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Information, tips and instructions

PS and EPS Files

PostScript (PS) file format and language is used to distribute print-ready documents. From 1985 to 2000 PostScript language was used by most laser printers as a primary format of information transfer between computer and printer. Laser printers at that time had a component responsible for interpreting PostScript language and rendering it into printer specific raster page representation. With improvement of personal computer speed this component became redundant since there was enough computing power on a computer to render the page prior to sending it to the printer.

Currently most lower end printers don’t use PostScript for their rendering purposes. Instead PCL or other page definition languages are used. PCL for example has much better speed than PostScript and doesn’t need dedicated hardware installed on a printer. But at the same time PostScript prints will have better image quality and color representation. Also, PostScript language is platform independent and would work on printer attached to a device with different operating systems. PCL printers typically require a driver specific for each operating system.

Typically, documents are not distributed in PS format as it is used as an intermediary language to transfer information to printers. Still some documents may be available in PS only format. In this case you can use following software packages to view PS files:

  • Ghostviewer – free open-source interpreter of PostScript and PDF languages
  • Zathura – free document viewer capable of rendering PostScript, PDF, DjVu and EPub.
  • Pstoedit – free tool by Wolfgang Glunz which can interpret and render PostScript and PDF to various other file formats.

Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) file format was created to distribute PostScript documents as graphics files. Typically, EPS files are used to transfer vector images between different applications and platforms. EPS file contains a PostScript program responsible for rendering a vector image stored inside. EPS is one of the common file formats which Adobe Illustrator supports and could be used complementary or instead of AI files.