If this is your first contact with Ghostscript, before continuing here you
should read the documentation for new users,
where you'll find
The rest of this document is a roadmap to the Ghostscript documentation.
After looking through it, if you want to install Ghostscript and not only
use it, we recommend you read how to install
Ghostscript, and how to compile Ghostscript from
source code (which is necessary before installing it on Unix and VMS
Table of contents
Document roadmap by theme
What should I read if I'm a new user?
A new user of Ghostscript should begin by reading the material
specifically for new users, then as many of
these documents as seem useful:
- how to install Ghostscript
- how to use Ghostscript; some of this information
information also found in gs.1, the Unix
"man" page for Ghostscript.
- the catalogs at the beginning of devs.mak and
contrib.mak, which list all the devices for which
Ghostscript is able to produce output (although if you got Ghostscript in
binary form, it will only include some of these devices)
- detailed information about some specific
devices that Ghostscript knows about
- more detailed information about how to use Ghostscript under
Unix with lpr as a
filter for non-PostScript printers
- information about reporting problems -- but
remember that Ghostscript comes with NO WARRANTY and NO
AFPL Ghostscript and GNU Ghostscript
AFPL Ghostscript and GNU Ghostscript are
different releases. If you
have AFPL Ghostscript, not the GNU Ghostscript releases distributed by
the Free Software Foundation, you should
read (or at least skim through):
If you run into any questions, or if you are going to be using Ghostscript
extensively, you should at least skim, and probably eventually read:
Before building Ghostscript
If you are going to compile Ghostscript, rather than just use an executable
you got from somewhere, you should read:
What should I read if I'm not a new user?
If you have already used Ghostscript, when you receive a new release you
should begin by reading this file, then
- News.htm, for incompatible changes and new
features in the current release;
- Current.htm, for known problems in the
- if you wish, Changes.htm, for a detailed list
of changes in the current release;
- if you wish, History#.htm (currently History6.htm), for changes in other releases.
What if I'm a developer?
If you are going to write a new driver for Ghostscript, you should read
If you are considering distributing Ghostscript (either AFPL or GNU
versions) in conjunction with a commercial product, you should read the
license carefully, and you should also read
If you intend to use Ghostscript in the form of a dynamic link library
(DLL) under OS/2 or Microsoft Windows, read
If you want to use Ghostscript as part of another program -- as a callable
PostScript language interpreter -- and not as a DLL or as a self-contained
executable application, you should begin by reading
- the source file imain.h, the documented
API for Ghostscript not as a DLL
or if you are going to use only the Ghostscript graphics library,
What if I'm writing documentation?
If you are editing or adding to Ghostscript's existing documentation in
HTML format, or writing a new document, you should read
Presence on the World Wide Web
Ghostscript's home page
Ghostscript has a home page on the World Wide Web with helpful information
such as the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and a list of known problems
and workarounds for the current AFPL Ghostscript release (in the
"Obtaining" file for that release):
More material about Ghostscript can be found at
Adobe PostScript, Encapsulated
PostScript, and PDF reference documentation
Adobe makes a wealth of
technical documentation available over the Web, including the
PostScript Language Reference Manual (Third Edition); the
Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) Format Specification version 3, including
Encapsulated PostScript Interchange (EPSI)
PDF 1.3 specification; and the
Acrobat Distiller parameters documentation. Some of these documents
are also available at Adobe's ftp
site, but not necessarily under the same filenames.
Other material on the WWW
Much other material about Ghostscript is available on the World Wide Web,
both as web pages and as archived Usenet and mailing list discussions. Use
the well-known search engines to find such material.
There is a good manual for Ghostscript available in PDF form,
in English and German (and soon in Japanese), at:
There is a translation of the Ghostscript 'man' pages into Czech at:
Which document contains what?
Here is the list in alphabetic order of Ghostscript documentation,
with explanations of the contents.
- A form to fill out and a-meil to report a problem with AFPL
Ghostscript -- but remember that Ghostscript comes with NO WARRANTY
and NO SUPPORT. Please read the instructions before reporting a bug.
- Information about how to report problems with AFPL Ghostscript --
but remember that Ghostscript comes with NO WARRANTY and NO
SUPPORT. Please read this before reporting a problem.
- Guidelines and style for C coding, which you should follow
if, for example, you write a new driver or add or
change something in Ghostscript. For developers.
- A detailed list of all code changes in the current release or
pre-release, generated mechanically from the CVS logs. For developers.
- The conditions under which Ghostscript may be distributed in a
commercial context. See also the Aladdin Free Public
- A reminder that AFPL Ghostscript is governed NOT by
the Free Software Foundation's GNU
General Public License
but by the Aladdin Free Public License.
- Information specifically about the current release of Ghostscript.
See also the latest news of changes.
- On OS/2, MS Windows-16 and MS Windows-32 platforms, Ghostscript is
compiled as a dynamic link library (DLL). This describes how to use it.
- Detailed information about some specific devices for which Ghostscript
can produce output. Run "gs -h" to see which
devices a particular version of Ghostscript is built to use.
- Describes the interface between Ghostscript and device drivers. If
you do this, you should also read and use the C style
and coding guidelines. Necessary to develop a new driver. For
about fonts freely available for Ghostscript, and how to add and use new
fonts. Also describes how to use Ghostscript fonts as X Windows fonts. For
both users and developers.
- A note of thanks to people who have helped in the development of
- Part 1 of the five-part original Usenet distribution of the free
- The history of changes in all Ghostscript releases:
History6.htm for Ghostscript versions 6.n
History5.htm for Ghostscript versions 5.n
History4.htm for Ghostscript versions 4.n
History3.htm for Ghostscript versions 3.n
History2.htm for Ghostscript versions 2.n
History1.htm for Ghostscript versions 1.n
- The guidelines and style for HTML coding of Ghostscript's
documentation, which you should follow if, for example, you change existing
HTML documentation or write new documents. For writers and editors.
- Another Ghostscript interpreter.
- How to install Ghostscript. See also how to build
- The relationship between the Ghostscript interpreter and the
PostScript language as defined by Adobe.
- A description of the Ghostscript library, a set of procedures to
implement the graphics and filtering capabilities that are primitive
operations in the PostScript language and in Adobe Portable Document Format
(PDF). For developers.
- Assorted Ghostscript maintenance procedures. For developers.
- How to build Ghostscript executables from the source code. See also
how to install it. It's not necessary to be a highly
experienced developer to build or install Ghostscript, but some experience
- Essential information for new users of Ghostscript.
- A brief description of the latest release or pre-release of
Ghostscript, and a list of any incompatible changes in it. Changes in older
releases are described in the history files "History*.htm",
which are usually installed in the documentation directory. Run
"gs -h" to see where that is.
- A list of Ghostscript development projects with which we would like
- Detailed information on how to use Ghostscript through
ps2epsi to convert PostScript to Adobe
Encapsulated PostScript Interchange (EPSI) format.
- Detailed information on how to use Ghostscript through
ps2pdf to convert PostScript to Adobe
Portable Document Format (PDF).
- A description of the PostScript files (other than font files)
distributed with Ghostscript, including initialization routines, utility
programs, and sample printable files.
- The Aladdin Free Public License, which states the conditions for using
and redistributing AFPL Ghostscript.
- This document.
- A description of how to prepare and test a Ghostscript release. Of
interest only to developers who want to create new Ghostscript versions for
- A guide to the Ghostscript source code, for development and debugging.
- A short questionnaire to fill out if you would like to be notified of
new tester / beta releases.
- How to set up Ghostscript as a Unix lpr
- Detailed instructions on how to use Ghostscript, including such
matters as designating an output device; choosing a default paper size;
how Ghostscript finds files, including font files; how it uses environment
variables; notes on specific platforms, including the X Window System; and
- Ghostscript's external font interface to a host platform's
font-rendering mechanism, for developers.
Copyright © 1996, 2000 Aladdin Enterprises. All rights reserved.
This file is part of AFPL Ghostscript. See the
Aladdin Free Public License (the "License") for
full details of the terms of using, copying, modifying, and redistributing
Ghostscript version 6.50, 2 December 2000