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Install Ghostscript for Windows and GIMP

Ghostscript logoGhostScript for Windows supports PostScript (.ps) and Encapsulated PostScript (.eps) files. You can download it and install it here. To install GhostScript for Windows and GIMP, you’ll want to download a Windows distribution with an installer (.exe), and follow the installation instructions.

Getting GIMP to recognize GhostScript

To get GIMP, the popular open-source image editing application, to recognize your GhostScript installation, you’ll need to set an environment variable in Windows as follows:

  • Browse to Start -> Control Panel -> System
  • Select the “Advanced” tab
  • Click the “Environment Variables” button at bottom
  • then click “Add” to add the following system variable:
    • Variable: GS_PROG
    • Value:  Full path to the location of your gswin32c.exe file (in your GhostScript installation directory – the default location is C:\Program Files\gs\gs8.54\bin\gswin32c.exe, but this may vary depending on where you installed it)

Get GIMP

Used to Photoshop, or just starting off with GIMP and having trouble? GIMP is an excellent, open source (free) alternative to Photoshop that is constantly getting better. However, it’s not known as the most user-friendly alternative to Photoshop. There is a Windows version available now, which is making it a lot more accessible to the average designer (although most professional designers are on Mac’s – which also has a GIMP version). GIMP was originally written for Linux. Visit the GIMP project homepage for details.

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About Alex Schenker
Alex bring a series of in-depth articles on search marketing and content management systems as well as troubleshooting tips to We Rock Your Web's collection. He is an avid tennis player, nature enthusiast, and hiker, and enjoys spending time with his wife, friends, and dogs, Bella and Lily.
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  • Anonymous

    That was great. Thanks a lot. One suggestion – in the bit about the system variable, you might explain that the path should look like this (including the ghostscript exe file name) (in my case), C:\Program Files\gs\gs8.54\bin\gswin32.exe

    • We Rock Your Web

      Thanks – actually the path varies per installation, so we simply tell them to look in their install directory. But I’ll leave your comment in case it helps someone.

  • Tripti

    I’m trying to use GS in matlab but I get an error that the path is not set. I have added the gs_prog variable and set the path but it still gives the same error.

    Can anyone kindly help?

  • Anonymous

    Keep in mind when you add a system Environmental Variable you need to restart your computer in order for the change to take effect.

  • Anonymous

    Using a software program like GhostScript can really allow you to have an incredible amount of control over your printing and even display options. Granted, there is a fair amount of coding involved, but it will certainly allow you to be able to take greater advantage of the capabilities of your computer and printer.

    Another aspect to this is that you are able to integrate it with GIMP, which is a free and open source graphics editing program. Despite it being free, do not make the mistake of thinking that GIMP is a cheap little piece of software that is not worth very much. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. For starters, it runs on Windows, Mac, Linux and even Unix platforms.

    There is no question that Photo Shop still reigns as the king of graphics and photo editing programs. However, given that you would need to shell out several hundred dollars for photo shop, why not start off using a tool which is free, and still gives an incredible amount of functionality?

    For starters, GIMP allows you to easily do all of the basics. Crop and scale photos, adjust the brightness and contrast for better looking images is just the beginning. Another really cool trick is to add a guide. This is usually done when you want to mark the halfway point of an image or when aligning text (it can also be a step in helping to correct a horizon). You can choose to set this guide by either percent (which can further be specified as horizontally or vertically), by pixels or just by clicking on a spot in the image itself.

    Another cool feature involves rotating the images. You can do this by clicking on the layer, then transform and then arbitrary rotation. From here you may select the number of degrees to rotate the image, use a slider to do it yourself, or just click directly on the image until it rotates to the place you wish. Incidentally, you may also rotate layers for those more advanced or experienced users out there.

    Changing a color image to black and white is another photo shop like trick which can be accomplished on the GIMP software quite easily. There are actually two different ways to accomplish this. First, you could change it to grayscale. This just uses the pathway of image > mode > grayscale. The second method is through desaturation. Just click on colors > desaturate.

    A tool I really, really like with GIMP is clone. This allows a user to remove unwanted little blemishes. This is very photo shop like. To begin, select the little stamp in the toolbox (that is the clone tool). Then pick the appropriate sized brush to use for removal. Obviously, the smaller the blemish the smaller brush you will want. Now you just select an area using Alt + click. That will become your reference for the cloning. Try this one, it is really cool.

  • Anonymous

    It says in the article “To install it, you’ll want to download a Windows distribution with an installer (.exe), and follow the installation instructions.”

    Can someone elaborate this step, thank you so much.

    • We Rock Your Web

      We’d be glad to help! Visit the Ghostscript site linked to in the article, and then click on “Browse all files” (beneath the green download button). Then click on the “GPL Ghostscript” folder, and then the latest version folder (9.04 at the time of this comment).

      Finally, select and download one of the .exe files (gs904w64.exe, where the 904 is the version of the file, the w is for Windows operating system (O/S), and the 64 is for a 64-bit O/S.

      To find out if your Windows PC is 32-bit or 64-bit, browse to the Start button (lower left of your screen), right-click “Computer” > select “Properties” from the drop-down, and then under System > System Type, you’ll see either 32-bit or 64-bit Operating System. So, if your system is 32-bit, you’ll want to download and install the gs904w32.exe file. Again, the 904 number will change in future releases (905, 906, etc.).

      Good luck! Let us know how it goes :)

  • Steve

    I have tried every possible combination of the configurations I have found online. I have edited my environmental variables using the path to ghostscript executable, I have tried both executable (gswin64.exe and gswin64c.exe), I have tried using both .exe configurations in the GIMP environmental config file too. Nothing Will work.

    – I also Validated my version of ghostscript will actually open the .eps file I’m testing and convert it to PDF and PNG.

    I am at a loss as to what I am doing wrong:

    Version:

    GIMP 2.8.2 – 64 Bit

    Ghostscript 9.0.6 – 64 Bit

    Hours of messing with this and I’m throwing in the towel for now. Any help would be appreciated…

  • Anonymous

    I’m using GIMP 2.6.8 (32 bit) and Ghostscript 8.7 (64 bit) on Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit and the instructions worked fine.

    • Anonymous

      I need to know how to install the 64-bit version of Ghostscript. Like in which folder do I dump the files? Please help.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, worked great for me as well.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks a bunch. This was a very useful tip. I just got GhostScript working with GIMP so that I could do a little editing on an EPS file. I followed them and I was surprised it worked the first time.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks … that was really helpful

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, it works great.

  • Anonymous

    it works. Thanks

  • Frank

    With GIMP 2.8.4 is works out of the box on Windows 32 bit if you tick “Ghostscript” in the installer. On Windows 64 bit, the installer install the 64 bit version of GIMP which doesn’t works.

    Solution: Start the installer with /32 on the command line to force the installation of GIMP 32 bit on Windows 64 bit.

  • a web rocker

    I tried with gwin32c.exe and gwin32.exe. But I could not solve this Problem. Can anyone please help me? I need it for my master thesis.

    Thanks a lot

    • a web rocker

      I am running Gimp 2.8.2 on Windows 7 Pro x64

      I checked task manager and Gimp is not showing *32 to the right of it so I assume is running as x64

      downloaded Ghost Script 9.0.6 x64 and it installed in

      C:\Program Files\gs\gs9.06\bin

      I added the following line:

      GS_PROG=C:\Program Files\gs\gs9.06\bin\gswin64.exe

      to the file:

      C:\Program Files\GIMP 2\lib\gimp\2.0\environ\default.env

      Then I restarted Gimp

      I have tried to import 2 .EPS files and I get the error:

      Opening ‘C:\user\user_work\arrow – up.eps’ failed: Could not interpret Postscript file ‘C:\user\user_work\arrow – up.eps’

      • Tobs

        Same issue on same config:

        Downgraded on Gimp 2.8.0 and it works fine now with .eps file.

