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man pages section 1: User Commands

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Updated: July 2017

gs (1)


gs - viewer)


gs [ options ] [ files ] ... (Unix, VMS)
gswin32c [ options ] [ files ] ... (MS Windows)
gswin32 [ options ] [ files ] ... (MS Windows 3.1)
gsos2 [ options ] [ files ] ... (OS/2)


GS(1)                             Ghostscript                            GS(1)

       gs  -  Ghostscript  (PostScript  and  PDF language interpreter and pre-

       gs [ options ] [ files ] ... (Unix, VMS)
       gswin32c [ options ] [ files ] ... (MS Windows)
       gswin32 [ options ] [ files ] ... (MS Windows 3.1)
       gsos2 [ options ] [ files ] ... (OS/2)

       The gs (gswin32c,  gswin32,  gsos2)  command  invokes  Ghostscript,  an
       interpreter of Adobe Systems' PostScript(tm) and Portable Document For-
       mat (PDF) languages.  gs reads "files" in sequence and executes them as
       Ghostscript programs. After doing this, it reads further input from the
       standard input stream (normally the keyboard), interpreting  each  line
       separately.  The  interpreter  exits  gracefully when it encounters the
       "quit" command (either in a file or from the keyboard), at end-of-file,
       or at an interrupt signal (such as Control-C at the keyboard).

       The  interpreter  recognizes  many  option  switches, some of which are
       described below. Please see the usage documentation for complete infor-
       mation.  Switches  may appear anywhere in the command line and apply to
       all files thereafter.  Invoking Ghostscript with the -h  or  -?  switch
       produces a message which shows several useful switches, all the devices
       known to that executable, and the search path for  fonts;  on  Unix  it
       also shows the location of detailed documentation.

       Ghostscript  may be built to use many different output devices.  To see
       which devices your executable includes, run "gs -h".  Unless you  spec-
       ify  a  particular  device, Ghostscript normally opens the first one of
       those and directs output to it, so if the first one in the list is  the
       one you want to use, just issue the command

            gs myfile.ps

       You  can  also  check  the  set of available devices from within Ghost-
       script: invoke Ghostscript and type

            devicenames ==

       but the first device on the resulting  list  may  not  be  the  default
       device  you determine with "gs -h".  To specify "AbcXyz" as the initial
       output device, include the switch


       For example, for output to an Epson printer you might use the command

            gs -sDEVICE=epson myfile.ps

       The "-sDEVICE=" switch must precede the first  mention  of  a  file  to
       print, and only the switch's first use has any effect.

       Finally,  you  can specify a default device in the environment variable
       GS_DEVICE.  The order of precedence for these alternatives from highest
       to lowest (Ghostscript uses the device defined highest in the list) is:

       Some devices can support different resolutions (densities).  To specify
       the resolution on such a printer, use the "-r" switch:

            gs -sDEVICE=<device> -r<xres>x<yres>

       For example, on a 9-pin Epson-compatible printer, you get  the  lowest-
       density (fastest) mode with

            gs -sDEVICE=epson -r60x72

       and the highest-density (best output quality) mode with

            gs -sDEVICE=epson -r240x72.

       If  you  select a printer as the output device, Ghostscript also allows
       you to choose where Ghostscript sends the output --  on  Unix  systems,
       usually  to  a temporary file.  To send the output to a file "foo.xyz",
       use the switch


       You might want to print each page separately.  To  do  this,  send  the
       output to a series of files "foo1.xyz, foo2.xyz, ..." using the "-sOut-
       putFile=" switch with "%d" in a filename template:


       Each resulting file receives one page of output, and the files are num-
       bered in sequence.  "%d" is a printf format specification; you can also
       use a variant like "%02d".

       On Unix and MS Windows systems you can also send output to a pipe.  For
       example,  to pipe output to the "lpr" command (which, on many Unix sys-
       tems, directs it to a printer), use the option


       Note that the '%' characters need to be doubled on MS Windows to  avoid
       mangling by the command interpreter.

