How to install Ghostscript

Table of contents

For other information, see the Ghostscript overview and "How to build Ghostscript from source code".

Overview of how to install Ghostscript

You must have three things to run Ghostscript:

  1. The Ghostscript executable file; on some operating systems, more than one file is required. These are entirely platform-specific. See below for details.
  2. Initialization files that Ghostscript reads in when it starts up; these are the same on all platforms.
  3. Fonts, for rendering text. These are platform-independent, but if you already have fonts of the right kind on your platform, you may be able to use those. See below for details. Also see the documentation on fonts.

The usage documentation describes the search algorithms used to find initialization files and font files. The per-platform descriptions that follow tell you where to install these files.

Installing Ghostscript on Unix

Ghostscript uses a GNU autoconf-based configure, build and install method common to many modern software packages. In general the following with suffice to build ghostscript:

and then it may be installed in the default location with:
make install
This last command may need to be performed with super user privileges.

You can set the installation directory by adding --prefix=path to the configure invocation in the first step. The default prefix is /usr/local, which is to say the gs executable is installed as /usr/local/bin/gs.

A list of similar configuration options is available via ./configure --help

For more detailed information on building Ghostscript see how to build Ghostscript on Unix in the documentation on building Ghostscript, especially regarding information on using the older hand edited makefile approach. Whatever configuration method you use, execute "make install" to install the executable and all the required and ancillary files after the build is complete.


The makefile installs all the files except fonts under the directory defined in the makefile as prefix. Fonts need to be installed separately. The fonts should be installed in {prefix}/share/ghostscript/fonts. (That is, /usr/local/share/ghostscript/fonts/ if you used the default configuration above.)

You can have ghostscript use other fonts on your system by adding entries to the fontmap or adding the directories to the GS_FONTMAP environment variable. See the usage documentation for more information. For example, many GNU/Linux distributions place fonts under /usr/share/fonts.

Ghostscript as a shared object

If you've built Ghostscript as a shared object, instead of 'make install', you must use 'make soinstall'. See how to build Ghostscript as a shared object for more details.

Additional notes on GNU/Linux

For GNU/Linux, you may be able to install or upgrade Ghostscript from precompiled RPM files using:

rpm -U ghostscript-N.NN-1.i386.rpm
rpm -U ghostscript-fonts-N.NN-1.noarch.rpm

However, please note that we do not create RPMs for Ghostscript, and we take no responsibility for RPMs created by others.

Installing Ghostscript on MS Windows

We usually distribute Ghostscript releases for Windows as self-extracting archive files, since this is the most convenient form for users. These files can also be unpacked as if they were plain zip files.

The self-extracting archive is normally named gs###w32.exe, where ### is the release number (e.g., 650 for Ghostscript 6.50, 700 for Ghostscript 7.00).

Windows 95/98 and NT 4

To install a self-extracting Ghostscript archive on Windows 95/98 or Windows NT4/2000, you need just this self-extracting archive file. Run this file to install Ghostscript.

Alternatively, if you have the zip file, unzip it to a temporary directory then run the included setupgs.exe. After the setup program has finished, remove the temporary files.

General Windows configuration

The archive includes files in these subdirectories:


The actual executable files, in the gs#.##\bin subdirectory, are:

GSWIN32.EXE   32-bit Ghostscript using windows
GSWIN32C.EXE   32-bit Ghostscript using only the command line
GSDLL32.DLL   32-bit dynamic link library containing most of Ghostscript's functionality

See "Installing Ghostscript on DOS" below for information about using Adobe Type Manager, Adobe Type Basics, or Adobe Acrobat fonts. If your system uses TrueType fonts, you can get them converted to a Ghostscript-compatible format at the time you select your "printer" by doing the following:

  1. Open control panel and double-click on the "Printers" icon.
  2. Select your Postscript printer.
  3. Choose Setup.
  4. Choose Options.
  5. Choose Advanced.
  6. At the top of the dialog box you will see TrueType Fonts Send to Printer As: Choose (drop-down menu) Adobe Type 1.
  7. Uncheck Use Printer Fonts for All TrueType Fonts and Use Substitution Table.
  8. OK.
  9. OK etc.

That's it! Your TrueType fonts will automatically be downloaded in your PostScript file for Ghostscript to use.

For printer devices, the default output is:

The default printer     Win95 or WinNT
Prompt for a printer port   Win32s (Windows 3.1)

This can be modified as follows.

Output to the named port.
-sOutputFile="%printer%printer name" (Windows 95, 98, NT or 2000)
Output to the named printer. If your printer is named "HP DeskJet 500" then you would use -sOutputFile="%printer%HP DeskJet 500".
-sOutputFile="\\spool\printer name" (Windows 3.1/Win32s)
Output to the named printer. Note that this is NOT a UNC name.

If Ghostscript fails to find an environment variable, it looks for a registry value of the same name under the key

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\GNU Ghostscript\#.##

or if that fails, under the key


where #.## is the Ghostscript version number. This does not work under Win32s (that is, Windows 3.1, which doesn't support named registry values).

Ghostscript will attempt to load the Ghostscript dynamic link library GSDLL32.DLL in the following order:

The Ghostscript setup program will create registry values for the environment variables GS_LIB and GS_DLL.