        • aggie

          I had Windows 8, gimp 2.8.4 64 bit, gs 9.07 64 bit.

          My error was “Could not interpret Postscript file.”

          Downgrading to 2.8.0 also solved the problem for me.

          Thanks so much, Tobs. –Aggie

  • Anonymous

    Awesome – I’ve been trying to get GIMP to recognize GhostScript for a while. Thanks for the useful infos!!

  • Anonymous

    Great Tip. It worked really well. Thanks.

    Jason

  • Anonymous

    Followed the instructions carefully, tried to set the variable with gswin32.exe and gswin32c.exe. It’s not working for me. I’m using Gimp 6.11, Windows 7 Enterprise (32-bit) with Ghostscript 9.0.0.

    • charlie

      Same here, I am using Windows7 and it didn’t work. I have tried everything, went to Control Panel, accessed System but there is no “Advanced” tab in there. I don’t know, I have never had problems installing any Windows exe files before, maybe I am not experienced enough with the new Windows O/S. I used to have Windows XP SP3 on my computer, till last month when I upgraded.

  • Anonymous

    As a matter of interest. In your explanation you say full path to win32c.exe, but as an example of the path you mention win32.exe. (without the c)

    Which one is correct? I am using Eclipse and constantly get an error that my path is wrong when I want to print. Would every program use a different path variable? How can I test my path if I do not have GIMP?

    Thanks

    • We Rock Your Web

      The path variable (GS_PROG) simply stores the path of the GhostScript executable (win32c.exe). When the variable is used in GIMP, it should call the GhostScript executable and load it. Thanks for pointing out the typo – they should both be win32c.exe. If your path is wrong, GhostScript won’t run correctly.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, buddy. FYI: This tip works for GIMP 9.02 as well.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, it worked like a charm…

  • Anonymous

    Thanks heaps, worked first time with no issues. Just be aware when adding the full path of the value to include the updated gs9.00 number e.g. C:\Program Files\gs\gs9.00\bin\gswin32c.exe

    • Anonymous

      Once I put in the value you have given, it worked like a charm. Thanks to those putting out this information

  • Mark

    Thanks for sharing, the tips were really useful. Hope you continue to provide such information.

  • Juergen

    Hi guys,

    I’m having real trouble getting ghostscript to work with gimp. I followed all the steps you mentioned and it still doesn’t seem to work.

    Some info:

    Windows 7 (64bit); Gimp 2.8.2 (64bit); tried it with ghostscript 9.06 (32 & 64bit)

    I tried system variables for gswin32c.exe, gswin32.exe, gswin64c.exe, gswin64.exe after installing ghostscript. Nothing worked although I restarted gimp (and/or the system several times). This whole thing leaves me puzzled. Since I really need to open the file (.eps) in gimp, any help is greatly appreciated. Cheers.

  • Anonymous

    Installed in Vista Control Panel || System || Advanced Settings || Environmentals

    C:\Program Files\gs\gs8.71\bin\gswin32c.exe

    Mucho Thanks
    Fredz

    • Anonymous

      I’m running Gimp 9.00 on Vista and followed your path. Worked perfectly. Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, you saved my bacon! I had told my client that GIMP would import EPS and was taken aback when I got an error message about “Ghostscript needs to be found”?

    Download and install was easy. I was able to find the Vista environmentals in System || advanced system settings || evironmental variables , with Admin privileges. The new version had a little different path C:\Program Files\gs\gs8.71\bin\gswin32.exe

    Great Work and thanks again

    Fredz

    • We Rock Your Web

      Hi Fredz,

      Thanks for sharing your experience, we’re glad you got it working!

  • Anonymous

    Running GS 8.71 I found that GIMP 2.6.2 works with gswin32.exe but not with gdwin32c.exe in Windows XP.

    Thanks! It’s working like a charm now.

