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General Purpose PostScript Generating Utility

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General Purpose PostScript Generating Utility

GNU a2ps is a filter which generates PostScript from various formats, with pretty-printing features, strong support for many alphabets, and customizable layout.

This is Edition 4.13 of the a2ps documentation, updated 6 February 2000.

1. Introduction  Foreword
2. User's Guide  Beginner should start here
3. Invoking a2ps  The command line options
4. Configuration Files  Tuning your a2ps
5. Library Files  Dynamic extension of a2ps
6. Encodings  Supporting various charsets
7. Pretty Printing  Support for source files
8. PostScript  PostScript specific informations
9. Contributions  Tools around a2ps
10. Frequently asked questions  Frequently Answered Questions
A. Glossary  Small Dictionary
B. Genesis  History of a2ps
C. Copying  Your rights and ours
Concept Index  Most words used in here


1.1 Description  What a2ps is
1.2 Reporting Bugs  What to do when you face problems
1.3 a2ps Mailing List  Getting news about a2ps
1.4 Helping the Development  How to contribute

User's Guide

2.1 Purpose  What a2ps is made for
2.2 How to print  The basis
2.3 Important parameters  What needs to be set
2.4 Localizing  How to have a2ps speaking your language
2.5 Interfacing with Other Programs  Using a2ps from common programs

How to print

2.2.1 Basics for Printing  Printing text files
2.2.2 Special Printers  Some useful fake printers
2.2.3 Using Delegations  Printing special files (PS, DVI etc.)
2.2.4 Printing Duplex  Doing Fancy Things
2.2.5 Checking the Defaults  Is it set the way you want?

Interfacing with Other Programs

2.5.1 Interfacing With a Mailer  Printing Mails or News
2.5.2 Netscape  Interfacing with Netscape

Invoking a2ps

3.1 Command line options  
3.2 Escapes  Strings ready to use in the headers

Command line options

3.1.1 Tasks Options  Exclusive options
3.1.2 Global Options  Settings involving the whole process
3.1.3 Sheet Options  Specify the layout on the sheet
3.1.4 Page Options  Specify the virtual pages
3.1.5 Headings Options  Specify the headers you want
3.1.6 Input Options  How to process the input files
3.1.7 Pretty Printing Options  Source files support
3.1.8 Output Options  What should be done of the output
3.1.9 PostScript Options  PostScript specific options


3.2.1 Use of Escapes  Where they are used
3.2.2 General Structure of the Escapes  Their syntax
3.2.3 Available Escapes  Detailed list

Configuration Files

4.1 Including Configuration Files  Isolating site specific values
4.2 Your Library Path  Setting the files search path
4.3 Your Default Options  Default state of a2ps
4.4 Your Media  Sheets dimensions
4.5 Your Printers  How to access the printers
4.6 Your Shortcuts  Your very own command line options
4.7 Your PostScript magic number  Handling very old printers
4.8 Your Page Labels  Page names as in Ghostview
4.9 Your Variables  Short cut for long sequences
4.10 Your Delegations  Delegating some files to other filters
4.11 Your Internal Details  Details you might want to tune

Your Variables

4.9.1 Defining Variables  Syntax and conventions
4.9.2 Predefined Variables  Builtin variables

Your Delegations

4.10.1 Defining a Delegation  Syntax of the definitions of the delegations
4.10.2 Guide Line for Delegations  What should be respected
4.10.3 Predefined Delegations  Making the best use of these delegations

Library Files

5.1 Documentation Format  Special tags to write a documentation
5.2 Map Files  Their general shape and rationale
5.3 Font Files  Using other fonts
5.4 Style Sheet Files  Defining pretty printing rules

Font Files

5.3.1 Fonts Map File  Mapping a font name to a file name
5.3.2 Fonts Description Files  Needed files to use a Font
5.3.3 Adding More Font Support  Using even more Fonts


6.1 What is an Encoding  The concept of encoding explained
6.2 Encoding Files  How a2ps handles the encodings

Encoding Files

6.2.1 Encoding Map File  Mapping an encoding name to a file name
6.2.2 Encoding Description Files  Specifying an encoding
6.2.3 Some Encodings  Classical or standard encodings

Pretty Printing

7.1 Syntactic limits  What can't be done
7.2 Known Style Sheets  Some supported languages
7.3 Type Setting Style Sheets  a2ps as a tiny word processor
7.4 Faces  Encoding the look of pieces of text
7.5 Style Sheets Semantics  What is to be defined
7.6 Style Sheets Implementation  How they should be defined
7.7 A Tutorial on Style Sheets  Step by step example

Type Setting Style Sheets

7.3.1 Symbol  Access to the glyphs of the Symbol font
7.3.2 PreScript  Typesetting in an a2ps like syntax
7.3.3 PreTeX  Typesetting in a LaTeX like syntax
7.3.4 TeXScript  Typesetting in a mixture of both

PreScript Syntax  Lexical specifications PreScript Commands Examples  

PreTeX Special characters PreTeX Commands Differences with LaTeX  

Style Sheets Semantics

7.5.1 Name and key  Both names of a style sheet
7.5.2 Comments  Author name, version etc.
7.5.3 Alphabets  What words are legal
7.5.4 Case sensitivity  Is BEGIN different of begin
7.5.5 P-Rules  Pretty Printing Rules
7.5.6 Sequences  Strings, comments etc.
7.5.7 Optional entries  Second level of pretty printing

Style Sheets Implementation

7.6.1 A Bit of Syntax  Lexical rules of the ssh language
7.6.2 Style Sheet Header  Declaration of a style
7.6.3 Syntax of the Words  Classes of the Characters
7.6.4 Inheriting from Other Style Sheets  Extending existing style sheets
7.6.5 Syntax for the P-Rules  Atomic Pretty Printing rules
7.6.6 Declaring the keywords and the operators  Special Classes of Identifiers
7.6.7 Declaring the sequences  Bordered Lexical Entities
7.6.8 Checking a Style Sheet  Ask a2ps to Check the Sheet

A Tutorial on Style Sheets

7.7.1 Example and syntax  ChangeLog files
7.7.2 Implementation  Implementation of chlog.ssh
7.7.3 The Entry in `sheets.map'  Getting automatic style selection
7.7.4 More Sophisticated Rules  Complex regular expressions
7.7.5 Guide Line for Distributed Style Sheets  Additional Constraints


8.1 Foreword: Good and Bad PostScript  How to lose, how to win
8.2 Page Device Options  Accessing some printers' features
8.3 Statusdict Options  Some other features
8.4 Colors in PostScript  Specifying a color or a gray
8.5 a2ps PostScript Files  Convention for PostScript library files
8.6 Designing PostScript Prologues  Make it look like what you want

Designing PostScript Prologues

8.6.1 Definition of the faces  What goes in a characters style
8.6.2 Prologue File Format  Including documentation
8.6.3 A step by step example  


9.1 card  Printing Reference Cards
9.2 fixps  Fixing Some Ill Designed PostScript Files
9.3 fixnt  Fixing Microsoft NT PostScript Files
9.4 pdiff  Produce Pretty Comparison of Files
9.5 psmandup  Printing Duplex on Simplex Printers
9.6 psset  Inserting calls to setpagedevice


9.1.1 Invoking card  Command Line Interface
9.1.2 Caution when Using card  card runs commands


9.2.1 Invoking fixps  Command Line Interface


9.3.1 Invoking fixnt  Command Line Interface


9.4.1 Invoking pdiff  Command Line Interface


9.5.1 Invoking psmandup  Command Line Interface


9.6.1 Invoking psset  Command Line Interface

Frequently asked questions

10.1 Why Does...?  Questions on Error
10.2 How Can I ...?  a2ps' How-To
10.3 Please tell me...  Existential Questions on a2ps

Why Does...?

10.1.1 Why Does it Print Nothing?  The printer issues nothing
10.1.2 Why Does it Print in Simplex?  While I asked for Duplex
10.1.3 Why Does it Print in Duplex?  While I asked for Simplex
10.1.4 Why Does it Not Fit on the Paper?  Some parts are missing
10.1.5 Why Does it Print Junk?  Random characters
10.1.6 Why Does it Say my File is Binary?  And refuses to print it
10.1.7 Why Does it Refuse to Change the Font Size  

How Can I ...?

10.2.1 How Can I Leave Room for Binding?  Specifying Margins
10.2.2 How Can I Print stdin?  Using a2ps in a pipe chain
10.2.3 How Can I Change the Fonts?  Tired of Courier?
10.2.4 How Can I Simulate the Old Option `-b'?  Printing in Bold
10.2.5 How Can I Pass Options to `lpr'  Disable the banner
10.2.6 How Can I Print on Non PostScript Printers?  Using GhostScript
10.2.7 How Can I Print Man Pages with Underlines  Now it Prints With Italics

Please tell me...

10.3.1 Is a2ps Y2K compliant?  Printing dates in short format
10.3.2 Why Have the Options Changed?  Respect The Users
10.3.3 Why not having used yacc and such  Why Using Style Sheets


B.1 History  Where does it come from
B.2 Thanks  People who really helped
B.3 Translators  People who brought support of your tongue

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