How to open XPS files

What is the XPS file format? It is Microsoft’s electronic paper format, an alternative to the PDF format. When printing from Windows machine, you have a choice to print to a file in case you have to print something but is not near to a printer. In the printer list, select "Microsoft XPS Document Writer", then prompted for file name and location. Are you done yet?

So far so good, but problem comes when you get access to a printer. How do you re-open this XPS file and print it on paper? It is very tricky. Double click on this XPS file, opens up a browser and starts to download this file. If you try to open this downloaded file, again downloading starts and never ends.

Of course, this does not happen if you have IE as the default browser. What happens is that XPSViewer.exe resides in \\WINDOWS\\SYSTEM32\\XPSViewer folder is not a normal application, but actually a IE plugin.

After some research on the internet, I found some alternatives, like using a standalone XPS viewer - http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/xps/viewxps.mspx; or download Microsoft XML Paper Specification Essentials Pack from this link
Microsoft download site
.

Here is a cool one: Install the IETab extension from http://ietab.mozdev.org,
Add a filter for xps extensions or modify the mht filter to read:
/\^file:\\/\\/\\/.\*\\.(mht|mhtml|xps)$/

Comments:

Let me introduce you to: http://www.primopdf.com/

Which allows you to print to a PDF file instead of XPS (and its free!). PDF is an ISO standard (32000-1:2008) which has support on just about every computing platform from multiple vendors. XPS is proprietary and not supported on non-MS platforms...

Posted by Che Kristo on November 12, 2008 at 04:56 PM PST #

Thank you! Che

Posted by Gang Chen on November 12, 2008 at 11:51 PM PST #

@Che: I beg to differ.

XPS is not proprietary - it is being standardized by ECMA (http://www.ecma-international.org/memento/TC46.htm)

XPS is supported on Mac and Linux also (NiXPS, Okular, etc...)

XPS virtual printer and viewer is available by default on Vista, and downloadable for free for Windows XP. And by 'free' I also mean 'free for commercial use' - check the license condtions of the software you refer to, there are some caveats.

Regards,
Nick.

Posted by Nick De Roeck on November 18, 2008 at 05:43 PM PST #

I think we all know what Che means. In the future, if xps can become widespread enough, support for non-M$ systems will suddenly vanish, forcing people who use .xps docs to move to M$ systems. ECMA is Microsoft's lapdog, don't take it seriously.

Posted by alesky on August 14, 2010 at 11:31 AM PDT #

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