    • We Rock Your Web

      Thanks for sharing your findings – that’s good to know, I’m sure it will save someone a lot of time :)

  • Anonymous

    Wasted lots of time over the summer trying to get this to work. Revisited it today and read your tutorial first – worked like a dream. Thanks :)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, works great.

  • Anonymous

    Worked like a charm! Downloaded from here http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/doc/GPL/gpl902.htm

  • Anonymous

    Thanks man. You saved my day!

  • Anonymous

    Had to use gswin32.exe with no “c” also and restarted GIMP. Worked with no problem. Thanks!!

  • Anonymous

    Whoever thought it was a smart decision to released this as a TAR.BZ2 is a complete idiot. Seriously, why not just have it self decompress? What the hell were you thinking.

    NO ONE uses bz2.

    • a web rocker

      Just download 7-zip. You’re an idiot if you don’t know it!!

  • Anonymous

    I had to choose gswin32.exe not gswin32c.exe

    Am running Windows 7 with Ghostscript 8.71 and GIMP 2.4

  • mew

    Much thanks to the author below for pointing out the gimp 2.8.10 works.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks a lot, it was really helpful… I didn’t even realized that GIMP was available for Windows… Nice.

  • Kumbi

    works great for me, thanks for nice alternative to ph-t-shop!

  • Anonymous

    guys i have an imac with bootcamp running windows 7 64 bits…i tried to install the fu**in ghostscript and i try to look where the .exe file is at the place you said and the file is empty….help me please i really need to open it and i have lost a lot of time on that!!! :( i have installed gimp 2.6.11 it seems the file .exe is nowhere and i can’t seem to remove completely the Gs to start over :(

    • Anonymous

      Instead of setting the environment variable for the entire system, you can set it in GIMP alone.

      This worked on Win 7 64-bit, premium edition.

      While GIMP is closed, use any text editor like notepad to edit the file “default.env”:

      c:\Program Files (x86)\GIMP-2.0\lib\gimp\2.0\environ\default.env

      add the line (may vary depending on the version of Ghostscript, version 9.02 is used here):

      GS_PROG=c:\Program Files (x86)\gs\gs9.02\bin\gswin32.exe

      • Anonymous

        Thank you so much for this; I’m in Windows 7 and couldn’t get the system variable to work, but this did it for me.

    • Anonymous

      * GIMP is probably running as 32 bit application check task manager for the *32 next to it.
      * Make sure you install the 32 bit version of GS. (32 bit processes don’t mix well with 64 bit when doing this kind of thing).
      * The GS executable will be in Program Files (x86) folder on a 64 bit system. Make sure you set the system environment variable to the full path of the executable. I didn’t need to restart system.. system variable should take effect straight away. (You may have to restart gimp, not sure though).

  • Anonymous

    What a help to offer this. Still helpful despite evolving and ever more complex Windows system.

  • Anonymous

    how do i find the path? i have no idea where the install directory is…

    thanks.

    • We Rock Your Web

      See the comment above.

  • Anonymous

    I was always interested whether it is possible to learn working with Photoshop on my own. I am actually one of such enthusiasts, and have read several e-books already, but still lag behind…

    Perhaps, there’s something I miss… I need your help!

  • David

    Downgrade to gimp 2.8.0 worked for me on Windows 8.1 64bit

    • Kimberly

      Glad you found a solution David! Thanks for reading and commenting!

      -Kimberly

  • Anonymous

    How do I get the file to run as an .exe, using Windows XP?

    • Web Rocker

      The .gz file is compressed. You’ll need to extract the .exe file from within it first uzing an extraction/ decompression utility such as 7-zip, Winzip, etc.

  • http://www.judifitzpatrick.com Judi FitzPatrick

    Thank you for these very easy to follow instructions! You do rock!!!

    Peace,

    Judi

  • Mark

    hmmm… It still doesn’t want to work for me. Not sure what the issue is.

  • Picicica

    Thanks, it works for me now!