       You can also send output to standard output:


       In  this  case  you must also use the -q switch, to prevent Ghostscript
       from writing messages to standard output.

       To select a specific paper size, use the command line switch


       for instance


       Most ISO and US paper sizes are recognized. See the usage documentation
       for  a  full  list,  or  the  definitions  in  the  initialization file

       Ghostscript can do many things other than print or view PostScript  and
       PDF  files.   For  example,  if  you want to know the bounding box of a
       PostScript (or EPS) file, Ghostscript provides a special "device"  that
       just prints out this information.

       For  example,  using  one  of the example files distributed with Ghost-

            gs -sDEVICE=bbox golfer.ps

       prints out

            %%BoundingBox: 0 25 583 732
            %%HiResBoundingBox: 0.808497 25.009496 582.994503 731.809445

       -- filename arg1 ...
              Takes the next argument as a file name as usual, but  takes  all
              remaining  arguments  (even  if  they have the syntactic form of
              switches) and defines the name "ARGUMENTS"  in  "userdict"  (not
              "systemdict")  as  an array of those strings, before running the
              file.  When Ghostscript finishes executing the  file,  it  exits
              back to the shell.

              Define  a  name  in "systemdict" with the given definition.  The
              token must be exactly one token (as defined by the "token" oper-
              ator) and may contain no whitespace.

       -dname Define a name in "systemdict" with value=null.

              Define  a  name  in  "systemdict"  with a given string as value.
              This is different from -d.  For example, -dname=35 is equivalent
              to the program fragment
                   /name 35 def
              whereas -sname=35 is equivalent to
                   /name (35) def

       -P     Makes  Ghostscript  to  look  first in the current directory for
              library files.  By default, Ghostscript no longer looks  in  the
              current  directory, unless, of course, the first explicitly sup-
              plied directory is "." in -I.  See also the INITIALIZATION FILES
              section  below,  and  bundled Use.htm for detailed discussion on
              search paths and how Ghostcript finds files.

       -q     Quiet startup: suppress normal startup messages, and also do the
              equivalent of -dQUIET.

              Equivalent  to -dDEVICEWIDTH=number1 and -dDEVICEHEIGHT=number2.
              This is for the benefit of devices (such as  X11  windows)  that
              require (or allow) width and height to be specified.

              Equivalent  to  -dDEVICEXRESOLUTION=number1 and -dDEVICEYRESOLU-
              TION=number2.  This is for the benefit of devices such as print-
              ers that support multiple X and Y resolutions.  If only one num-
              ber is given, it is used for both X and Y resolutions.

              Adds the designated list of  directories  at  the  head  of  the
              search path for library files.

       -      This  is  not really a switch, but indicates to Ghostscript that
              standard input is coming from a file or a pipe and not  interac-
              tively  from  the command line.  Ghostscript reads from standard
              input until it reaches end-of-file, executing it like any  other
              file, and then continues with processing the command line.  When
              the command line has been entirely processed, Ghostscript  exits
              rather than going into its interactive mode.

       Note  that  the  normal initialization file "gs_init.ps" makes "system-
       dict" read-only, so the values of names defined with -D, -d, -S, or  -s
       cannot be changed (although, of course, they can be superseded by defi-
       nitions in "userdict" or other dictionaries.)

              Causes individual character outlines to be loaded from the  disk
              the  first  time  they  are  encountered.  (Normally Ghostscript
              loads all the character outlines when it loads  a  font.)   This
              may  allow loading more fonts into RAM, at the expense of slower

              Disables character caching.  Useful only for debugging.

              Disables the "bind" operator.  Useful only for debugging.

              Suppresses the normal initialization of the output device.  This
              may be useful when debugging.

              Disables the prompt and pause at the end of each page.  This may
              be desirable for applications where another program  is  driving

              Disables  the  use  of fonts supplied by the underlying platform
              (for instance X Windows). This may be  needed  if  the  platform
              fonts look undesirably different from the scalable fonts.

