins. But sometimes you might optimize for a short namespace. Hence, the Relative Positioning Plugin is called rel to keep html attributes short. You should not overuse this idea!

Note that for default plugins, which is all plugins in this directory, NO css, html or image files are allowed.

Default plugins must not add any global variables.


The plugin directory should also include tests, which should use the QUnit and Syn libraries under test/. You can have as many tests as you like, but it is suggested your first and main test file is called plugina_tests.html and plugina_tests.js respectively. You need to add your test .js file into /qunit_test_runner.html, and the .js file should start by loading the test .html file into the iframe#presentation-iframe. See navigation-ui plugin for an example.

You are allowed to test your plugin whatever way you like, but the general approach is for the test to load the js/impress.js file produced by build.js. This way you are testing what users will actually be using, rather than the uncompiled source code.

HowTo write a plugin


To avoid polluting the global namespace, plugins must encapsulate them in the standard javascript anonymous function:

 * Plugin A - An example plugin
 * Description...
 * Copyright 2016 Firstname Lastname, email or github handle
 * Released under the MIT license.
(function ( document, window ) {

    // Plugin implementation...

})(document, window);

Init plugins

We categorize plugins into various categories, based on how and when they are called, and what they do.

An init plugin is the simplest kind of plugin. It simply listens for the impress().init() method to send the impress:init event, at which point the plugin can initialize itself and start doing whatever it does, for example by calling methods in the public api returned by impress().

The impress:init event has the div#impress element as its target attribute, whereas event.detail.api contains the same object that is returned by calling impress(). It is customary to store the api object sent by the event rather than calling impress() from the global namespace.


 * Plugin A - An example plugin
 * Description...
 * Copyright 2016 Firstname Lastname, email or github handle
 * Released under the MIT license.
(function ( document, window ) {
    var root;
    var api;
    var lib;

    document.addEventListener( "impress:init", function( event ) {
        root =;
        api = event.detail.api;
        lib = api.lib;

        // Element attributes starting with "data-", become available under
        // element.dataset. In addition hyphenized words become camelCased.
        var data = root.dataset;
        // Get value of `<div id="impress" data-plugina-foo="...">`
        var foo = data.pluginaFoo;
        // ...
})(document, window);

Both Navigation and Autoplay are init plugins.

To provide end user configurability in your plugin, a good idea might be to read html attributes from the impress presentation. The Autoplay plugin does exactly this, you can provide a default value in the div#impress element, or in each div.step.

A plugin must only use html attributes in its designated namespace, which is


For example, if pluginA offers config options foo and bar, it would look like this:

<div id="impress" data-plugina-foo="5" data-plugina-bar="auto" >

Pre-init plugins

Some plugins need to run before even impress().init() does anything. These are typically filters: they want to modify the html via DOM calls, before impress.js core parses the presentation. We call these pre-init plugins.

A pre-init plugin must be called synchronously, before impress().init() is executed. Plugins can register themselves to be called in the pre-init phase by calling:

impress.addPreInitPlugin( plugin [, weight] );

The argument plugin must be a function. weight is optional and defaults to 10. Plugins are ordered by weight when they are executed, with lower weight first.

The Relative Positioning Plugin is an example of a pre-init plugin.

Pre-StepLeave plugins

A pre-stepleave plugin is called synchronously from impress.js core at the beginning of impress().goto().

To register a plugin, call

impress.addPreStepLeavePlugin( plugin [, weight] );

When the plugin function is executed, it will be passed an argument that resembles the event object from DOM event handlers: contains the current step, which we are about to leave. contains the element we are about to transition to.

event.detail.reason contains a string, one of “next”, “prev” or “goto”, which tells you which API function was called to initiate the transition.

event.detail.transitionDuration contains the transitionDuration for the upcoming transition.

A pre-stepleave plugin may alter the values in event.detail (except for reason), and this can change the behavior of the upcoming transition. For example, the goto plugin will set the to point to some other element, causing the presentation to jump to that step instead.

GUI plugins

A GUI plugin is actually just an init plugin, but is a special category that exposes visible widgets or effects in the presentation. For example, it might provide clickable buttons to go to the next and previous slide.

Note that all plugins shipped in the default set must not produce any visible html elements unless the user asks for it. A recommended best practice is to let the user add a div element, with an id equaling the plugin’s namespace, in the place where he wants to see whatever visual UI elements the plugin is providing:

<div id="impress-plugina"></div>

Another way to show the elements of a UI plugin might be by allowing the user to explicitly press a key, like “H” for a help dialog.

Toolbar plugin is an example of a GUI plugin. It presents a toolbar where other plugins can add their buttons in a centralized fashion.

Remember that for default plugins, even GUI plugins, no html files, css files or images are allowed. Everything must be generated from javascript. The idea is that users can theme widgets with their own CSS. (A plugin is of course welcome to provide example CSS that can be copypasted :-)


If pluginB depends on the existence of pluginA, and also pluginA must run before pluginB, then pluginB should not listen to the impress:init event, rather pluginA should send its own init event, which pluginB listens to.


// pluginA
document.addEventListener("impress:init", function (event) {
    // plugin A does it's own initialization first...

    // Signal other plugins that plugin A is now initialized
    var root = document.querySelector( "div#impress" );
    var event = document.createEvent("CustomEvent");
    event.initCustomEvent("impress:plugina:init', true, true, { "plugina" : "data..." });
}, false);

// pluginB
document.addEventListener("impress:plugina:init", function (event) {
    // plugin B implementation
}, false);

A plugin should use the namespace impress:pluginname:* for any events it sends.

In theory all plugins could always send an init and other events, but in practice we’re adding them on an as needed basis.