PostScript error: undefined

A PostScript error ‘Undefined’ indicates a name or definition in the PostScript code is not known to the RIP. The error can be caused by numerous things such as missing dictionaries, imported graphics, data corruption, communication problems, or missing PostScript header information.

General solutions

  • Some offending commands indicate a possible problem with the driver settings or printer support files. Updating drivers or switching to an alternative driver might solve the problem.
  • You can also try to copy and paste all elements to a new file. If the document was converted from a previous version of an application, try printing again from that version.
  • A strange word as an offending command: Sometimes a RIP generates an ‘undefined’ PostScript error, with an offending command ‘bspt’ or another randomly chosen kind of technical term like ‘fob’ of ‘xtrfx’. Such errors indicate that the RIP tries to execute a command that has not been defined in the PostScript file.
  • In a lot of cases, PostScript error “undefined” issues are caused by incorrect drivers:
    • PostScript drivers that are corrupted or that are vendor-specific (e.g. you try printing to a Tektronix printer using an HP driver)
    • PPDs that are too old or too new.
    • PPDs that should be used for another device.
  • Some applications that put themselves in-between your application and the RIP can also cause this kind of problem: try printing without passing through a spooler or OPI-system. Use another imposition software or try to avoid using your trapping software.
  • Sometimes the name of the offending command indicates which application is causing the problem. I remember a customer who by accident had deleted a number of PostScript files from his Preps folder. Subsequently, Preps kept generating ‘undefined’ errors because its print files lacked the necessary code. We found this rather quick because the offending command started with ‘SS’ or so, something that we linked to ScenicSoft, the makers of Preps.

Specific errors

PostScript error undefined offending command D

On Macs running Leopard the above error can pop up with a wide range of printers including the HP LaserJet 1200 and HP PSC 1610xi. Installing and using a Gutenprint driver seems to resolve the problem. An alternative solution is to deactivate error reporting, as documented in this procedure on disabling PostScript error reporting.

PostScript error undefined offending command -some number-

One of the visitors of this site reported the following error printing from Corel Draw to a Xitron RIP: %%[ Error: undefined; OffendingCommand: -0,00709 ]%%. The number in the offending command uses a comma instead of a decimal point. Since PostScript requires the use of decimal points, it fails to recognize that this is a number.

PostScript error undefined offending command -some random characters-

If the offending command contains random characters, too much data have been supplied for an image. Scan, edit or import the image again. The same error may also indicate problems transferring the file (network incorrectly terminated, bad cables, buggy drivers,…) or corrupted data.

PostScript error undefined offending command -one random character or nothing at all-

If the offending command is a single unprintable character or apparently nothing at all (e.g. %%[ ERROR: undefined; OFFENDING COMMAND: ]%% ), you may have a Control-D character in the file that is being printed in a context where it is not required (e.g. from a Mac or Unix system). You could try to remove the Control-D in the PostScript print file – it will usually be the very first or last character (or both). Some printer drivers have an option to either include or omit CTRL-Ds. Make sure the driver isn’t configured to send control-Ds either before or after the job.

PostScript error undefined offending command -from this list-

Check if the offending command is one of the following: colorimage, currentcmykcolor, currentcolorscreen, currentcolortransfer, currentglobal, currenthalftone, currentpagedevice, setcmykcolor, setcolorscreen, setcolorspace, setcolortransfer, setglobal, sethalftone or setpagedevice. If that is the case you may be trying to either print a color file to a black and white device or you are trying to print a PostScript level 2 file to a PostScript level 1 printer or RIP. Most printer drivers allow you to define whether a print file is color or black-and-white and whether the code is level 1 or level 2. Correct your settings and print again.

PostScript error undefined  for PageMaker files containing PhotoStyler images

When you print a PageMaker 5.0x or later document that contains TIFF images saved in PhotoStyler 2.0, a PostScript error “undefined” can occur. Open those TIFF images in PhotoShop, save them again, and update the links in PageMaker to get around this problem.

PostScript error undefined  for files from a Barco system

I have also encountered ‘Undefined’ PostScript errors when ripping files created by a Barco system. Apparently the Barco system started all of its PostScript files by 128 characters containing Barco-specific information. As long as such a file was sent to a Barco RIP, there was no problem but other RIPs choked on the Barco data. Our customer got around the error by adding the following PostScript code at the beginning of each file:

%! /dummy 128 string def currentfile dummy readstring

This code made the RIP ignore the next 128 characters in the file. The most recent version of the Barco system solved this problem.

Also check

There are several commands that can cause “undefined” PostScript errors. Click on a specific offending command to get a more detailed error description: @PJL, AGMCORE_gstack, aldusdict2, bdef, ct_cffdict, CT_T3HdrDICT , fhiscomposite , fontsave , get, INF, ISOLatin1Encoding, mmxpr3, Is2016andT32?, md, pdfmark, pkng, pR, savelevel1, set, setcolorspace, TM

23 thoughts on “PostScript error: undefined

  1. /undefined is the most common PostScript error. If you try to interpret a random stream of bytes as PostScript, most likely, it will fail with this error.

