How to Open, View or Create XPS Documents in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003

»»»How to Open, View or Create XPS Documents in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003

XPS (XML Paper Specification) which previously codenamed “Metro”, is a document storage and viewing specification developed by Microsoft which defined formats and rules for distributing, archiving, rendering, and processing XPS documents. XPS format intends to compete with Adobe PDF format as both is displaying paginated, fixed-layout format electronic paper documents in page-by-page view of the document’s content as it would be printed.

Since Windows Vista, including Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, or later and their server equivalent, all Windows OS has built-in integrated Microsoft XPS Document Viewer and XPS Document Writer. And likewise for Microsoft Office productivity suite. Since Microsoft Office 2007 (requires Save as XPS plugin), including Office 2010, Office 2013, Office 2013 or later, all Office apps allows user to create and save as XPS files within Office application. However, if you’re using Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, you to download and install the free XPS Viewer and XPS Writer.

In Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, to add in the capability to open to view and create XPS documents, you can either download Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 or Microsoft XML Paper Specification Essentials Pack .

XPS document viewing and generation capabilities are included in Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0. With .NET Framework 3.0, the XPS files will open within Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher.

Meanwhile Microsoft XPS Essentials Pack contains the XML Paper Specification (XPS) Viewer to read and index XPS Documents, and the Microsoft XPS Document Writer to output files to the XPS Document format, plus providers to enable the iPreview and iFilter capabilities found in many Windows applications. Windows shell handlers are also included to enable thumbnail views and file properties for XPS Documents. When you select this Essentials Pack option, XPS documents will open in standalone viewer.

Microsoft XPS Document Writer is a print-to-file converter that allows you to create or generate a XPS documents from virtually any Windows applications by printing a file, page, webpage, documents, text and etc to the XPS Document Writer as how you print to a printer. It comes by default with both download package.

Other than Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 with latest service pack, Windows 2000 with latest service pack is also supported by Microsoft XPS Essential Pack 1.0 to enable the viewing and creation ability of XPS documents.

Microsoft XPS Document Writer requires Microsoft Core XML Services 6.0 (if you download .NET 3.0 Framework, this is not needed) to be installed on your system and Windows Media Photo support in the Microsoft Essentials Viewer requires that the Windows Imaging Codecs update package be installed on your system, which is part of .NET Framework 3.0.

About the Author:

LK is a technology writer for Tech Journey with background of system and network administrator. He has be documenting his experiences in digital and technology world for over 15 years.Connect with LK through Tech Journey on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.
  • Senthil


    I want to convert the xaml window into the xps format.

    Help me plz…

    Thank in advance


  • Senthil

    how to convert the xaml into xps

  • Any other XPS viewer other than the XPS viewer from MS.

  • dejar de hablar asi. ser comico.

    ja ja ja ja

    ademas, no entender para que servir convertir xps a xml.

    ademas, tu ser care tonto, ser care wea. ja ja ja

    ser weonados mermelá's

  • James
  • SM

    It Helps A lot, SM.

  • Olav

    It still wasn't obvious to me how to open the .xps document once I'd saved it with Vista. My primary browser is Firefox, and it wouldn't open there. But once I selected Internet Explorer to open it with, the saved file was readable. Hope this helps someone.

  • Sasank

    Olav, your solution worked for me, "once I selected Internet Explorer to open it with, the saved file was readable"….

    Thank You very much….CHeeeeeeeeeeeers..


  • Gilberto Martins

    Olav, thanks for posting. It is working in IE browser!!!

    Thank you!!!

  • Pingback: How to open and view the xps document « Daily 2 Minutes learning (D2ML)()

  • Jim

    "Olav, thanks for posting. It is working in IE browser!!!"

    Hmmm … M$ proprietary format (XPS) for M$ proprietary applications (M$ Office) can only be opened by M$ proprietary viewer (XPSViewer) when using M$ proprietary browser (IE). Okay. What is the question? Seems pretty normal to me. Why would anyone expect this to work from Firefox or any other non-M$ browser? Did something freeze over when I wasn't looking?? 😉

  • Jane

    I think the best XPS Viewer for now is XPS Annotator. XPS Viewer for XP or Vista is not satisfactory even XPS Viewer EP.

  • Kiki

    If you want to view XPS documents in Firefox, just install the plugin available here.

  • Rohini

    how to create the thumbnail of an xps document

  • Rohini

    how to create thumbnail of an xps document

    • Jakes

      Rohini, if you change the file extension from .xps to .zip, then double-click it, Windows will open it like a zipped file. In one of the folders will be the thumbnail in .jpg format. Cheers.

  • JanKass

    I was unable to open any XPS file, because it always tried to open it in Firefox. If I tried to launch directly XPS Viewer, nothing happend.
    Solution, workaround, was extremely simple. Just set the default program to open .xps files to IExplorer. Problem solved.

    • Throwaway

      Thank you! This worked for me after hours of frustrations

  • freddo

    Olav your solution is work for me smoothly…mwah

  • kimo

    thank you veryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy much