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2.4 Configuring

In interactive mode, or when given the -V option (the default when running Asymptote on a single file under MSDOS), Asymptote will automatically invoke the PostScript viewer gv (under UNIX) or gsview (under MSDOS to display graphical output. These defaults may be overridden with the configuration variable psviewer. The PostScript viewer should be capable of automatically redrawing whenever the output file is updated. The default UNIX PostScript viewer gv supports this (via a SIGHUP signal). Version gv-3.6.3 or later (from is required for interactive mode to work properly. Users of ggv will need to enable Watch file under Edit/Postscript Viewer Preferences. Users of gsview will need to enable Options/Auto Redisplay (however, under MSDOS it is still necessary to click on the gsview window; under UNIX one must manually redisplay by pressing the r key). A better (and free) multiplatform alternative to gsview is psview (see psview).

Configuration variables are most easily set as Asymptote variables in an optional configuration file config.asy see configuration file). Here are the default values of several important configuration variables under UNIX:

import settings;

Under MSDOS, the (installation-dependent) default values of these configuration variables are determined automatically from the Microsoft Windows registry. Viewer settings (such as psviewer and pdfviewer) can be set to the string cmd to request the application normally associated with the corresponding file type.

For PDF format output, the gs setting specifies the location of the PostScript-to-PDF processor Ghostscript, available from

The setting pdfviewer specifies the location of the PDF viewer. On UNIX systems, to support automatic document reloading in Adobe Reader, we recommend copying the file reload.js from the Asymptote system directory (by default, /usr/local/share/asymptote under UNIX to ~/.adobe/Acrobat/x.x/JavaScripts/, where x.x represents the appropriate Adobe Reader version number. The automatic document reload feature must then be explicitly enabled by putting

import settings;

in the Asymptote configuration file. This reload feature is not useful under MSDOS since the document cannot be updated anyway on that operating system until it is first closed by Adobe Reader.

The configuration variable dir can be used to adjust the search path (see section Search paths).

By default, Asymptote attempts to center the figure on the page, assuming that the paper type is letter. The default paper type may be changed to a4 with the configuration variable papertype. Alignment to other paper sizes can be obtained by setting the configuration variables paperwidth and paperheight.

The following configuration variables normally do not require adjustment:


Warnings (such as "unbounded" and "offaxis") may be enabled or disabled with the functions

warn(string s);
nowarn(string s);

or by directly modifying the string array settings.suppress, which lists all disabled warnings.

Configuration variables may also be set or overwritten with a command-line option:

asy -psviewer=gsview -V venn

Alternatively, system environment versions of the above configuration variables may be set in the conventional way. The corresponding environment variable name is obtained by converting the configuration variable name to upper case and prepending ASYMPTOTE_: for example, to set the environment variable

ASYMPTOTE_PSVIEWER="C:\Program Files\Ghostgum\gsview\gsview32.exe";

under Microsoft Windows XP:

  1. Click on the Start button;
  2. Right-click on My Computer;
  3. Choose View system information;
  4. Click the Advanced tab;
  5. Click the Environment Variables button.

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