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What on earth is PSAlter?
This page is about PSAlter, a brand new PostScript tool
from Quite Software.
More detailed discussions and
walk-throughs, some with screen previews, are
available on various topics:
You can also go straight to ordering
or contact details. See also
Stop Press News (3 May 1997).
Since 10 May 1996 you are visitor number
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
- 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.
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.
If you have applications that support TWAIN, you may not even have
to use Export. PSAlter acts like a scanner to, in effect, scan
PostScript direct into your application.
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.
We have a walkthrough of some of the features of the
- 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
- 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.
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.
- PSAlter does not contain an
Adobe PostScript interpreter,
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 (3.1) and up, 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, 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 does not support full PostScript level 2, though you
can switch on support for a limited number of features. Why? We
thought you'd rather have PSAlter this year! The majority of PostScript
files in circulation are still level 1, and almost all programs can
produce level 1 PostScript, so this should not be a huge problem.
In fact, the level 2 features in PSAlter are designed to match those
most often used by programmers and drivers, so a high proportion of
level 2 programs will, in fact, work. We have a
list of level 2 features supported.
- 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).
So, how do I get it?
Ordering PSAlter is easy.
First,check the system requirements.
PSAlter needs Windows 3.1 upwards with
4 megabytes of RAM and 4 megabytes of hard disk space.
If you want to
view pictures at very high resolutions, especially in 24-bit colour,
more RAM may be needed. PSAlter has been subjected to limited testing
in Windows 95, Windows NT 3.51 (on Intel), and OS/2 Warp, and appears to work in
those environments too.
PSAlter is available at the introductory price of £200 (UK pounds sterling)
plus VAT at 17.5% (if you are in Europe), direct
from Atlantic Coast. Shipping is 4 pounds to the UK, 8 pounds to the rest of the
world. We accept major credit cards.
For information only: at the time of writing there are approximately 1.6 US dollars
to each UK pound, so 200 pounds is around 320 dollars. Rates vary.
If you like, you can download order forms and post
or fax them to us. Or call Atlantic Coast with your credit card now!
Atlantic Coast only handle sales, not technical enquiries. You can reach Atlantic:
In the UK, 'phone (01297) 552222, or fax (01297) 553366.
International, 'phone +44 1297 552222, or fax +44 1297 553366.
By post to Atlantic Coast plc, Station Road, Colyton, Devon, EX13 6HA, United Kingdom.
You can reach Quite Software, for all technical queries, as follows:
Please tell us how you found our pages!
- By e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- By post to Quite Software, 105 Ridley Road, Forest Gate, London, E7 0LX,
- By 'phone at +44 181 257 1044 (In the UK - 0181 257 1044)
- By fax to +44 181 522 1726 (In the UK - 0181 522 1726)
A new version of PSAlter is currently in beta testing. It will feature
full level 2, tools to help in diagnosing PostScript errors, and
a "pre-flight" reporting tool. Contact us for details.
If you buy now, you will receive PSAlter 1.01. If you send in your
registration form, you will receive a free upgrade
to the new version when the testing is complete!
Updated 3 May 1997.
Go back to Quite At Home.