Printing and Viewing PostScript Files

The easiest way to print PostScriptTM files is with a PostScript compatible laser printer. These have become more affordable and are becoming more common; for instance, the public library in my small town has one attached to a public-access computer. However, they are still roughly twice as expensive as the ink jet or dot-matrix printers that most of us use with our personal computers. An alternative to a laser printer is software that interprets PostScript language commands for display on a computer VGA display or a PC printer. I know of at least two versions of this type of software: GoScript, a commercial product and Ghostscript, [Copyright (C) 1990, 1992 Aladdin Enterprises. All rights reserved. Distributed by Free Software Foundation, Inc.], which is freeware. There are probably others which I haven't tried.

I have only used Ghostscript, versions 2.5 and higher, for printing, and Ghostview, for viewing under Windows 3.1 and 95. The DOS versions use Unix style command strings which are difficult to remember, so I've included two BAT files below to help: GS_VIEW.BAT for viewing on a screen, and GS_PRINT.BAT for printing on an HP inkjet printer or an Epson dot-matrix printer (use an editor to remove the REM from the appropriate line). For other brands of printer, the command will have to be changed appropriately, which will require reading of the documentation. Type GS_VIEW or GS_PRINT to use them. Be sure to type QUIT when you are through or your PC may be left in an unhappy state requiring rebooting.

I've also included a sample PostScript file, SQUARE.PS which draws a four inch square to make sure that templates will be drawn to scale, and a sample horn template, HORN18.PS ,to get you started. If the dimensions of the printed square are slightly off, you can correct them. Each template has a line near the beginning of the file:

1.0 1.0 scale
the first number is the scale factor in the x (horizontal) direction, and the second is the scale factor in the y (vertical) direction. Edit the SQUARE.PS file with an editor to change these numbers slightly; when you find a combination that prints a square exactly four inches on a side, then you have compensated for your printer. Edit these same numbers into any template to be printed on the same printer and the dimensions will come out right.


The windows versions of Ghostscript are easier to use -- start the program, then open the PostScript file using pulldown menus. However, they don't seem to work with the AZ_PROJ mapping program.


To view PostScript files found on the Internet, there is a GoScript plugin for the Windows 95 version of Netscape Navigator which does a fine job. I tried the evaluation version, but found that it was prohibitively priced when the evaluation period expired.


AZ_PROJ by Joe, NA3T and Michael, NV3Z, is a really neat program for drawing custom maps. However, it has some idiosyncracies which can cause difficulties in printing; click here for specific hints.

GhostScript files

The Ghostscript files are available on many bulletin boards and Internet locations. Some are linked to the previous page. They are in ZIP format, so they must me downloaded, unZIPped, and installed according to the README documentation.

I have not used any of the commercial products, but I would expect a commercial product to be much easier to install and use than freeware or shareware.

Contents of files


gs386 %1


REM remove REMark from line for your printer
REM Epson dot-matrix
REM gs386 -sDEVICE=epson -r60x60 %1
REM HP inkjet
REM gs386 -sDEVICE=djet500 %1
REM HP color inkjet
REM gs386 -sDEVICE=cdj550 %1


%! PostScript
% draws a four inch square
/mm { 2.834646 mul } def
/in { 72 mul } def
2 in 2 in translate
1.0 1.0 scale
1 setlinewidth
0 in 0 in moveto
4 in 0 in lineto
4 in 4 in lineto
/Helvetica-Bold findfont
14 scalefont
1 in 2 in moveto


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