Overview of Ghostscript
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:
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 History7.htm), for changes in other releases.
What if I'm a developer?
If you are going to do any development on or with Ghostscript at all, you
should at least look at
If you are going to write a new driver for Ghostscript, you should read
If you intend to use Ghostscript in the form of a dynamic link library
(DLL) under OS/2 or Microsoft Windows or in the form of shared object
under GNU/Linux, 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
GNU Ghostscript has a home page on the World Wide Web with helpful
information. Pleave visit:
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.
- On MS-Windows and OS/2, Ghostscript is compiled as a dynamic
link library (DLL). On GNU/Linux, Ghostscript can be compiled as
a shared object. This describes how to use it.
- 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.
- Usage of features to support CJK CID-keyed fonts in Ghostscript.
- Note providing information on utilization of CJK (Chinese,
Japanese and Korean) TrueType fonts as CIDFontType2 fonts from the
viewpoint of its validity and limitations.
- 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.
For developers. This DLL interface is obsolete.
Use API.htm instead.
- Code orientation for developers. Contains a detailed breakdown of
the source files by functional group, and overviews of the major
architectural features and services.
- 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:
History7.htm for Ghostscript versions 7.n
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
- A list of outstanding open issues in Ghostscript. These include
known limitations, minor bugs, performance issues, differences from
Adobe implementations, and others.
- 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
- The guidelines and style for postscript coding in Ghostscript. Some
of Ghostscript is implemented in the postscript language itself, and
various utilities and examples are distributed with it. You should
follow these guidelines if you're extending or modifying those files.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
This software is provided AS-IS with no warranty, either express or
This software is distributed under license and may not be copied,
modified or distributed except as expressly authorized under the terms
of the license contained in the file LICENSE in this distribution.
Ghostscript version 7.07, 17 May 2003