Ghostscript Documentation

The documents below are from Ghostscript 4.03. If you have a copy of Ghostscript 4.03, you will have these documents. The latest version of these files can be obtained with Ghostscript from

What if I'm a new user?

If you are a new user of Ghostscript, you should start by reading:

information specifically for new users.
Then read as many of the following as seem relevant:
information about how install Ghostscript.
information about how to install and use Ghostscript. This information is also contained in gs.1 - a `man' page for Ghostscript.
The catalog at the beginning of devs.mak, which lists all the devices for which Ghostscript is able to produce output (although if you got Ghostscript in binary form, it will only include a subset of these devices).
more detailed information about specific devices that Ghostscript knows about.
ps2epsi.txt, unix-lpr.txt
more detailed information about some of the shell scripts and batch files distributed with Ghostscript.
If you have Aladdin Ghostscript, as opposed to the GNU Ghostscript releases distributed by the Free Software Foundation, you should read (or at least skim through):
additional information about Aladdin Ghostscript releases that is not relevant to GNU Ghostscript releases.
If you are going to compile Ghostscript, rather than just use an executable you got from somewhere, you should read:
how to install, compile and link Ghostscript.
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:
information about the fonts distributed with Ghostscript, including how to add or replace fonts.
A description of the Ghostscript language, and its differences from the documented PostScript language.
information about the .ps files distributed with Ghostscript (other than fonts).
There is also a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) file available on the Internet from

What should I read if I'm not a new user?

When you receive a new release of Ghostscript, you should start by reading:
The first file to read
The Aladdin Enterprises Free Public License, under which Aladdin Ghostscript is distributed.
information about problems, and major changes and new features in the current release. If you have used a previous release of Ghostscript, you probably should also read any more recent sections of:
a complete, detailed history of changes in the most recent Ghostscript releases.

What if I'm a developer?

If you are going to be writing a new driver for Ghostscript, you should read:
the interface between Ghostscript and device drivers.
the interface between Ghostscript and platform-supplied fonts. (Read drivers.txt first.)
If you are considering distributing Ghostscript (either Aladdin or GNU versions) in conjunction with a commercial product, you should read the PUBLIC license carefully, and you should also read:
additional clarification of the circumstances under which Ghostscript can be distributed with a commercial product.
If you intend to use Ghostscript in the form of a DLL under OS/2 or Microsoft Windows, you should read:
documentation on Ghostscript as a DLL.
If you intend to use Ghostscript as part of another program and not as a DLL, rather than as a self-contained executable application, you should start by reading:
the documented API for Ghostscript not as a DLL.

Other files

notes on the architecture of device handling in Ghostscript 3.0.
documentation for the PostScript to EPSI conversion utility.
a note of thanks to all the people who have helped with Ghostscript development.
information about the Hershey fonts, which are the basis of some of the Ghostscript fonts.
history1.txt, history2.txt, history3.txt
a history of changes in older Ghostscript releases.
a humorous comment on Ghostscript contributed by a user.
information about the Ghostscript library.
information about how to integrate Ghostscript with Unix printer spooling.

Updated 07 October 1996 Russell Lang