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PostScript (PS) language was created to facilitate output of complex computer images to paper. It was specifically designed to be utilized by laser printers in order to process graphics and text. When PostScript was first introduced in 1980s processors weren’t powerful enough to process it and thus printers required specific computing module capable of processing PS commands. Apple LaserWriter was the first printer which had support of PostScript after that multiple other printers includer ones from Xerox, HP and others adapted PostScript. Even at this moment due to complexity of PostScript some printers still have PS processing module to offload processing from CPU.

PostScript was the first printing language which instead of just sending symbol characters to the printer also sent their visual representation. Prior to laser printers matrix printers were mainly used to print and they typically had symbol images preloaded to them. So in order to print a character computer only needed to send a string of characters to print. But with laser printers it became possible to print significantly more complex graphics. This started a new era in printing where custom fonts could be used for printing.

Fonts are very important part of PostScript language. PostScript has a complex font commands subset designed specifically to produce font symbols on a printer. This include complex Bezier curves support and support of hinting. Hinting is a method which precisely describes details of how different parts of a symbol image should be scaled.

PostScript files typically has .PS file name extension. To open a .PS file you should download Ghostscript software. It is free and very functional PostScript file renderer which will allow you to browse PS file and see how exactly it will look on a printer.

PostScript is considered to be a predecessor of PDF. Initially PS was considered to be used as a document exchange format but it was too specific to printers and was very slow when working with graphic user interface based applications. That’s why PDF file format was created.

 

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