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PostScript (PS) is a page description programming language that in short tells a printer where to place ink or toner on paper. The aim with this PostScript section is to be the most up to date and comprehensive PostScript and GhostScript resource directory on the net.

» An introduction to PostScript and its History
» PostScript Printing
» PostScript Fonts
» Viewing, Merging, Extracting and Converting PostScript files
» PostScript Drawing
» Encapsulated PostScript (EPS)
» GhostScript – A PostScript and PDF interpreter
» PostScript Programming, Training and Books
» Commercial PostScript Products
» PostScript FAQ
» Other PostScript Web Resources

An introduction to PostScript and its History

The two founders of Adobe, John Warnock and Charles Geschke, invented PostScript and also founded Adobe in 1982. PostScript was originally developed to be able to describe graphics independently of device. The programming language gave the possibility to let two totally different printers, in terms of settings, hardware and capabilities, to look at one picture in the same way. The Apple Laserwriter printer became the first printer to support PostScript in 1985.

Up until now, Postscript have been released in three different versions called; PostScript Level 1, PostScript Level 2 and PostScript 3.

If you want to get a broader overview of PostScript, please read the following articles – A PostScript Introduction and A First Guide to PostScript. For those of you interested in the early years of PostScript, continue reading our PostScript history article!

PostScript Printing

» LinuxPrinting has information and download links if you are searching for a generic postscript printer driver

» Free Software Foundation (FSF) PostScript Printing projects including:

  • GGv – Document viewer
  • GL2PS – OpenGL to PostScript printing library
  • GNU trueprint – Prints source code to PostScript printers
  • Ghostview – Graphical front end to Ghostscript
  • Library to create PostScript files – a C-library for generating multi page PostScript documents.
  • PPR – Print spooler for PostScript printers
  • Pcal – Prints PostScript or HTML calendars
  • PyScript – A Python module for producing PostScript graphics.
  • Tipograf – Frontend for a2ps
  • a2ps – Any to PostScript filter
  • enscript – Converts ASCII files to PostScript
  • gv – Frontend for ghostscript
  • pkpgcounter – Parses files and outputs the number of pages needed to print them


» N-UP printing and watermarks in MSWin and Mac, want to shrink 2, 4, 9, or 16 PS document pages onto one side of one sheet of printer paper? Or place a big message (“watermark”) in the background of each page? It’s easy in Windows and Mac. If you don’t already have the Adobe PostScript Driver, just download and install it (not the driver for a PS printer, but the latest Adobe PostScript Driver).

» Printfile, send a file to a printer (even a network printer). Select which pages to print, including odd- or even-numbered pages. Offers drag-and-drop, n-up, and EPS printing; on-the-fly file conversion (for example, by Ghostscript), automatic prepend of a printer prolog, and a “watched folder” function. When you use Printfile to print a PS file, it can automate GhostScript’s conversion for a non-PS printer. (MSWindows) Do you print a lot? Check our deals on printer ink!

» Imprint has similar features as programs above. (MSWindows)

» Drop PS sends a PS file to any AppleTalk-connected PostScript printer.(Mac)

» Set up Redmon on a printer port, and when any application prints to that port, Redmon redirects all the data to a program for processing before sending it on to a printer. Works with network printers, too. Used with Ghostscript, any non-PS printer becomes a virtual PS printer. Or set up Redmon with a PS printer river and Ghostscript to create PDF files (“PDF Writer”). (MSWin, the website contains links for similar utilities for OS/2 and Unix.)

» Make a poster, enlarge an EPS (or single-page PS) picture to any size. If your printer isn’t big enough to print it, you can “tile” it by printing out lots of smaller pages which you glue together. (Unix and DOS)

» PSUtils, a useful set of utilities for printing PS documents, including:

  • psresize, alters document paper size
  • psselect, selects pages and page ranges
  • pstops, performs general page rearrangement and selection
  • psnup, prints multiple document pages per physical sheet of paper
  • psbook, rearranges pages into “signatures”
  • epsffit, fits an EPSF file to a given bounding box

You can also find, Windows source code and documentation.

» PS Processing Speed Test (PPST) sends a series of complex PS files to your printer or interpreter to see how fast it can process them. Also see this cautionabout the results of PPST.

