[R] Exporting graphics to PS or EPS

Joel West MacStats at mac.com
Sat Aug 19 21:24:40 CEST 2000

On Fri, 18 Aug 2000 07:49:44 +0100, Brian D Ripley <ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk> wrote:
>On Thu, 17 Aug 2000, Paul E Johnson wrote:
>> My experience is that, if I output a gif that does not
>> fit on the page, then I've shot myself in the foot because resizing the
>> graph makes all the text in it too small.  I don't think postscript is
>> immune to this problem, but you can for sure convince me I'm wrong.  I

>It is.  After all, my books on S are done that way, as is much professional
>publishing.    If you want to incorporate graphs into other documents (not,
>say, a Web site) use a re-scalable vector format, namely postscript, PDF or
> (on Windows) W/EMF.

To second Prof. Ripley, the point of PostScript is that is a device-independent, resolution-independent page description language.

On Fri, 18 Aug 2000 10:36:53 -0400, Griffith Feeney <gfeeney at hawaii.edu> wrote:
>I don't have much experience with this, but I think you may want eps for 
>use in TeX documents. You might want to have a look at

You absolutely want to use EPSF or instead of PS for any graphic that you are going to paste into another document. That's the whole point. Raw PostScript is write-only and really only usable for immediate downloading to a printer or RIP.

EPSF provides additional context around the PostScript job so that it can be placed, and resized by programs that do not include a PostScript interpreter. It also includes a low-res bit image so that you can view the image on screen during editing. For a description of EPSF and various other vector and bitmap formats, see the Encyclopedia of Graphics File Formats from O'Reilly at

PDF was developed in the mid-90s as an editable prepress exchange version of PostScript. (That's why it's going to be the native graphics format for Mac OS X). A pretty good discussion of how it works can be found online at
An added benefit of PDF over EPSF is that there is a free viewer program from Adobe for Windows, Mac, and some of the major flavors of Unix.

Generating PDF is harder than EPSF, but it would be a nice extension to R someday.

Hope this helps.
Joel West <macstats at mac.com>
UC Irvine Graduate School of Management 
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