Install Ghostscript for Windows and GIMP

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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)


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.

About The Author:

Alex has been involved on the business side of the internet since the early 2000's. He holds both a Management Science degree from the University of California at San Diego as well as a Computer Science degree from NJIT.

We Rock Your Web had its roots back in 2004 as the tech blog for a web design and development company Alex founded that has grown and evolved into the parent company of We Rock Your Web.

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It’s not working for me.
Gimp: 2.0
Ghostscript: 9.27
WinXP 32-bit
I used the gswin32c.exe for my GS_PROG system variable.

Been following the instructions and can’t get it to take and allow me to open .eps files in Gimp. Using:
Windows 10 64bit
Have installed Gimp 2.8.14
Installing Ghostscript 9.18

Located where Ghostscript is installed and created the System Variable as above, with the pathway C:Program Filesgsgs9.18bingswin64c.exe based on the file location. Now, I do see that in that folder there are 2 executables, the one I listed above, and another one that is just called gswin64.exe without the C on the end. Does that matter?

The error message I get is as follows – can you tell if this might mean a different issue is at play?

Opening ‘ss_cmyk.eps’ failed: Could not interpret Postscript file ‘ss_cmyk.eps’

Hey – I’m having a similar problem with
Windows 10 (64-bit)
Gimp 2.8.18
Ghostscript 9.20

Did you ever figure this out. I’ve followed all the instructions I’ve found and just can’t seem to get it to work.

It worked for me like a charm,
-Gimp 2.4.2
-Ghostscript 9.16
-Windows 10 Pro (32bit)

Thank you so much!

Glad we could help you Pablo!

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

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


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

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.

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

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.

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

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?

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:


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…

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

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’

Same issue on same config:

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

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

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.

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



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.

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

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’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 🙂

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

Worked like a charm! Downloaded from here

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

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

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.

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 🙁

* 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).

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

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.

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

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

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

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 🙂

Thanks, worked great for me as well.