Dealing with Postscript, Tex, PDF and Compressed Files

Dealing With Compressed Files

Many online articles are compressed postscript files with the suffix .ps.Z. If a compressed postscript file does not have this suffix then rename the file to a file of the form Now use the UNIX uncompress command to uncompress the file giving a file with the suffix: .ps.

If you're working on a PC and you need uncompress, one source for uncompress is the help desk at: The University of Victoria, Canada. A second source is: The Shareware Shop's "Shareware Archive Explorer". Directions for using these programs can vary from the UNIX standard.

Some files are gzipped and usually have the suffix .gz. Some gzipped files, like those from LANL do not have the .gz suffix, for these rename the file to .ps.gz or .tex.gz or whatever and then use gunzip to uncompress. Gunzip is available for many systems from

Postscript Files

Postscript files can be routed to a postscript printer or use ghostview to view them on the screen or use ghostscript to print them on your printer. Ghostscript and ghostview are available from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The packages includes 32-bit binaries for PCs and source code for other machines. Setting up ghostscript and ghostview on a PC is not particularly hard. Unfortunately there are often significant bugs in the PC version of ghostscript because I'm always running into articles that fail to print in their entirety. When I get a postscript file that ghostscript chokes on I edit the file to remove the pages (not the header!) that have printed, run the remainder through the ps2ascii command, delete the page that failed, print the ASCII version of the page and then resume printing the postscript file. The University of Wisconsin site also lists two versions for the Mac. I don't think I've ever had a problem with the Red Hat Linux 4.0 version. (Another reason to put Linux on your PC.)

Dealing with TeX

Physics papers are often available in TeX as well as postscript. If you get a file from the LANL archive it won't have any suffix but will be a gzipped file. If you have a TeX capability you might want to get the TeX version because these files are much smaller than the corresponding postscript files. Many of the papers require the use of other .tex or .sty files but they have these files at LANL. Even if you don't have TeX you can still read TeX files pretty easily unlike postscript files which are really unreadable. A free version of TeX for PCs is Emtex by Eberhard Matthes and is available by ftp from the standard TeX archive sites including:

Note: these will land you in the tex-archive directory of these systems and if you want emtex cd to systems/msdos/emtex. If you need TeX for some other system you will have to hunt for it. Before you go off and get emtex or any other version of TeX take note that I found emtex rather confusing to install because at the time I did not know anything about TeX. If you don't know TeX consider that before charging ahead.

For more sites see: The Comprehensive Tex Archive Network

If you have a Linux system there is tetex available, see the usual Linux sites, probably it is good on any UNIX system, mine works just fine.

PDF Format

Many physics papers and other documents now come in Adobe PDF format. For a PC you can go to: Adobe Acrobat Reader - Download. For a Unix/Linux version go to: Xpdf: A PDF viewer for X

If you have any questions or comments, write me.

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