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.
    • gs_*.ps unless Ghostscript was compiled using the "compiled initialization files" option. See the documentation of PostScript files distributed with Ghostscript.
    • pdf_*.ps if Ghostscript was compiled with the ability to interpret Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files, that is, was included in FEATURE_DEVS when Ghostscript was built.
    • Fontmap and Fontmap.GS (or the appropriate for your platform), unless you plan always to invoke Ghostscript with the -dNOFONTMAP switch.
  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 the common 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.)

If you have Adobe Acrobat installed, you can use the Acrobat fonts in place of the ones distributed with with Ghostscript by adding the Acrobat fonts directory to GS_FONTPATH and removing these fonts from Fontmap.GS:

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

Similarly, 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 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 Linux

For 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 a binary installer, for the convenience of most users.

Windows 3.1 (16-bit)

The last version to run on 16-bit Windows 3.1 was Ghostscript 4.03.

Windows 95, 98, Me

The last version to be available as a binary for Windows 95/98/Me was 8.60. Although building from source with Visual Studio 2003 should produce a working binary for those versions.

Windows NT4, 2000, XP, 2003 or Vista (32-bit)

The installer is normally named gs###w32.exe, where ### is the release number (e.g., 871 for Ghostscript 8.71, 910 for Ghostscript 9.10).

Windows XP x64 edition, 2003 or Vista (64-bit)

The x64 installer is normally named gs###w64.exe This is for 64-bit Windows operating systems based on the x64 instruction set. Do not use this on 64-bit processors running 32-bit Windows.


To install Ghostscript on Windows, you should run the installer executable.

The installer is NSIS-based (see also Release.htm) and supports a few standard NSIS options: /NCRC disables the CRC check, /S runs the installer or uninstaller silently, /D sets the default installation directory (It must be the last parameter used in the command line and must not contain any quotes, even if the path contains spaces. Only absolute paths are supported).

General Windows configuration

The installer includes files in these subdirectories:


The actual executable files for the 32-bit Windows install, in the gs#.##\bin subdirectory, are:

GSWIN32C.EXE   Ghostscript as a 32-bit Windows command line program. This is usually the preferred executable.
GSWIN32.EXE   32-bit Ghostscript using its own window for commands
GSDLL32.DLL   32-bit dynamic link library containing most of Ghostscript's functionality

For the 64-bit Windows install, also in the gs#.##\bin subdirectory, they are:

GSWIN64C.EXE   Ghostscript as a 64-bit Windows command line program. This is usually the preferred executable.
GSWIN64.EXE   64-bit Ghostscript using its own window for commands
GSDLL64.DLL   64-bit dynamic link library containing most of Ghostscript's functionality

For printer devices, the default output is the default printer. This can be modified as follows:

-sOutputFile="%printer%printer name"
Output to the named printer. If your printer is named "HP DeskJet 500" then you would use -sOutputFile="%printer%HP DeskJet 500".

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\GPL Ghostscript\#.##

or if that fails, under the key


where #.## is the Ghostscript version number.

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

  • In the same directory as the Ghostscript executable.
  • If the environment variable GS_DLL is defined, Ghostscript tries to load the Ghostscript dynamic link library (DLL) with the name given.
  • Using the standard Windows library search method: the directory from which the application loaded, the current directory, the Windows system directory, the Windows directory and the directories listed in the PATH environment variable.

The Ghostscript installer 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 "GPL Ghostscript" or "AFPL Ghostscript", rather than just "Ghostscript", depending on what version of Ghostscript was installed). Alternatively, an uninstall shortcut is also available in the Start Menu group.

Installing Ghostscript on OpenVMS

Support for OpenVMS has stagnated (and almost certainly bit-rotted), and as the core development team has no access to an OpenVMS environment, we are unable to bring it up to date. We will consider patches from contributors if any wish to take on the task of getting it working again. Given the very limited appeal of OpenVMS these days, however, we are unlikely to consider patches with invasive code changes.

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.

  • Download the fonts and unpack them into DISK1:[DIR.GHOSTSCRIPT.LIB].
  • Enable access to the program and support files for all users with:
  • $ set file/prot=w:re DISK1:[DIR]GHOSTSCRIPT.dir
    $ set file/prot=w:re DISK1:[DIR.GHOSTSCRIPT...]*.*
  • Optionally, add the Ghostscript help instructions to your system wide help file:
  • Lastly, add the following lines to the appropriate system wide or user specific login script.
  • $ define gs_exe DISK1:[DIR.GHOSTSCRIPT.BIN]
    $ define gs_lib DISK1:[DIR.GHOSTSCRIPT.EXE]
    $ gs :== $gs_exe:gs.exe

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

The last version to run on DOS was Aladdin Ghostscript 5.10, which used a 386 DOS extender.

If you are running MS Windows, then use the MS Windows Ghostscript command line executable GSWIN32C.EXE.

Installing Ghostscript on OS/2 2.x

Support for OS/2 has stagnated (and almost certainly bit-rotted), and as the core development team has no access to an OS/2 environment, we are unable to bring it up to date. We will consider patches from contributors if any wish to take on the task of getting it working again. Given the very limited appeal of OS/2 these days, however, we are unlikely to consider patches with invasive code changes.

The Ghostscript OS/2 implementation is designed for OS/2 2.1 or later. 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 display 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.

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 Use.htm 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

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.

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 © 2000-2018 Artifex Software, Inc. 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 that license. Refer to licensing information at or contact Artifex Software, Inc., 1305 Grant Avenue - Suite 200, Novato, CA 94945, U.S.A., +1(415)492-9861, for further information.

Ghostscript version 9.23, 21 March 2018