Le GNU a2ps - Features of GNU a2ps 4.10.4

Le GNU a2ps

Features of GNU a2ps 4.10.4

General Info

What is GNU a2ps
Features of 4.13
Features of 4.12
Features of 4.10.4
Projects Related with a2ps
Ports and Packages
Ports to M$ world
Giving Feedback


Manual of 4.12
Manual of 4.10
Manual of 4.8
Known Bugs
a2ps List Archive


Sheets Files


a2ps & I18n
Existing Translations
Working on Translation
Guide Line



Le GNU a2ps 4.10.4 has been widely used for quite a while, and is, well I think, totally safe (well, there are a few bugs). It offers many new features (see NEWS). The documentation is also available.

The main features of 4.10.4 are:

  • Pretty Printing. Many languages are supported thanks to style sheets, easy to understand, patch and develop. Regular expressions can be used. Here is an example.

  • Automatic style selection. A stand alone file allows you to define the rules (on the name, or on the result of a call to `file (1)') that automatically select a style sheet.

  • Delegations. This gives you a uniform access to most PostScript producers, such as Netscape (HTML to PostScript), psnup (PostScript to PostScript), groff (roff to PostScript). Actually anything you want! Here is a good example:

    gargantua demo $ a2ps ogonkify.1 glibc.dvi.gz a2ps.texi -o demo.ps
    [ogonkify.1 (roff, delegated to Groff): 3 pages on 2 sheets]
    [glibc.dvi.gz (gzip, delegated to Gzip): 601 pages on 301 sheets]
    [a2ps.texi (texinfo, delegated to texi2dvi): 81 pages on 41 sheets]
    [Total: 684 pages on 342 sheets] saved into the file `demo.ps'
    There are more details here.
  • (Weak) PPD support. Which means there is automatic fonts downloading. It also means that you can break through the 13 basic Level 1 PostScript fonts, and go to the 35 Level 2 (I hate Times, Palatino is much better :-).

  • Named outputs (printers etc.). Symbolic outputs are much more powerful. For instance you may define `file' to be the symbolic output `> $N.#.', which means that `a2ps foo.c bar.h -P file' will save the PostScript into `foo.ps'. Thanks to Version control a la GNU Emacs, there is no fear to override important files: if `foo.ps' existed, it has been moved as `foo.ps~', or `foo.ps~1~', or destroyed: upon your own choice.

  • Contributions. Some tools are provided with a2ps: Card which prints reference cards of your favorit programs, psmandup which helps you to print Duplex on non Duplex printers, fixps which automatically fixes most common problems in PostScript files, and pdiff which makes pretty contextual diff (to be printed for instance).

  • Encodings. Many encodings are supported, most notably the ISO Latin 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are quite well handled, thanks to Ogonkify (by Juliusz Chroboczek).

  • Output Design is customizable (colors, fonts etc.).

  • Native Language Support. a2ps speaks your tongue. Well, if somebody taught it :) Many tongue are yet supported, but you can also contribute (See the translation page).

Previous Versions

Major changes between 4.10.2 and 4.10.1 include a fix for the installation of Ogonkify, and the inclusion of the new tool pdiff. Users of Ogonkify should definitely upgrade.

Major changes between 4.10.1 and previous 4.9.10 and 4.10 include new translations (Portuguese, and Swedish), and the fact that now a2ps does recognize the type of files given through stdin. Portability problems were also solved.