GS(1)                              Ghostscript                             GS(1)

       gs - Ghostscript (PostScript and PDF language interpreter and previewer)

       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 Format
       (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 and output to an output device (may be a file or an X11 window
       preview, see below). 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
       information. 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 specify a particular device, Ghostscript normally opens the
       first one of those and directs output to it.

       If built with X11 support, often the default device is an X11 window
       (previewer), else ghostscript will typically use the bbox device and
       print on stdout the dimension of the postscript file.

       So if the first one in the list is the one you want to use, just issue
       the command


       You can also check the set of available devices from within Ghostscript:
       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

       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 "", use the


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


       Each resulting file receives one page of output, and the files are
       numbered 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
       systems, 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 Ghostscript,

            gs -sDEVICE=bbox

       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"
              operator) 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
              supplied 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
              -dDEVICEYRESOLUTION=number2.  This is for the benefit of devices
              such as printers that support multiple X and Y resolutions.  If
              only one number 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
              interactively 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 "" makes "systemdict"
       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 definitions in
       "userdict" or other dictionaries.)

              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.

              Restricts file operations the job can perform.  Strongly
              recommended for spoolers, conversion scripts or other sensitive
              environments where a badly written or malicious PostScript program
              code must be prevented from changing important files.

              Leaves "systemdict" writable.  This is necessary when running
              special utility programs, but is strongly discouraged as it
              bypasses normal Postscript security measures.

              Selects an alternate initial output device, as described above.

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

       The -dSAFER option disables the "deletefile" and "renamefile" operators
       and prohibits opening piped commands ("%pipe%cmd"). Only "%stdout" and
       "%stderr" can be opened for writing. It also disables reading from files,
       except for "%stdin", files given as a command line argument, and files
       contained in paths given by LIBPATH and FONTPATH or specified by the
       system params /FontResourceDir and /GenericResourceDir.

       This mode also sets the .LockSafetyParams parameter of the initial output
       device to protect against programs that attempt to write to files using
       the OutputFile device parameter. Since the device parameters specified on
       the command line, including OutputFile, are set prior to SAFER mode, use
       of "-sOutputFile=..." on the command line is unrestricted.

       SAFER mode prevents changing the /GenericResourceDir, /FontResourceDir,
       /SystemParamsPassword, and /StartJobPassword.

       While SAFER mode is not the default, it is the default for many wrapper
       scripts such as ps2pdf and may be the default in a subsequent release of
       Ghostscript.  Thus when running programs that need to open files or set
       restricted parameters you should pass the -dNOSAFER command line option
       or its synonym -dDELAYSAFER.

       When running with -dNOSAFER it is possible to perform a "save" followed
       by ".setsafe", execute a file or procedure in SAFER mode, and then use
       "restore" to return to NOSAFER mode.  In order to prevent the save object
       from being restored by the foreign file or procedure, the ".runandhide"
       operator should be used to hide the save object from the restricted

       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 details.

              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 any;

       3.  the directories specified by the GS_LIB_DEFAULT macro in the
           Ghostscript makefile when the executable was built.  When gs is built
           on Unix, GS_LIB_DEFAULT is usually
           where "#.##" represents 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 options

              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 display
              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

       The various Ghostscript document files (above), especially Use.htm.

       See and the Usenet news group

       This document was last revised for Ghostscript version 9.25.

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

9.25                            13 September 2018                          GS(1)