Ghostscript Overview

Ghostscript is an interpreter for the PostScript®  language and PDF files. It is available under either the GNU GPL Affero license or  licensed for commercial use from Artifex Software, Inc. It has been under active development for over 30 years and has been ported to several different systems during this time. Ghostscript consists of a PostScript interpreter layer and a graphics library.

There are a family of other products, including GhostPCL, GhostPDF, and GhostXPS that are built upon the same graphics library. Between them, this family of products offers native rendering of all major page description languages. Our latest product, GhostPDL, pulls all these languages into a single executable.

Full descriptions of these products can be found here.

In addition to rendering to raster formats, Ghostscript offers high-level conversion through our vector output devices.

Written entirely in C, Ghostscript runs on various embedded operating systems and platforms including Windows, macOS, the wide variety of Unix and Unix-like platforms, and VMS systems.

Current Release

The current Ghostscript release 9.54.0 can be downloaded here.

NEW in this Release

  • Overprint simulation: all output devices are now capable of simulating overprinting and spot colors, regardless of the capabilities of the target device. In prior versions of Ghostscript, only specific devices could provide proper rendering of overprinting and its interactions with spot colors. With this option, Ghostscript will if necessary make use of an intermediate buffer to render any overprint/spot color content, prior to sending the data to the target device. See  Overprint
  • docxwrite: We’ve added the ability to output to the Microsoft Word “docx” format with our newly implemented “docxwrite” device. This is not a third-party library and will be more fully developed over time. See docxwrite
  • Map Text to Black: Ghostscript now includes a “map text to black” function, where text drawn by an input job can be forced to draw in solid black. This occurs for text fill and text stroke operations. PDF output created with this setting will be updated to be drawn with gray values of 0. Type 3 fonts, which are sometimes used for graphics, are not affected by this parameter. See BlackText
  • N-up Enhancements: N-up imposition functionality has been expanded to handle all input file types including PDF, PCL, XPS, as well as improved handling of PostScript. This latest implementation of N-up offers more robust functionality with simplified execution. See NupControl
  • And more! Review the full release notes here.

The Ghostscript Blog

Here you will find news, articles and developer notes from the Ghostscript engineering team. Find it here


If you want to contribute patches to Ghostscript or GhostPDL you will need to read, understand and sign the Artifex Contributor License Agreement. We also have a bug bounty program if you're looking for a place to start contributing.

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