» ISO Paper Sizes has everything you always wanted to know about the metric paper size system (A4, etc.), but didn’t know where to look.

» Print-to-file FAQ for redirecting output to a file, instead of a printer. (Win95)

» PostScript error message FAQ for looking up error codes for PS printers and  HP LaserJet printers. Also this PostScript error codes page can be used.

» Create a virtual PostScript printer in Windows using GhostScript with detailed installation and set-up instructions including screenshots.

» PostScript Service manuals and parts can be found on this and this resource.

PostScript Fonts

» Adobe font library where you can browse or search hundreds of PostScript fonts and view samples for free.

» MyFonts, central source for commercial fonts from nearly 200 foundries. Browse, search, buy, download.

» Sriptorium Fonts, a large collection of imaginative, elegant fonts based on the historical typography from antiquity to the present.

» Ghostscript comes with 35 quality PS fonts (all the “standard” fonts, although with different names).

» What font is that, upload a brief sample of a font and this search engine will display closest matches from its font database or identify a font by answering a series of clever questions.

» Fontsheets prints a sample of every PS font in your printer, in a compact format sorted by font family.

» Johan Vromans utilities extract information and metrics from PS font files, print sample pages, convert TTF to Type42, and convert between PFA and PFB.

» Dylan McNamee’s handy Font Viewer shows every character and glyph in the font, even those not in the encoding vector.

» Fontforge (formerly PfaEdit) lets you create and edit fonts in PS, TrueType, and other formats, and convert between formats (including PC and Mac). Links to font editors and tools. (Unix; MSWin requires CygWin)

» Crossfont converts PS Type 1 and TrueType fonts between Mac and PC format. (necessary because Mac stores fonts in a different format from the rest of the world.) (MSWin)

» Eddie Kohler’s t1utils convert PFA to and from PFB, convert PFA and PFB to and from readable/editable format, and convert PFA and PFB to and from Mac format. Multiple master tools mmafm & mmpfb can create an instance or a normal, single-master font. LCDF Typetools deal with Compact Font Format (CFF) fonts, or PostScript-flavored OpenType fonts.

» Nelson Beebe’s Notes on Fonts has lots of information about PS font files, utilities, and sources – including free fonts on the web.

» Luc Devroye is a font maven. His web site has hundreds of links to fonts (including freeware and shareware), font software, typography, and PS/PDF.

» Thomas W. Phinney discusses the technical and practical differences between PostScript Type 1 and TrueType fonts, including information on Multiple Master Fonts, OpenType, Unicode, and GX and AAT fonts. (PDF file)

» BarCode 1 has everything for barcodes. Info, specs, links, books, software, printer drivers. Barcode fonts are also available here.

» BarCodeWriter is a PS program which encodes and renders barcodes in many different formats.

» Andy Burns’s Gauge 88 is used around the world to visually gauge the size of type fonts. It’s written in PS–just print it on clear film.

PostScript Drawing

» Mayura Draw is a drawing program for creating and editing PS, EPS, AI, and WMF illustrations. Point-and-click to choose line width and color; draw rectangles, ellipses, polygons, and bezier curves; insert bitmaps and text; move, rotate, reflect, and skew. Exports to EPS, PS, AI, PDF, WMF, BMP, TIF, GIF, JPEG, and SVG formats. Formerly named PageDraw. (MSWindows)

» GIMP is the impressively versatile GNU Image Manipulation Program, able to create, edit, and convert images in a variety of formats, including PS and EPS. (Unix/X11, OS/2, Win95/NT)

» InkScape is a vector graphics editor with output to SVG, PS, EPS, PDF, and PNG. (Linux, Win, Mac, or you compile)

» Metapost is a programming language for creating PS technical illustrations (graphs, curves, diagrams) with graphics and text. (Unix, OS/2, Win95/NT, DOS, Mac)

» GraphViz is a programming language for creating structural graphs (flow, network), manually or automatically, with PS and SVG output. (Unix, Win, Mac, or compile your own)

» PSTricks is a (La)TeX package which allows you to use the major part of PostScript capabilities inside (La)TeX.

