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Citation Software Inc.
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QUESTION: What is PostScript?

ANSWER: PostScript is a language that is used for describing the text and graphics in documents. PostScript was invented by Adobe Systems Incorporated. Technically, PostScript is known as a page-description language.

Files that contain documents described in the PostScript language are normally called "PostScript files"; hence, PostScript is known as a file format as well as a language.

Most laser printers and imagesetters understand the PostScript language. The Adobe Acrobat Distiller software also understands the PostScript language.

Sometimes a simple example can make things crystal clear - so here is an example of what a PostScript file looks like.
/Helvetica findfont 12 scalefont setfont
72 648 moveto
(This text is 1 inch from the left edge of the page and 9 inches from the bottom.)show
This PostScript file describes a one-page document with one line of text in twelve-point Helvetica type. If you have the Adobe Acrobat/Adobe Acrobat Distiller software installed on your computer, you can demonstrate for yourself how this PostScript program works. First: highlight this little program, copy it to the clipboard, and paste it into a text editor. Next: save it in ASCII FORMAT (i.e., "plain-text format") under the name PS_FILE.PS. Next: open the PS_FILE.PS file in Adobe Acrobat Distiller and generate a PDF file named PS_FILE.PDF. Next: open the PS_FILE.PDF file in Adobe Acrobat (if you are using Version 4.0 or later) or in Adobe Acrobat Exchange (if you are using Version 3.0x). Near the top of the page, you will see the line of text shown in the program.

The Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) file format

There is a special type of PostScript file called an Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) file. EPS is a standard file format for importing and exporting graphics and formatted text among different applications. Click here to learn about EPS files.
See also What is a page-description language?


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