HOWTO: Create PDF in Windows using GhostScript and RedMon.

by Vitaly Popovich [Published on 12 Oct. 2006 / Last Updated on 12 Oct. 2006]


PDF format became universally accepted format for document exchange. The format is well documented and supported.
Acrobat Reader is a well known application for reading PDFs. There is also Acrobat Professional which is a great toll that can produce PDFs but it is quite expensive. There are other applications that can produce PDFs, but they are either expensive or have built in advertising.
So i have decided to prepare this step by step guide explaining how to install and configure free PDF maker (publisher) using GhostScript and RedMon.
Here is a quote from official GhostScript homepage describing the software:

An interpreter for the PostScript (TM) language, with the ability to convert PostScript language files to many raster formats, view them on displays, and print them on printers that don't have PostScript language capability built in;
An interpreter for Portable Document Format (PDF) files, with the same abilities;
The ability to convert PostScript language files to PDF (with some limitations) and vice versa; and
A set of C procedures (the Ghostscript library) that implement the graphics capabilities that appear as primitive operations in the PostScript language.

So we would need latest version of GhostScript compiled for Windows. You can monitor available releases from GS homepage. At the moment you can download latest version from ftp: ftp://mirror.cs.wisc.edu/pub/mirrors/ghost/AFPL/gs854/
There are 2 versions of GhostScript for Windows. There is one for 32 Bit Windows and another one for 64 Bit version. Here is the link for 32 Bit version: ftp://mirror.cs.wisc.edu/pub/mirrors/ghost/AFPL/gs854/gs854w32.exe (Please use download manager)

Download setup file
Execute it.
Click Setup button when install starts.
You can use default parameters for install or change them to match your requirements (I assumed install into C:\GS folder, please keep in mind that you ll have to change all other settings mentioned in this article to match your parameters).

So you

PDF format became universally accepted format for document exchange. The format is well documented and supported.


Acrobat Reader is a well known application for reading PDFs. There is also Acrobat Professional which is a great toll that can produce PDFs but it is quite expensive. There are other applications that can produce PDFs, but they are either expensive or have built in advertising.

So i have decided to prepare this step by step guide explaining how to install and configure free PDF maker (publisher) using GhostScript and RedMon.

Here is a quote from official GhostScript homepage describing the software:

  • An interpreter for the PostScript (TM) language, with the ability to convert PostScript language files to many raster formats, view them on displays, and print them on printers that don't have PostScript language capability built in;
  • An interpreter for Portable Document Format (PDF) files, with the same abilities;
  • The ability to convert PostScript language files to PDF (with some limitations) and vice versa; and
  • A set of C procedures (the Ghostscript library) that implement the graphics capabilities that appear as primitive operations in the PostScript language.

So we would need latest version of GhostScript compiled for Windows. You can monitor available releases from GS homepage. At the moment you can download latest version from ftp: ftp://mirror.cs.wisc.edu/pub/mirrors/ghost/AFPL/gs854/

There are 2 versions of GhostScript for Windows. There is one for 32 Bit Windows and another one for 64 Bit version. Here is the link for 32 Bit version: ftp://mirror.cs.wisc.edu/pub/mirrors/ghost/AFPL/gs854/gs854w32.exe (Please use download manager)

  • Download setup file
  • Execute it.
  • Click Setup button when install starts.
  • You can use default parameters for install or change them to match your requirements (I assumed install into C:\GS folder, please keep in mind that you ll have to change all other settings mentioned in this article to match your parameters).

install1.JPG

  • So you click Install button
  • Installation starts and finishes with creation of shortcuts groups in your menu.

At this point you have a working GhostScript install.

Now we need to install RedMon. RedMon is a utility redirecting data sent to printer port to another program. You can download version 1.7 from here : ftp://mirror.cs.wisc.edu/pub/mirrors/ghost/ghostgum/redmon17.zip

Once your download completes extract all files from the archive into a folder and run setup.exe . The setup is very straight forward.

After you completed RedMon installation you need to create your PDF printer.

  • Create a file called pdfwrite.rsp in your GS install folder (in our case C:\GS\ )
  • These are the contents of C:\GS\pdfwrite.rsp:

-Ic:\GS\gs8.54\lib;c:\GS\fonts
-sDEVICE=pdfwrite
-r300
-dNOPAUSE
-dSAFER
-sPAPERSIZE=a4

  • Now you need to create a printer.
  • Go to Control Panel>Printers and Faxes
  • Click "Add Printer". You ll be presented with "Add printer Wizard"
  • Click Next. You ll taken to next screen.
  • Choose "Local printer attached to this computer", untick "automatically detect and ..." option. Click Next and you ll move to next screen.
  • On this screen choose "Create a new port" option, select "Redirected Port" from drop-down menu:

port2.JPG

  • Click Next.
  • A pop-up windows will appear asking you to give name for this port. You can leave default RPT1: and click OK.
  • You ll be taken to next page of the wizard where you have to choose the make and a model of your printer.
  • Choose Apple for manufacturer and Apple Color LaserWriter 12/600 for the model

port3.JPG

  • Click Next
  • The wizard will prompt you for the name of new printer ( e.g. PDF printer)
  • Eventually the wizard will install drivers for new printer as well.

So now we have to configure redirects to GhostScript.

  • Go to "Printers and Faxes" section in Control Panel.
  • Right click on your new printer and choose Properties.
  • Choose Ports Tab
  • Choose RPT1 and click Configure
  • Set variables as they are set on the picture:

port4.JPG

Here are the variables so you can copy-paste them:

Redirect....:

C:\GS\gs8.54\bin\gswin32c.exe

Arguments...:

@c:\GS\pdfwrite.rsp -sOutputFile="%1" -c .setpdfwrite -f -

Copy everything exactly or your PDF printer will not work.

Choose for Output: Prompt for File name

Other options should be matching the picture I posted.

After everything is configured click OK.

Click Apply in Printer configuration menu.

Ok, completed.

Now you have a Printer that prints PDF files.

You can use it from any application that supports printing. Plus you can share your PDF Printer on the network as well!

If you are unable to complete this guide and make GS and RedMon work for you try to install and use PDFCreator , an application that is based on GhostScript as well.

Disclaimer: Guys, the guide is only a compilation of various guides available in official documentation shipped with GhostScript and RedMon.

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