ghostscript is an interpreter for files in PostScript and PDF format and can create, print, convert, photograph or simply display these files on the monitor for reading.
PostScript interpreter for printer and monitor
Ghostscript converts PDF, EPS, and PostScript/PS files into bitmaps, prepares them for screen viewing, and prints them if desired. The Artifex program also converts a PostScript file into a PDF document or image. The documents and images created with Ghostscript also serve as the basis for other PDF converters and printers.
The editing of documents takes place with Ghostscript on the command line. If this is too cumbersome for you, you can use graphical user interfaces like GSView or GhostView.
► Instructions: Creating PDF files with Ghostscript
Create and view PDF files manually
The command line program Ghostscript is regarded as one of the most popular open source programs and creates documents in PDF format via the Windows command prompt or in the Linux terminal. For this the source file must be in PS format and can be opened with the Linux command
gs -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=(Zieldatei.pdf) (Quelldatei.ps)
into a PDF file. About the Linux command
gs -dBATCH (PDF-Datei)
can output an existing PDF display, which can be a help if no PDF reader such as Foxit Reader or Adobe Acrobat Reader is installed.
Ghostview as a help tool
Users usually do not have to deal with the command line. For them, the open source software Ghostscript is a help tool that is used, for example, by the freeware FreePDF to save documents as PDFs under Windows. FreePDF installs itself as a printer and uses Ghostscript to create a PDF of the document.
Ghostscript for printing and photography
Ghostview is not limited to the creation of PDF files. The open source freeware can output a source file in PostScript or PDF format to various printers. The option “-sDEVICE=(device)” on the command line is responsible for this. Numerous printers can be entered as devices. The permitted devices are listed after “Available devices:” after calling the command gs -h. But not only printers can be found here. Thus, image files can also be created from a file in PostScript or PDF format if the device is, for example, “tiff24nc”, “png16m” or “bmp16m”. However, depending on the image format, only one page may be converted as an image. With the TIFF format they are all, but then the used image viewer must be able to display them all, which is the case for example with the document viewer under Ubuntu.
If you use Ghostscript under Windows, you have to use the commands “gswin32.exe” or “gswin32c.exe” instead of “gs”. For example, after installing version 9.19, you are in the directory “C:Program Files (x86)gsgs9.19bin”. On Windows, the command at the command prompt to display a PDF document is
"Program Files (x86)gsgs9.19bingswin32c.exe" -dBATCH (PDF-Datei)
And to create a PDF file from a PS file, you can use
"Program Files (x86)gsgs9.19bingswin32c.exe" -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=(Zieldatei.pdf) (Quelldatei.ps)
at the command prompt.
It is also possible to reduce the file size of a PDF file.
"Program Files (x86)gsgs9.19bingswin32c.exe" -dNOPAUSE
-dBATCH -dCompressPages=true -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=(Zieldatei.pdf) (Quelldatei.pdf)
Open source software for Linux and Windows
Ghostscript is licensed under the open source GPL (GNU General Public Licence) and can be used free of charge under Windows and Linux. During the installation under Windows an older version of Ghostscript will not be uninstalled and should therefore be removed manually before the installation. Under Linux, Ghostscript may already be present as with Ubuntu.
In addition to the installation version, there is a portable version that also converts PostScript files and displays them for reading. From the source code files the makers of PartableApps.com create the portable version of Ghostscript, which can also be used free of charge.
Commercial use including support from the manufacturer is possible with a commercial license from Artifex.