    For instance, /undefined in II* indicates, that you are trying to interpret a TIFF file as PostScript.

    Please contact Coscript Consulting for professional resolution of PostScript and PDF issies: [email protected] or +1 (610) 529 3475.


  3. Error: /undefined in H.S
    Operand stack:
    –nostringval– PermitFileReading –nostringval– PermitFileWriting –nostringval–
    Execution stack:
    %interp_exit .runexec2 –nostringval– –nostringval– –nostringval– 2 %stopped_push –nostringval– –nostringval– –nostringval– false 1 %stopped_push 1914 1 3 %oparray_pop 1913 1 3 %oparray_pop 1897 1 3 %oparray_pop 1787 1 3 %oparray_pop –nostringval– %errorexec_pop .runexec2 –nostringval– –nostringval– –nostringval– 2 %stopped_push –nostringval–
    Dictionary stack:
    –dict:1166/1684(ro)(G)– –dict:0/20(G)– –dict:80/200(L)– –dict:95/300(L)– –dict:17/200(L)–
    Current allocation mode is local
    MiKTeX GPL Ghostscript 9.00: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

  4. Thanks its work….

    Open the file you get the error from with adobe.
    Go to print. in the first window press advanced.
    select ( Send for each pages)

  5. Please help!

    i am having this error after printing 34 to 35 pages of images on printer hp color laserjet 6015

    ERROR: undefined

  6. I am having an issue converting my pmd (pagemaker) files to pdf. My error boxes say “vale in the postscript file is out of range.” It recommends moving some elements off the page. it also says “offending command: image.” It seems though that the printer has trouble with anything on the bottom half of the page. Any recommendations? Thanks 🙂

  7. I use Adobe Acrobat 9 everyday. I am unable to print now; the document will print but in reduced size on 1/2 of the page. It shows Error: undefined and Offending Command: Pscript_WinNT_Compat. My OS is Windows 7 x64. Can somebody help me?

  8. I’m trying to print from Corel Draw 12 to print separations, but all that comes out is a piece of paper that says:

    ERROR: undefined



  9. We use Adobe Acrobat 9 everyday. We are unable to print now; the document will print but in reduced size on 1/2 of the page. It shows Error: undefined and Offending Command: Pscript_WinNT_Compat We called Adobe, but they were unable to help us.

    1. I have the same problem at my work. When we encounter a pdf document that prints only half page and then “offending command” error (for example “~”) then we just open the document in Foxit Reader instead of Adobe Reader and document prints just fine.

  10. Worked for me to Sonny – thanks heaps – now there is a fix for those users in my organisation who insist on updating their acrobat reader.

  11. This can be solved by doing following things although im using adobe 9 pro but got same error:
    Open the file you get the error from with adobe.
    Go to print. in the first window press advanced.
    Klick on PostScript-Alternatives (dont know if this is the exact name in english versions since im using swedish version.) Anyway after klicking there you will se a list saying something like: Rules for fonts and resources: Send after blabla.
    Change this to Send after each page.
    This solved the problem for me. I came to think of this because the first page seem to print ok allways.

  12. I also have the same problem as Eric & Ron. It would be great if someone could help!

    I think this only happens with PDFs (I mainly print PDFs). It prints the first & second pages without a problem, but the third page just has that error. The serial before +Arial-BoldMT changes each time i print.


    1. run a per-flight and imbed the non-embedded fonts, that should handle the Arial MT and error message.

  13. I have the same issue as described by Ron… can anyone assist?

    “Ron says:
    December 14, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    offending command: PYIQGE+Arial-BoldMT

    could this be a driver problem?”

  14. Hi,
    I keep getting “undefined” PostScript error when I try to print a Word document with data coming from a merge file (printing covers for school reports). The first page prints for the first student, followed by the PostScript error page. This hapens in a seemingly haphazard way. I can get several errors and then the same data will print OK on a subsequent attempt. I thought this was happening when I printed several batches in quick succession, but it happens also if I wait a few minutes before initiating the next batch. Can someone enlighten me what causes this error and how to fix it/avoid it?

    1. It looks like you are running into data corruption, possibly caused by some communication issue. If available, try printing the same jobs from a different system or see if you cannot find an alternate way of getting the data to the printer.

  15. /undefined error be reported in 2 different situations.
    1. PS interpreter tries to look up a name but cannot find it on the dictionary stack. This case is well known.
    2. Some required attribute is missing from the dictionary operand. E.g. Error: /undefined in –image– means that am attribute is missing from the operand of the image operator.

  16. A postscript error keeps coming up labelled as undefined, offending command: pgsv. The file itself is a native Indesign(CS3) file with black and white type(outlined) only. There are no graphics. The files are sent to a Xitron RIP and output on Herkules Pro imagesetter. Any possible solutions?

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