Viewing Postscript & PDF files

ICSD for WWW uses the lazy program, which is a version of the University of Geneva's Lazy PulverIx, together with Tim Pearson's pgplot library, to produce postscript or PDF plots of either X-ray, synchrotron or neutron powder diffraction patterns. (The PDF file option is only available if the administrator has installed a recent version of Ghostscript on his ICSD server - already installed in the "jaws" Windows server; Ghostscript converts the postscript file to the popular PDF format, for which most users already have a browser plug-in).

You do NOT need to install lazy or pgplot to use this feature, but you WILL need to install the Adobe Reader, or else a postscript viewer such as GSview or Ghostview using Ghostscript. Some Unix and X-window systems also have built-in postscript viewers, which might be used. Without such a viewer, you will still be able to save the postscript file and send it to your local postscript printer.

The advantage of PDF or postscript is that the transmitted file is relatively small, yet the plot can be viewed and printed at high resolution, compared to the usual WWW Gif file.


  • For postscript viewing with GSView, set Options/DSC Warnings to off
  • MS Internet Explorer sometimes cannot find/open the postscript file - use PDF instead.
  • Use Acrobat-6 with MSIE, and uncheck the Acrobat Edit/Preferences/Internet/Display-PDF-in-browser box .
  • If you are using your own Windows server on the same machine, open Acrobat-6 first (timing).
  • Mozilla Firefox does not have these problems :-)
  • You can also Copy the file to your disk, reset the extension to "ps" and open it there.

    How to set up to make life easy on Unix computors

    You must add the following to your Unix .mailcap and .mime.types files if you want Ghostscript to automatically open when it encounters a postscript file. (You can do the equivalent for Macintosh and Windows in the menu set-up) :

  • To .mime.types add:
    type=application/pdf exts=pdf
    type=application/postscript exts=ps

  • To .mailcap add something like:
    application/postscript; ghostview %s; description="Postscript document"
    application/pdf; acrobat %s; description="PDF document"

    The ICSD database is copyright © 2018 by Fachinformationszentrum (FIZ) Karlsruhe
    Please report technical problems with ICSD for WWW to alan.hewat[a]neutronoptics.com (Alan Hewat).