This chapter includes applications that create, manipulate or view PostScript files and create or view Portable Document Format PDF files.


Introduction to a2ps

a2ps is a filter utilitized mainly in the background and primarily by printing scripts to convert almost every input format into PostScript output. The application's name expands appropriately to "all to PostScript".

Package information

Additional downloads

Installation of a2ps

Install a2ps by running the following commands:

sed -i -e "s|emacs||" contrib/ &&
sed -i -e "s|/usr/local/share|/usr/share|" configure &&
sed -i -e "s|char \*malloc ();|/* & */|" \
    lib/path-concat.c &&
./configure --prefix=/usr \
    --sysconfdir=/etc/a2ps --localstatedir=/var \
    --enable-shared --with-medium=letter &&
make &&
make install

Command explanations

sed -i -e "s|emacs||" contrib/ This command eliminates the compiling and installing of the Emacs script files. If you have substituted Emacs for Vi as your primary editor, skip this step.

sed -i -e "s|/usr/local/share|/usr/share|" configure: This command modifies the configure script to search for Ghostscript fonts at the location where they were installed by the BLFS instructions.

sed -i -e "s|char \*malloc ();|/* & */|" lib/path-concat.c: This command fixes a build problem with GCC-3.4.x

--sysconfdir=/etc/a2ps: Configuration data is installed in /etc/a2ps instead of /usr/etc.

--enable-shared: This switch enables building the dynamic liba2ps library.

--with-medium=letter: This switch changes the default paper format of A4 to letter. Installations that utilize A4 would eliminate this switch.

Configuring a2ps

Config files

/etc/a2ps/a2ps.cfg, /etc/a2ps/a2ps-site.cfg

Configuration Information

Information about configuring a2ps can be found in the comments contained in the above files, and also by running info a2ps.


The a2ps package contains a2ps, card, composeglyphs, fixnt, fixps, ogonkify, pdiff, psmandup, psset, texi2dvi4a2ps, liba2ps libraries and filter data.



a2ps is a filter, utilized primarily by printing scripts, that converts standard input or supported files to PostScript.


card prints a reference card of a given program's options.


composeglyphs creates a composite font program.


fixnt is supposed to fix the problems in the PostScript files generated by the Microsoft PostScript driver under Windows NT (3.5 and 4.0).


fixps tries to fix common PostScript problems that break postprocessing.


ogonkify provides international support for Postscript by performing various munging of PostScript files related to printing in different languages.


pdiff produces a pretty comparison between files.


psmandup tries to produce a version of a given PostScript file to print in manual duplex.


psset produces a version of a given PostScript file with a protected call to the PostScript operator 'setpagedevice'. Typical use is making a file print duplex, or on the manual tray, etc.


texi2dvi4a2ps compiles Texinfo and LaTeX files to DVI or PDF