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1. Why use Dvips?

The Dvips program has a number of features that set it apart from other PostScript drivers for TeX. This rather long section describes the advantages of using Dvips, and may be skipped if you are just interested in learning how to use the program. See section 2. Installation, for details of compilation and installation.

The Dvips driver generates excellent, standard PostScript, that can be included in other documents as figures or printed through a variety of spoolers. The generated PostScript requires very little printer memory, so very complex documents with a lot of fonts can easily be printed even on PostScript printers without much memory, such as the original Apple LaserWriter. The PostScript output is also compact, requiring less disk space to store and making it feasible as a transfer format.

Even those documents that are too complex to print in their entirety on a particular printer can be printed, since Dvips will automatically split such documents into pieces, reclaiming the printer memory between each piece.

The Dvips program supports graphics in a natural way, allowing PostScript graphics to be included and automatically scaled and positioned in a variety of ways.

Printers with any resolution are supported, even if they have different resolutions in the horizontal and vertical directions. High resolution output is supported for typesetters, including an option that compresses the bitmap fonts so that typesetter virtual memory is not exhausted. This option also significantly reduces the size of the PostScript file and decoding in the printer is very fast.

Missing fonts can be automatically generated if Metafont exists on the system, or fonts can be converted from GF to PK format on demand. If a font cannot be generated, a scaled version of the same font at a different size can be used instead, although Dvips will complain loudly about the poor aesthetics of the resulting output.

Users will appreciate features such as collated copies and support for `tpic', `psfig', `emtex', and `METAPOST'; system administrators will love the support for multiple printers, each with their own configuration file, and the ability to pipe the output directly to a program such as `lpr'. Support for MS-DOS, OS/2, and VMS in addition to Unix is provided in the standard distribution, and porting to other systems is easy.

One of the most important features is the support of virtual fonts, which add an entirely new level of flexibility to TeX. Virtual fonts are used to give Dvips its excellent PostScript font support, handling all the font remapping in a natural, portable, elegant, and extensible way. Dvips even comes with its own Afm2tfm program that creates the necessary virtual fonts and TeX font metric files automatically from the Adobe font metric files.

Source is provided and freely distributable, so adding a site-specific feature is possible. Adding such features is made easier by the highly modular structure of the program.

There is really no reason to use another driver, and the more people use Dvips, the less time will be spent fighting with PostScript and the more time will be available to create beautiful documents. So if you don't use Dvips on your system, get it today.

Tom Rokicki wrote and maintains the original Dvips program.

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