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Ghostscript is a suite of software based on an interpreter for Adobe Systems' PostScript and Portable Document Format (PDF) page description languages.



Ghostscript can be used as a raster image processor (RIP) for raster computer printers — for instance, as an input filter of line printer daemon — or as the RIP engine behind PostScript and PDF viewers.

Ghostscript can also be used as a file format converter, such as PostScript to PDF converter; this is often combined with a PostScript printer driver in "virtual printer" PDF creators.

As it takes the form of a language interpreter, Ghostscript can also be used as a general purpose programming environment.

Ghostscript has been ported to many operating systems, including Unix, Linux, Mac OS, OpenVMS, Microsoft Windows, MS-DOS, FreeDOS, OS/2, Atari TOS and AmigaOS.


Several graphical user interfaces have been written for use with Ghostscript which permit a user to view a PostScript or PDF file on screen, scroll, page forward and backward, and zoom the text as well as print single or multiple pages.

  • Ghostview runs under Unix/X11. Ghostview has an unusual (and arguably counter-intuitive) user interface feature: dragging the mouse over the image pans the image in the opposite direction (the mouse moves the viewport over the image, rather than the image underneath the viewport). The effect is similar to having invisible scroll bars all over the image and is approximately the opposite of panning in Google Maps and other applications.
  • gv runs under Unix/X11. gv is a visually improved version of Ghostview. Its behaviour is similar to Ghostview.
  • mgv runs under Unix/X11. It is a Motif based front-end to Ghostscript. It features a more conventional user interface, with regular menus, a toolbar, and scrollbars.
  • GSview runs under Microsoft Windows, OS/2, and UNIX-like operating systems. It is best known for its Windows and OS/2 versions. On UNIX it uses the GTK+ toolkit. Although under a public license, it also employs a nag screen to urge users to register so as to support the development of GSview. The registration fee is AUD$40. The latest version was released in November 2007. The Ghostscript documentation states, concerning its installation under Windows: “After installing Ghostscript, it is strongly recommended that you install the GSview previewer, which provides an easier to use graphical interface for Ghostscript.”[2]
  • PDF Blender is a cross-platform application that converts and merges documents to and from postscript and pdf formats.
  • Moonshiner is a graphical front-end for using Ghostscript to convert from PostScript to PDF, aiming to be a Linux work-alike for Adobe's Distiller.
  • KGhostView runs under Unix/X11. It is KDE3 port of Ghostview.
  • Okular runs under Unix/X11 and Microsoft Windows (using KDE4 for Windows). It is a KDE4 application.
  • PDFcreator runs under Microsoft Windows and creates a local printer

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