Saturday, October 2, 2010

ps2pdf : Post Script to Portable Document Format Converter

PDF(Portable Document Format ) files have become very Popular medium of Information exchange in our daily lives . Most of the Email attachments , E books are now available as PDF files .

Advantages of PDF files being :

  •  They are Portable i.e. Compatible across Platforms

  •  Secure.

  •  Compact and small.

  •  Can be Created easily.

  •  Most of the web-browsers support it. 

Thus Converting your Postscript files into PDF ,you derive the above mentioned advantages . This task of converting your Postscript files to PDF is taken care by ps2pdf tool . Some versions of Open-office convert your Document files directly to PDF files. So,What is the use of ps2pdf ?

ps2pdf can process complex and difficult postscript files which Acrobat distiller fails to do. (Acrobat Distiller is a tool available for Windows and Mac platform users for converting Postscript files to PDF files).

Before going into the intricacies of ps2pdf tool, Let's explore

  •  What are Postscript files ?

  •  How they can be created? 

Postscript Files :

These are the files which are created when you try to print your document using Postscript Compatible printers . They come with .ps extension.

How to Create ?

Creation of Postscript files can be achieved by performing the following steps :

  • Open a Word Document , Write Information into it.

  • GO to File->Print

  • Select the option "Print to file"

  • Save the file Providing suitable name with .ps extension.

These files are directly created when printing through Postscript compatible printers. 

So,Here you are ready with your Postscript file .

ps2pdf is an important command-line tool (available for Linux Users )which achieves conversion of Postscript files to PDF files.


Basically the input to a ps2pdf tool is a Postscript file . ps2pdf uses a Postscript interpreter known as Ghost script which achieves the task of scanning the Postscript file and converting it to PDF . 
Ghostscript is a name of set of softwares which have the ability of Interpreting Postscript files and converting them to PDF files.

Online Conversion of Postscript to PDF files can be achieved by visiting :

ps2pdf is a command tool ,thus to execute it Open the Terminal.
ps2pdf has the following variations:

ps2pdf -  Convert PostScript to PDF using ghostscript.

ps2pdf12 - Convert PostScript to PDF 1.2 (Acrobat 3-and-later compatible) using ghostscript.

ps2pdf13 - Convert PostScript to PDF 1.3 (Acrobat 4-and-later compati-
ble) using ghostscript.

Syntax : 
ps2pdf [options...] {input.[e]ps|-} [output.pdf|-]
ps2pdf12 [options...] {input.[e]ps|-} [output.pdf|-]
ps2pdf13 [options...] {input.[e]ps|-} [output.pdf|-]

Options :( is Postscript file created)

ps2pdf -dParameterName : Uses Distiller Parameters using which you can edit the way PDF files are displayed .

ps2pdf -dcompatibilityLevel=1.3 : Compatible with 1.3 and higher versions of Adobe reader.Can use 1.2,1.3 and 1.4.

ps2pdf -dOptimize=true : Optimizies the PDF file for faster access.

ps2pdf -dEmbedAllFonts=true : Can choose the fonts in the PDF file.

ps2pdf -dUseFlateCompression=true : Helps in Shrinking large PDF files. Shrinks the PDF without distorting the contents.
You can Specify Five types target device for ypur PDF using PDFSETTINGS parameter :

/screen : Creates low resolution PDF for Monitor Display.

/ebook : Has Slightly higher resolution for Reading on Monitor or e-book readers.

/printer :PDF generated for Printing using a printer.

/prepress :PDF for high quality printing press.

/default :Can be used for all Output listed above.

ps2pdf -dPDFSETTINGS=/ebook


  •   Increased Flexibility of Usage.

  •   Is efficient.

  •   Fast and Secure .


ps2pdf is an important tool equipped with features better than any of the acrobat distillers. This tool  provides increased flexibility in usage which supports the idea of Open source and it's Freedom of Usage.

For more Clarifications ,Suggestions ,Comments do feel free to leave a comment or mail me at

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