This part of the Dissecting XPS series will focus on some XML Paper Specification tools that are available as of today.

The success of XPS, vs PDF and others, are really depending on the number of supported devices, operating systems and tools. Right now the XPS support is limitied in applications outside the Microsoft Windows sphere, but there are plans for other operating systems. (Maybe Silverlight will boost this with the CoreCLR).

Windows Vista

Windows Vista has the tools you need to create XPS documents by using the Microsoft XPS Document Writer printer. Just hit Print in any application and select the XPS Document Writer and voila - you have a fixed page XPS document.

Windows Vista also have a built-in XPS reader, which allows you to view XPS files.

Microsoft Office 2007

Microsoft Office 2007 has a free plug-in for publishing documents to XPS format. Propably the best way to create XPS files.

XPS Essentials Pack

XPS Essentials Pack deliviers a stand-alone XPS viewer and other utilites for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, read my previous post about it.


NiXPS NiXPS is an interesting software company, with a product with the same name that is used for changing and checking XPS files. NiXPS v1.0 is currently in beta and is available for Windows 2000/XP/Vista as well as for MacOS 10. This product is not for viewing XPS files, instead NiXPS is currently developing a shared C/C++ XPS library - so any creative developers out there: here is your chance to create some nice XPS viewers. Follow the development at their blog.

Open Xml Package Explorer

Not really an XPS tool but Package Explorer is a nice Office Open Xml application created by Wouter van Vugt. It is created for Office Open Xml documents but since XPS files are built on OPC, which Package Explorer supports, Package Explorer might be extended to support XPS files in the future. Package Explorer is available at CodePlex. Maybe if I get time and Wouter allows it I’ll have a look at it :-)

Other tools

Here are some other useful XPS utilities

Do you have any other tools worth mentioning, have I missed any?