Many other free PostScript graphics programs are available as well as commercial programs.

Encapsulated PostScript (EPS)

» EPS FAQ – Giving all the answers on what EPS is, if its printable, how to make it and what OPI and DCS is!

» ImportPS imports a single page of PS or PDF as a vector graphic into MSOffice or any program that supports the Aldus interface.  (MSWin; requires Ghostscript and GSView to run)

» Importing EPS into Word gives help on importing EPS illustrations into a Word document

» PS to EPS explains how to convert a one-page PS file to EPS, using only a text editor. And the other way around, extract EPS from PS

» EPSMerge and EPSSplit – Merge multiple EPS graphics into one EPS graphic, or split one EPS into smaller pieces. (Unix; requires Perl to run)

» EPStool – Create or extract preview images in EPS files, fix bounding boxes and convert to bitmaps.

GhostScript – A PostScript and PDF interpreter

Do you want to..

  • ..view PostScript files, but your computer can’t?
  • ..view PS files on the web, but don’t have a plug-in for your browser?
  • ..print PostScript files, but don’t have a PostScript printer?
  • ..view and print a PDF file, but don’t have a PDF reader?
  • ..create a PDF file, but don’t have a distiller?

Ghostscript can do all that and also do it for free!  Go to the GhostScript page to find the resources you need!

Other PostScript Web Resources

» Don Lancaster has long championed PostScript as “an unappreciated yet superb general purpose computing language”. His website is a library of PS and PDF info, instruction, programs, utilities, and “secrets”.  Lots of stuff here!

» has essays about PostScript and how to program it, including techniques and resources for the programmer.

» Randolph J. Herber has a page of advice, “How to use Adobe PostScript language files properly.”

» Herb Weiner’s collection of PostScript Quick Tips includes a utility for printing samples of fonts, how to permanently download PS code to your printer, converting PS to EPS, creating a mirror-image font, putting a message (“watermark”) in the document background, and printing ransom notes.

» Graham Freeman’s Quikscript is a PS program for setting type, using Qse as a user interface. Geneal is a PS program for drawing genealogy charts.

» Peter Kleiweg has tips for adding depth to type, rotating a character with drop-shadow, editing PS with Emacs, X Fonts, adding an arrowhead to a curved line, creative typesetting and generating Fractals.

» Frank Siegert has developed PStill, a PS-to-PDF converter for MSWin,Mac, Unix/Linux. Frank’s PS program calculates pi to over a quarter-million decimal places.

» ToastScript is a level-1 PostScript interpreter written entirely in Java, which makes it attractive for Internet and intranet use. You can download it and use it as a a PS Web Browser to view PS files on the web. Or if you have a PS file on your website, you can use ToastScript as a Java applet which makes the PS file viewable by anyone with a Java-enabled web browser. (Ghostscript isn’t involved here, merely free Java software from Sun.)

» Jeffrey Kingston developed Lout, which produces PS and PDF from a text file marked up with Lout format tags. Many features, including equation formatting, multilingual hyphenation, tables, eps figures, indexing, and cross-referencing.

» Lilypond, the GNU music typesetter, can convert a text file to sheet music in PS. The site also has links to similar software. Mup is easier to install and use. You enter an ASCII text file and get midi files and PostScript sheet music. (MS-Dos, Unix, Linux, or compile your own) Shareware: Free download, (US Dollars) $29 to register. See also Peter Billam’s Muscript, a Perl program for typesetting music in PS.

» Paul Wessel has GMT, which produces EPS illustrations from (x,y) and (x,y,z) data sets, from simple x-y plots through contour maps to artificially illuminated surfaces and 3-D perspective views in color. This huge, powerful package is free (Unix/Linux, Mac OSX, MSWin, OS/2).

PostScript is a trademark of Adobe Systems Inc. Other trademarks mentioned here are the property of their respective owners.

The information in this webpage is based on postings by many persons to the newsgroup comp.lang.postscript and email from viewers of this page.  The information is believed to be reasonably accurate and timely, although links may quickly become obsolete, companies merge, websites disappear, and prices change.  No product mentioned herein is endorsed or guaranteed.  Links are provided “as is” with no warranty, express or implied, for the information provided within them.