Uninstalling Ghostscript on Windows

To uninstall Ghostscript, use the Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs and remove "Ghostscript #.##" and "Ghostscript Fonts". (The entries may be called "Aladdin Ghostscript" or some other specifier rather than just "Ghostscript", depending on what version of Ghostscript was installed.)

Installing Ghostscript on OpenVMS

You need the file GS.EXE to run Ghostscript on OpenVMS, and installing Ghostscript on an OpenVMS system requires building it first: please read how to build Ghostscript on VMS in the documentation on building Ghostscript.

The following installation steps assume that the Ghostscript directory is DISK1:[DIR.GHOSTSCRIPT]. Yours will almost certainly be in a different location so adjust the following commands accordingly.

If you have DECWindows/Motif installed, you may wish to replace the FONTMAP.GS file with FONTMAP.VMS. Read the comment at the beginning of the latter file for more information.

Installing Ghostscript on DOS

You need the files GS386.EXE and DOS4GW.EXE to run Ghostscript. You should install all the files except the fonts in C:\GS, and the fonts in C:\GS\FONTS.

If you have Adobe Type Manager (ATM) fonts installed on your system, and you wish to use them with Ghostscript, you may wish to replace the FONTMAP file with FONTMAP.ATM, and to add to the environment variable GS_LIB the name of the directory where the fonts are located (see below for more information about GS_LIB). Before you do this, please read carefully the license that accompanies the ATM fonts; we take no responsibility for any possible violations of such licenses. Similarly, if you have Adobe Type Basics, you may wish to replace FONTMAP with FONTMAP.ATB. Finally, if you have neither ATM nor ATB but you have Adobe Acrobat installed, you can use the Acrobat fonts in place of the ones provided with Ghostscript by adding the Acrobat fonts directory to GS_FONTPATH and removing these fonts from FONTMAP:

Courier, Courier-Bold, Courier-BoldOblique, Courier-Oblique, Helvetica, Helvetica-Bold, Helvetica-BoldOblique, Helvetica-Oblique, Symbol, Times-Bold, Times-BoldItalic, Times-Italic, Times-Roman, ZapfDingbats

Installing Ghostscript on OS/2 2.x

The Ghostscript OS/2 implementation is designed for OS/2 2.1 or later. A few people have used it successfully under OS/2 2.0, but it has had very little testing. You need these files to run Ghostscript on OS/2:

GSOS2.EXE     A text application that will run windowed or full screen
GSDLL2.DLL   A dynamic link library that must be in the same directory as GSOS2.EXE or on the LIBPATH.
GSPMDRV.EXE   An "external driver" used by the "os2pm" device, which is normally the default device and which displays output in a Presentation Manager window; GSPMDRV.EXE must be located in the same directory as GSOS2.EXE or on the PATH

GSOS2.EXE, GSDLL2.DLL and GSPMDRV.EXE are compiled using EMX/GCC 0.9d. You must have the EMX DLLs on your LIBPATH; they are available in a package from many places on the Internet, so you can find the package by using a search engine or an ftp lookup service such as the one at

The system menu of the Ghostscript Image window includes a "Copy" command to copy the currently displayed bitmap to the Clipboard.

OS/2 comes with some Adobe Type Manager fonts. If you wish to use these with Ghostscript, you should replace the FONTMAP file with FONTMAP.OS2, and add to the environment variable GS_LIB (see below for more information about GS_LIB) the name of the directory where the fonts are located, usually C:\PSFONTS. Before you do this, please read carefully the license that accompanies the ATM fonts; we take no responsibility for any possible violations of such licenses.

Since GSOS2.EXE is not a PM application, it cannot determine the depth of the PM display. You must provide this information using the -dBitsPerPixel option. Valid values are 1, 4, 8 (the default), and 24.

Use      For

-dBitsPerPixel=1   VGA monochrome
-dBitsPerPixel=4   VGA standard
-dBitsPerPixel=8   SVGA 256 colors

A command file gspm.cmd containing the following line may be useful:

@c:\gs\gsos2.exe -Ic:/gs;c:/gs/fonts;c:/psfonts -sDEVICE=os2pm -dBitsPerPixel=8 -sPAPERSIZE=a4 %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8

While drawing, the os2pm driver updates the display every 5 seconds. On slow computers this is undesirable, and a different interval can be specified in milliseconds with the -dUpdateInterval option, with a default of -dUpdateInterval=5000; to disable update, use -dUpdateInterval=0.

Standard VGA is very slow because it uses double buffering to avoid bugs and because of 1-plane to 4-plane conversion; it's better to use a 256-color display driver. Many display drivers have bugs which cause 1 bit-per-pixel bitmaps to be displayed incorrectly.

GSOS2.EXE and GSPMDRV.EXE will stay in memory for the number of minutes specified in the environment variable GS_LOAD.

If you run GS386 in the OS/2 2.0 or 2.1 DOS box, you must select the "ENABLED" setting for the DPMI_DOS_API option of the DOS box. GS386 will not run with the "AUTO" setting.

For printer devices, output goes to the default queue. To print to a specified queue, use -sOutputFile=\\spool\NullLPT1, where NullLPT1 is the queue's physical name.

Copyright © 1996, 2000 Aladdin Enterprises. All rights reserved.

This software is provided AS-IS with no warranty, either express or implied. This software is distributed under license and may not be copied, modified or distributed except as expressly authorized under the terms of the license contained in the file LICENSE in this distribution.

Ghostscript version 7.07, 17 May 2003