What on earth is PSAlter?
This page is about PSAlter, a PostScript tool from Quite Software. More detailed discussions and walk-throughs, some with screen previews, are available on various topics:
- View Mode (viewing PostScript files)
- Encapsulated PostScript conversion
- Introduction to the PSAlter workbench
- Font handling details
PSAlter is a unique and powerful tool for working with PostScript in Microsoft Windows. Do you know what PostScript is? If not, PSAlter probably isn't for you, but you still might be interested in our Introduction to PostScript.
So assuming you have a passing interest in PostScript, what can PSAlter do for you? Here are the big things.
- PSAlter can view PostScript files on screen.
- PSAlter can convert PostScript files to a variety of formats.
- PSAlter has the only serious PostScript debugging environment available.
- PSAlter is the only PostScript application to give comprehensive explanations for all PostScript errors, as they occur, with the option to ignore or (possibly) fix them, and continue. PSAlter 1.5 includes even more tools to help solve PostScript errors - fast.
- PSAlter can produce "pre-flight" reports including full, accurate, font information.
What's that about viewing files?
PSAlter has an easy to use View Mode to allow you to preview PostScript files on screen.
Tell me about conversion!
PSAlter can convert to the popular TIFF and BMP bitmap formats. Also, PSAlter take almost any single-page PostScript file and convert to Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) complete with a preview.
What about this debugging environment?
There are other PostScript viewers and converters available, but PSAlter's PostScript Workbench is unique. It allows you to treat PostScript as the programming language it deserves to be.
Here are just some of the features of the Workbench.
- Run PostScript programs flat out, or single step. Single stepping is not a line at a time (which is all our closest rival can manage) but right into procedures.
- Set breakpoints on a variety of conditions.
- Open viewers for PostScript data including all stacks, graphics state, and any PostScript object. Follow to embedded objects just by double clicking.
- View partial pages. You can overlay the current path and clip path to see how the PostScript program builds up images.
- Browse and edit large programs (up to tens of megabytes) quickly.
- Set 'watches' to see the current value of any object.
- Enter Executive mode to type your own PostScript commands at any time, even while another program is running.
- Support full level 2 PostScript, or run PSAlter in level 1 compatability mode. PSAlter even has a "strict" mode to check for common PostScript problems that can cause difficulties on some printers.
We have a walkthrough of some of the features of the workbench available.
PSAlter has sophisticated font handling and substitution facilities, described in a separate article.
What's the bad news?
We don't believe in pretending PSAlter is something it isn't. So check these points out.
- The interpreter in PSAlter is not made by Adobe, and is in no way endorsed by Adobe Systems. It therefore joins the long list of PostScript clones referred to as PostScript compatible .
- PSAlter is for Microsoft Windows (95, 98, Me, NT, 2000) only.
- PSAlter is not free. This may seem a strange thing to bring up, but PSAlter will inevitably be compared with GhostScript, which is free. We believe PSAlter offers features which make it worth the difference - mainly ease of installation and use, tools for finding the causes of PostScript errors, and facilities for debugging.
- PSAlter does not have a 'print' facility, to allow you to turn a non-PostScript printer into a PostScript printer. There seem to be enough such programs already.
- PSAlter is not a graphical editor. You can edit PostScript programs, but not modify the images on screen. One program which claims to do just this is Corel Draw (version 5 and above) and Adobe Illustrator (version 7 and above), but both are limited to single-page PostScript files..
So, how do I get it?
Ordering PSAlter is easy.
First,check the system requirements. PSAlter needs Windows 95 or above (including Windows 98/Me, and Windows NT 4.0/2000 on Intel platforms and Windows XP). We recommend 8 megabytes of RAM, which isn't much of a problem these days. If you want to view pictures at high resolutions, especially in 24-bit colour, more RAM will be needed.
PSAlter is available for just £200 (UK pounds sterling) plus VAT at 20% (if you are in Europe), direct from Quite Software. Shipping Free unless you require a specialist postal service. We accept major credit cards.
Simply e-mail or fax an order to us. See our contact page for details.
You can also purchase PSAlter from our web store but we do ask you to have tried it first before you buy as this is quite a specialist tool. Please contact us for a temporary license to run PSAlter and details of how to purchase this way.
You can reach Quite Software, for all technical queries again using the details on our contact page.
A 32-bit version of PSAlter is now available. This supports long file names and is 2-3 times faster. Registered users can proceed to http://www.quite.com/psalter/special, with their serial number ready, to download this as a free upgrade.
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