Understanding XPS Documents

by Barry Dysert
(last updated March 6, 2017)

XPS (XML Paper Specification) documents are a bit like PDF documents. You might think of XPS as Microsoft's answer to Adobe's PDF. Both types of documents allow anyone to create and view them without paying royalties. XPS documents, though, provide a bit more information. In fact, they are actually a type of ZIP archive, containing the various files needed to accurately reconstruct the original document. (If you opened an XPS file with an unzipping utility you'd see that it contains folder structures and files.)

For example, one of the files included in an XPS document includes the fonts necessary to accurately reproduce the original image. XPS is designed primarily to transform onscreen content, such as Web pages, into printable documents. In addition to being viewable and printable, the XPS file can easily be searched and protected with digital rights management systems within Windows.

The use of XPS is recommended when you have a document that you don't want others to modify, when you want it to display on your screen exactly as it is displayed online, or for files that contain graphics that might display differently in print or on computers with different monitors.

 This tip (13016) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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