In a futile attempt to create a complete environment, Microsoft launched an alternative to the .PDF file format. Introduced along with Windows Vista, the Microsoft XPS document writer was thought to have replaced PDFs in the desktop environment but failed to do that drastically.
So, What Is An XPS File?
An XPS file format was Microsoft’s attempt to replace the PDF file format, which is still the dominated printable document postscript file format. The XPS stands for Open XML Paper Specification and is in fact quite similar to the PDF file format albeit with some constrictions.
Usually, an XPS file has most of the features you would expect from a printable document. A file printed to this format will have a fixed layout that cannot be edited in any capacity. The file can be digitally signed, and there is support for DRMs.
What Is The Microsoft XPS Document Writer?
The Microsoft XPS document writer is actually a printer driver for the .XPS file format. This driver allows you to create files with .XPS file format from any application that allows you to print documents. These include MS Word and other text editors, web browsers, document readers, etc.
Although the attempt failed spectacularly, Microsoft still includes built-in support for the XPS file format in Windows 10. Moreover, the functionality seems to be improving with each Windows version. There is a reader along with the XPS document writer, which means you can create the XPS documents natively.
How To View XPS Documents In Windows 10?
To view XPS documents, you will have to install the XPS Viewer from the Settings app. Simply follow these steps for the same:
- Open the Settings app. You can use the keyboard shortcut Win + I.
- Click on Apps. You should see Apps and Features selected from the left pane.
- In the right pane, locate and click on Optional features.
- Click on + Add a feature button.
- From this list, click on the Install button that is revealed when you click on XPS Viewer.
Now simply wait for the app to be installed, which will allow you to view XPS documents natively in Windows 10.
Note: For some weird reason, unless the XPS viewer is installed, the Print option is also unavailable from the right-click context menu in Explorer for XPS documents.
How To Print Files Using Microsoft XPS Document Writer In Windows 10?
While I am unsure about the use cases of the XPS file format as everybody has become familiar with the PDF format, you might still find the use in certain situations. If you cannot get a PDF writer installed on your computer, you can try to print a file to XPS format for printing.
Thanks to the XPS document writer driver, you can print to .XPS or .OXPS file format directly from the app that you are using for printing.
- Open the print dialog. The shortcut for this is usually Ctrl + P, but it may vary according to the application.
- Next, locate the drop-down box that is associated with the available printers.
- Here, locate and select the Microsoft XPS document writer printer from the list.
- Select the location where you wish to save the document, and save the file.
While printing to XPS has become redundant, if you have some older XPS documents, you can open them using the XPS Viewer. Else, you can convert them to PDF using online converters or PDF. Now you know what the Microsoft XPS document writer is. Comment below if you found this useful, and to discuss further the same.