On OS X, is there a good application to open PS files without converting them to PDF?

In addition, I want to associate PS.GZ files to this application, but retain the TAR.GZ association to my uncompressor. Is this feasible?

  • Hello! Regarding the opening: Have you tried to open the PS files directly with Preview.app?
    – myhd
    Aug 24, 2012 at 12:47
  • 2
    Also, would you consider splitting your question, which is actually two questions, into two articles? Your second question will gain visibility, and it will be easier for people to help you.
    – myhd
    Aug 24, 2012 at 12:49
  • Try math.tamu.edu/~tkiffe/macghostview.html
    – lhf
    Aug 21, 2023 at 10:46

6 Answers 6


There are several possibilities:

  • Preview.app (comes with OS X) will open any PS (PostScript) file. In the background, I assume, a conversion to PDF takes place, but this should not be an issue.

  • Adobe Illustrator can open and edit PostScript files. Shelling out a rather big amount of money for just viewing a PS file seems overkill, though. However, there is a free 30-day-trial (link from January 2013 for CS6).

  • PostView by Metaobject is said to support PostScript as well, but I personally am not convinced / could not get it to work.

My personal recommendation: Use Preview.app!

  • 6
    Note that Preview cannot "open any PS file" -- it is limited to Postscript files that are structured in such a way that Preview can convert them to a PDF, and then it displays the PDF. That means that hand-coded PostScript may not be compatible, but the output of any commercial application should be.
    – user116575
    Mar 1, 2015 at 19:47
  • 1
    I've never had a problem with hand-coded PostScript in Preview. I'd argue that if it's valid PS, Preview can open it.
    – benwiggy
    Jul 18, 2020 at 17:57
  • 4
    Preview on the latest MacOS no longer supports .ps files, see macrumors.com/2022/10/25/…
    – gen
    Mar 10, 2023 at 14:58
  • See also apple.stackexchange.com/a/460945/22769
    – lhf
    Aug 21, 2023 at 10:41

FWIW, as of 2023, Preview no longer supports postscript files. Which is pretty annoying if you like to hand write postscript.

From that Apple note, a nice to know is that you can directly drag a ".ps" file on to the printer queue and it will be printed (assuming your printer talks postscript!):

If your printer supports PostScript, you can continue to print .ps and .eps files by dragging them into your printer queue: select your printer in Printers & Scanners settings, click the Printer Queue button, then drag the file into the printer queue window to print it.

To let me view a .ps in macOS I’ve installed the ghostscript suite, which includes tools to convert .ps files to pdf files. There're options for installing at Installing Ghostscript on Mac OS X.

I took the brew option: brew install ghostscript.

There's no "ghostscript" app or command installed, but you get a whole bunch of tools, and one is ps2pdf that will take your ".ps" file as an argument and write a similarly named ".pdf".


Problem: I recently encountered this problem and found Preview.app was unable to open a *.ps file.
Solution: Changing the extension to *.eps allowed the files to be opened automatically (i.e. double-clicking on the *.eps file converted the file to PDF and opened it in Preview.app).
Caveat: However, YMMV.


It's worth pointing out that in Sonoma (macOS 14), Apple has removed the PostScript interpreter altogether from the OS. PostScript is no longer supported as an interpreted graphics medium. (The OS will still output PostScript for printers to interpret.)

So any solution will require a third-party app that has PS-interpreting capabilities. (Plenty of old apps relied on the OS to do that, and they were just a front-end.)

GhostScript does come with a viewer app, and that's still probably your best bet.


To answer your first question:

No need to download anything to open the *.ps file without converting just open your terminal.

open -a textedit filename.ps

It will open a *.ps file like Ultraedit.


In 2023, the only software on my Mac (Ventura 13.3) that can render a PostScript file is GIMP, which is free/open source.

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