              Disables  the  "deletefile"  and  "renamefile" operators and the
              ability to open files in any mode other  than  read-only.   This
              strongly  recommended  for spoolers, conversion scripts or other
              sensitive environments where a badly written or malicious  Post-
              Script  program  code  must be prevented from changing important

              Leaves "systemdict" writable.  This is  necessary  when  running
              special utility programs such as font2c and pcharstr, which must
              bypass normal PostScript access protection.

              Selects an alternate initial output device, as described above.

              Selects an alternate output file (or pipe) for the initial  out-
              put device, as described above.

       The  locations of many Ghostscript run-time files are compiled into the
       executable when it is built.  On Unix  these  are  typically  based  in
       /usr/local,  but  this may be different on your system.  Under DOS they
       are typically based in C:\GS, but may be elsewhere, especially  if  you
       install  Ghostscript  with GSview.  Run "gs -h" to find the location of
       Ghostscript documentation on your system, from which you can  get  more

              Startup files, utilities, and basic font definitions

              More font definitions

              Ghostscript demonstration files

              Diverse document files

       When  looking for the initialization files "gs_*.ps", the files related
       to fonts, or the file for the "run" operator, Ghostscript  first  tries
       to  open  the  file  with  the name as given, using the current working
       directory if no directory is specified.  If this fails,  and  the  file
       name  doesn't  specify  an  explicit  directory or drive (for instance,
       doesn't contain "/" on Unix systems or  "\"  on  MS  Windows  systems),
       Ghostscript tries directories in this order:

       1.  the  directories  specified  by the -I switches in the command line
           (see below), if any;

       2.  the directories specified by the GS_LIB  environment  variable,  if

       3.  the directories specified by the GS_LIB_DEFAULT macro in the Ghost-
           script makefile when the executable was built.  When gs is built on
           Unix,    GS_LIB_DEFAULT    is    usually   "/usr/local/share/ghost-
           script/#.##:/usr/local/share/ghostscript/fonts" where "#.##" repre-
           sents the Ghostscript version number.

       Each  of these (GS_LIB_DEFAULT, GS_LIB, and -I parameter) may be either
       a single directory or a list of directories separated by ":".

              String of options  to  be  processed  before  the  command  line

              Used to specify an output device

              Path names used to search for fonts

       GS_LIB Path names for initialization files and fonts

       TEMP   Where temporary files are made

       Ghostscript,  or  more  properly  the X11 display device, looks for the
       following resources under the program name "Ghostscript":

              The border width in pixels (default = 1).

              The name of the border color (default = black).

              The window size and placement, WxH+X+Y (default is NULL).

              The number of x  pixels  per  inch  (default  is  computed  from
              WidthOfScreen and WidthMMOfScreen).

              The  number  of  y  pixels  per  inch  (default is computed from
              HeightOfScreen and HeightMMOfScreen).

              Determines whether backing store is to be used for  saving  dis-
              play window (default = true).

       See  the  usage document for a more complete list of resources.  To set
       these resources on Unix, put them in a file such as "~/.Xresources"  in
       the following form:

            Ghostscript*geometry:     612x792-0+0
            Ghostscript*xResolution: 72
            Ghostscript*yResolution: 72

       Then merge these resources into the X server's resource database:

            % xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources

       See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:

       |Availability   | print/filter/ghostscript |
       |Stability      | Volatile                 |
       The various Ghostscript document files (above), especially Use.htm.

       See    http://bugs.ghostscript.com/   and   the   Usenet   news   group

       This document was last revised for Ghostscript version 9.00.

       Artifex Software, Inc. are  the  primary  maintainers  of  Ghostscript.
       Russell  J.  Lang,  gsview at ghostgum.com.au, is the author of most of
       the MS Windows code in Ghostscript.

       This    software    was    built    from    source     available     at
       https://java.net/projects/solaris-userland.    The  original  community
       source  was  downloaded  from    http://ghostscript.com/releases/ghost-

       Further information about this software can be found on the open source
       community website at http://ghostscript.com/.

9.00                           14 September 2010                         GS(1)