Help Viewing PostScript and PDF Files
What are PDF and PS Files?
- PS (PostScript)
- Postscript is a device independent programming language
with powerful graphics capabilities. It was created by Adobe
Systems Incorporated in 1985 and has been extended since then.
On most operating systems a postscript file will end in an
extension ".ps" or an extension ".eps" for an encapsulated postscript
- PDF (Portable Document Format).
- PDF files are sometimes called Acrobat files after Adobe's Acrobat
reader. PDF is relatively new format from Adobe. It is closely
related to PostScript, but has built-in support for hyperlinks.
On most operating systems PDF files end ".pdf" extension.
Applications for Viewing PostScript and PDF files
You can download PDF or PS files and view them with one of the
applications above, or you can configure your browser to
start one of these applications automatically.
- Adobe's Acrobat reader - for PDF and PS files.
You can download Acrobat Reader from the Adobe web site by following the
For a limited set of operating systems, help on obtaining Acrobat Reader and other applications through Northwestern
University can be
Although unfortunately and perhaps misguidedly, most of the information and assistance at the NU Information Technology help desk is geared towards
as opposed to
or, as it is sometimes called,
open source software .
- a graphical interface for Ghostscript. For Linux and Unix.
- a graphical interface for Ghostscript. For OS/2, MS-Windows,
- Gv -
Views PDF and PS files.
Gv is an X interface for the ghostscript interpreter.
For Linux, Unix, OS/2, and VMS operating systems.
- PostScript viewers for Macintosh
- Xpdf -
An X-windows PDF viewer.
If you have Adobe's Acrobat Reader and Netscape Communicator,
to configure netscape to launch Adobe Acrobat when you click
on a link to a PDF file do the following:
(1) From Netscape Communicator select Edit.
(2) In the window that pops up select Preferences.
(3) A small box will open up. Click on the little triange |>
to the left of the word Navigator.
(4) Select Applications.
(5) Select New.
(6) Enter the following information
Description: Portable Document Format
(7) Click on the browse button to show Netscape where you
put Acrobat, or Enter the complete path name to Acrobat
followed by %s. For example, on my Linux system:
(8) Click on the button to the left of Application.
Other Help Pages
A useful link for help on pdf and postscript files can be found
Information can be found on
the C35 Acrobat Help Page, which I quote from below: