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EPSF - Encapsulated PostScript Files

By Mark Fleming, Copyright © 1992, 1995, All Rights Reserved.

Encapsulated PostScript files are special PostScript programs with a special header describing the width and height of the image and how to place the image on the page. This header allows other applications to blindly include the image, and rotate, scale, place the image in the correct position of the application's document for printing or displaying on postscript device.

EPS Preview images:

There are three different file format used to store EPS preview image. They are:
  1. a preview image are stored in a 'PICT' resource ID 256 in the resource fork of the Macintosh file.
  2. a preview image as a hex dump of the image as postscript comments in the EPSI file.
  3. a MS-DOS preview image of a TIFF or Windows Metafile place before or after EPS code. A 24 byte binary header describes the offset and size of the PostScript program and the type of preview image and it's offset and size.
Note: Preview image are of low resolution usually 72dpi, and B&W or 8bit color.

Many IBMpc software packages do not create true EPSF files your EPS file should start/end with something like this (not all comments { ie. lines starting with %%} are needed):

%!PS-Adobe-X.0 EPSF-X.0
%%Creator: Windows PSCRIPT
%%Title: Document2 name
%%BoundingBox: 18 19 593 774
%%DocumentNeededResources: (atend)
%%DocumentSuppliedResources: (atend)
%%DocumentFonts: (atend)
%%DocumentNeededFonts: (atend)


%%DocumentSuppliedResources: procset Win35Dict 3 1
%%DocumentFonts: Times-Roman Times-Italic
%%DocumentNeededFonts: Times-Roman Times-Italic

Note: Items listed after: %%DocumentNeededResources and %%DocumentNeededFonts are possible problems. If the fonts listed are NOT in the printer, then you need to include them in the EPSF file or download them to the printer. If the ProcSets listed in %%DocumentNeededResources must be downloaded or inserted in the file at the location of the %%InsertResource: <xxx> comment.

Not all Postscript file as EPSF files:

The following postscript operators can NOT be used in EPSF files (if they are then the file is not a true EPS file, and the result are unprodictable):

banddevice, exitserver, initmatrix, setshared, clear, framedevice, quit, startjob, cleardictstack, grestoreall, renderbands, copypage, initclip, setglobal, erasepage, initgraphics, setpagedevice

The following operators can be used with care:

nulldevice, sethalftone, setscreen, undefinefont, setgstate, setmatrix, settransfer

Macintosh File Type of: EPSF or TEXT

You can use the free drag and drop application CTC [Change creator and type]; to set the Macintosh file type to `EPSF' (or `TEXT' if you would like to read the postscript code).

MS-DOS extension: .EPS
MS-DOS extension: .PS (PostScript file and/or EPS files). WWW mime_type & extensions:

application/postscript ps, eps

For more information on PostScript and EPS files see:
PostScript Language Reference Manual, 2nd, Adobe Systems Inc., Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc. ISBN 0-201-18127-4

EPS Preview Converter Application (for MacOS)

EPS Preview converter will convert EPS preview from the three types of previews:
  1. TIFF Preview option
  2. EPSI preview and IBMpc B&W TIFF preview.
  3. Macintosh preview PICT (Resource ID=256)
It also has an option to export preview images as standalone TIFF or PICT files. PICT to EPS conversion process requires Apple's LaserWriter 8.x driver of Adobe's PSDriver 8.x selected in the Chooser.


NOTE: Drag & Drop of PICT file on this EPS translator will require you to re-build the desktop file.


Q. The quality of the EPS image printed is not very good.
A. If you do not have a Postscript printer, most programs like MS Word, ClarisWorks print the preview image only. This image usually of very low quality.

Q. I can't read the EPS file in my Application
A. Some applications will NOT read EPS file. Other require EPS File to have the correct file type set. C2C application can be used to set the file type.

Q. I can't see the EPS file in my Application
A. Some EPS files do not have preview images. Some application will not read all types of EPS preview images check the manual or contact the vendor of the application for detail about EPS support in the application.

File: EPS.html, Last Updated: 29 Apr, 1999, Copyright 1995, 1998-1999