gsftopk - render a ghostscript font in TeX pk format


gsftopk [-i ''path''? [-q? [-t? [--debug=''n''? [--dosnames? [--interpreter=''path''? [--mapline=''line''? [--mapfile=''file''? [--quiet? [--test? [--help? [--version? font dpi



Name of the font to be created.


Desired resolution of the font to be created, in dots per inch. This may be a real number.


gsftopk is a program which calls up the ghostscript program gs(1) to render a given font at a given resolution. It packs the resulting characters into the pk file format and writes them to a file whose name is formed from the font name and the resolution (rounded to the nearest integer). The font may be in any format acceptable to Ghostscript, including .pfa, .pfb, .gsf, and .ttf files.

This program should normally be called by a script, such as mktexpk, to create fonts on demand.

gsftopk obtains the character widths from the .tfm file, which must exist in the standard search path. It also must be able to find the font in a map file (such as, formatted as in dvips(1)), unless the --mapline option is used. The set of map files is given by the --mapfile option, or in the files, $HOME/.dvipsrc, and config.gsftopk (as would be used by dvips -Pgsftopk).

The following pk jobname=font mag=1mode=modeless pixels_per_inch=__dpi



Set the Kpathsea debug flags according to the integer n.


Use a name of the form instead of font.dpipk.

-h, --help

Print a brief help synopsis and exit.

-i path, --interpreter=path

Use path as the Ghostscript interpreter.


Use file to look for the map information for font. This should be the full name of the file (in other words, no path searching algorithms are applied).


Use line instead of looking for an entry in a map file. The first word of line must match font.

-q, --quiet

Operate quietly; i.e., without writing any messages to the standard output.

-t, --test

Test run: return zero status if the font can be found in the map file(s), and nonzero status if it cannot. If this option is specified, then the dpi argument is optional (since the font will not be generated).

-v, --version

Print the version number and exit.



Colon-separated list of paths to search for the .tfm file associated with the font. An extra colon in the list will include the compiled-in default paths at that point. A double slash will enable recursive subdirectory searching at that point in the path.


Colon-separated list of paths to search for the Ghostscript driver file and for any !PostScript header or font files (.enc, .pfa, .pfb, .gsf, or .ttf files). Double slashes and extra colons behave as with TFMFONTS.


Colon-separated list of paths to search for map files. Double slashes and extra colons behave as with TFMFONTS.


Name of file to read instead of $HOME/.dvipsrc. This should be the full name of the file (in other words, no path searching algorithms are applied).


In order to determine the set of map files to be used and the path for finding !PostScript files, gsftopk reads, in order, the files, .dvipsrc, and config.gsftopk. The files and config.gsftopk are searched for using the environment variable TEXCONFIG, the Kpathsea configuration file, or the compiled-in default paths. The file .dvipsrc is searched for in the user's home directory.

These files are in the same format as for dvips (as well as being in the same locations). The entries used by gsftopk are as follows.

H path

Indicates that the Ghostscript driver file and the !PostScript header and font files are to be searched for using path.

p file

Indicates that the list of map files is to be erased and replaced by file.

p +file

Indicates that file is to be added to the list of map files.

All other entries are ignored.

This is similar to the handling of these options when running dvips -Pgsftopk. For more details, see the Kpathsea manual.


gsftopk sometimes has trouble with fonts with very complicated characters (such as the Seal of the University of California). This is because gsftopk uses the charpath operator to determine the bounding box of each character. If the character is too complicated, then old versions of Ghostscript fail, causing gsftopk to terminate with an error message

Call to gs stopped by signal 10

(The number may vary from system to system; it corresponds to a bus error or a segmentation fault.) The best way to fix this bug is to install a current version of ghostscript. As an alternative, gsftopk can be instructed to use the bounding box provided with the font (if one exists) instead of finding a bounding box for each character. To do this, include the string

/usefontbbox true def

in the font map file; e.g.,


This will not affect use of the font by dvips.


gs(1), gftopk(1), tex(1), xdvi(1), dvips(1)


Written by Paul Vojta. This program was inspired by Karl Berry's gsrenderfont.


Modified by Yves Arrouye to use Karl Berry's Kpathsea library.

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