About our APIs

The core of Ghostscript is written in C, but also supports language bindings for the following programming languages:

  • C#
  • Java
  • Python

All of the above languages have equivalent methods as defined in the C API. Java and C# provide additional helper methods to make the use of the API easier for certain applications. These languages also provide example viewers that make use of these methods.

This developer documentation is organized by programming language type and includes API reference and sample code.


Ghostscript has been in development for over thirty years and is written in C. The API has evolved over time and is continually being developed. The language bindings into Ghostscript will attempt to mirror this evolution and match the current C API as much as possible.


Before using Ghostscript, please make sure that you have a valid license to do so. There are two available licenses; make sure you pick the one whose terms you can comply with.

Open Source license

If your software is open source, you may use Ghostscript under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License.

This means that all of the source code for your complete app must be released under a compatible open source license!

It also means that you may not use any proprietary closed source libraries or components in your app.

Please read the full text of the AGPL license agreement from the FSF web site

If you cannot or do not want to comply with these restrictions, you must acquire a commercial license instead.

Commercial license

If your project does not meet the requirements of the AGPL, please contact our sales team to discuss a commercial license. Each Artifex commercial license is crafted based on your individual use case.

Building Ghostscript

In order to use Ghostscript language bindings firstly Ghostscript must be built as a shared library for your platform.

The following built libraries are required for these respective platforms:

Platform Ghostscript library files
Windows 32-bit gpdldll32.dll gsdll32.dll
Windows 64-bit gpdldll64.dll gsdll64.dll
MacOS libgpdl.dylib libgs.dylib
Linux / OpenBSD

The actual filenames on MacOS will be appended with the version of Ghostscript with associated symlinks.

Building on Windows

To build the required DLLs, load /windows/ghostpdl.sln into Visual Studio, and select the required architecture from the drop down - then right click on 'ghostpdl' in the solution explorer and choose "Build".

Building on MacOS or Linux / OpenBSD

Firstly run the script from the command line to create the required configuration files followed by make so to build the shared libraries. The scripts also depend on having both autoconf and automake installed on your system. [1]

autoconf & automake

If this software is not already on your system (usually this can be found in the following location: usr/local/bin, but it could be located elsewhere depending on your setup) then it can be installed from your OS's package system.

Alternatively, it can be installed from GNU here:

Or, it can be installed via Brew by running:

brew install autoconf automake

Once built, these libraries can be found in your ghostpdl/sobin/ or ghostpdl/sodebugbin location depending on your build command.

For full detailed instructions on how to build your Ghostscript library see here.