pstoedit translates PostScript and PDF graphics into other vector formats.

Supported Formats

Currently pstoedit can generate the following major formats:

  • Tgif .obj format (for tgif version >= 3)
  • .fig format for xfig
  • pdf - Adobe's Portable Document Format
  • gnuplot format
  • Flattened PostScript (with or without Bezier curves)
  • DXF - CAD exchange format
  • LWO - LightWave 3D
  • RIB - RenderMan
  • RPL - Real3D
  • Java 1 or Java 2 applet
  • Idraw format (in fact a special form of EPS that idraw can read)
  • Tcl/Tk
  • HPGL
  • AI (Adobe Illustrator) (based on - not a real pstoedit driver - see notes below and manual)
  • Windows Meta Files (WMF) (Windows only)
  • Enhanced Windows Meta Files (EMF) (Windows, but also Linux/Unix if libemf is available)
  • OS/2 meta files (OS/2 only)
  • PIC format for troff/groff
  • MetaPost format for usage with TeX/LaTeX
  • LaTeX2e picture
  • Kontour
  • GNU Metafile (plotutils / libplot)
  • Skencil ( )
  • Mathematica
  • via ImageMagick to any format supported by ImageMagick
  • SWF
  • CNC G code
  • VTK files for ParaView and similar visualization tools

Besides these some further very special formats are supported. See the pstoedit.htm for a complete list of available drivers.

The following formats are available as additional plugins on a shareware basis. See for more details.

  • (Frame)Maker Intermediate Format (MIF)
  • CGM Format (both binary and textual)
  • SVG - scalable vector format. One candidate of the W3C for a web standard for vector drawings. See for more details.
  • Better Enhanced Windows Meta Files (EMF) (supports curves and compound pathes and does more accurate text formatting) (Windows only)
  • RTF (MS Word) (Windows only)

Implementing support for other formats should be very easy. The architecture of pstoedit consists of a PostScript frontend which needs to call a PostScript interpreter like Ghostscript and the individual backends which are pugged into a kind of framework. This framework can be used independently from the PostScript frontend from any other program. The framework provides a uniform interface to all different backends. You need a C++ compiler to compile and GhostScript to run pstoedit. pstoedit should run on all Un*x like systems (including cygwin) and has also been ported to OS/2, Windows 9x/NT/2K/XP/Vista, and RiscOS.

Since version 3.00 it is possible to add new drivers without even recompiling the core program. pstoedit can load additional drivers as plugins.


You can download pstoedit:

In case of download problems, visit this page via the alternate URL.

pstoedit can also be used from within gsview via the "Edit|Convert to vector" menu.

More Information

You get can more information from:

pstoedit also cooperates with autotrace. Autotrace can produce a dump file for further processing by pstoedit using the -bo (backend only) option. Autotrace is a program written by a group around Martin Weber and can be found at

Related Links

Some links more or less related to pstoedit can be found here.

Primary Author

Wolfgang Glunz email:

Mailing List

There is an e-mail list for people that want to be informed about updates and bug-fixes related to pstoedit and importps.

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Wolfgang Glunz email: