How to read and print postscript (.ps) files

Obtaining Ghostscript and Ghostview

You can read .ps files using ghostscript in many platforms. In PCs you need what you need is Aladdin Ghostscript.
Here is a link with information and links for all platforms: http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/

If you are using win95/win3.1/winNT (win 3.1 must be in win32 mode) you can download this file which includes both gsview and ghostscript 5.50: ftp://ftp.cs.wisc.edu/ghost/aladdin/gs550/gsv27550.exe

Ghostscript is the command line utility, interpreter thing, and gsview is the user interface, which uses ghostscript. If you download the file you have practically everything you need. But if you go for other platforms, you need to download them seperately, just follow the instructions in the following web page.

The file is a win32 file but in the next link you can find a win16 version (for old win 3.x without win32 support)

Use this link to obtain the latest versions for other platforms: unix, ms-dos, os/2, mac etc. http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/aladdin/get550.html

Reading postscript files is very important, and you should be able to download and print them as soon as we post them on the web page.

Printing Documents

In gsview you need to select a printer. They support most of the printers in market but you may not find a printer exactly matching yours. In this case just check which protocols are supported by your printer and try to find one using the same protocol. For example if it supports pcl5 (developed and used by HP) you can select any printer which also requires pcl5 like laserjet. If your printer is not supported, you can at least select one of the image formats instead of a printer (jpeg, pcx, tiff etc.). Note that mono versions are better for mono documents and jpeg will result in the smallest image size but may have slightly lower quality (lossy compression). In order to write the pages as images you must select "print to file", and read the image(s) with your favorite imaging program, and print. Note that for images, you can select 72dpi or higher. If you select a higher resolution, probably, the image will not fit your screen but will result in better results in printing if you have decent drivers and programs. Saving the images as pages requires dealing with single images for each page thus it is best to find a printer in the list that works with yours, most of the time there may be more than one possibility. If your printer can handle 600dpi, and if you can find two printers in the list matching yours with say, 300 dpi max and 150dpi max, the reasonable choice is the 300dpi one.

Converting to PDF format

You can use ghostscript to convert ps files to pdf files (Adobe Acrobat Reader may read those). PDF format is also a popular format and it may be desirable to convert .ps files to .pdf format in some cases. The ghostscript includes a batch file or a script "ps2pdf" to do this. It works correctly in most platforms but unfortunately in win95/98 or Dos you need to make a slight modification. The problem is that the batch file refers to a file "gs.exe" but the corresponding file is named differently in those platforms (there is an environment variable handling this in WinNt, thus no problem in this OS). For example in Win32 (win95/98, win31) it is named "gswin32c.exe". (c stands for console version). You can just copy this file as gs.exe or modify the batch file but do not rename the file as some components may use it (gswin32.exe is definitely used by gsview). In Dos version, the file should be gs386.exe or something like this...

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.