XML Paper Specification (XPS)
What is XPS?
XPS Documents maintain a consistent appearance for documents—despite
environmental variables—through the use of a fixed page layout and
new technologies such as Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), the
Windows Color System, the Open Packaging Conventions, the XPS print
path, and XPS Viewer. Essentially, XPS-based technologies allow an
author to be much more certain that the next person to view or print
their document will see it exactly as the author intended.
XPS technologies offer benefits to users throughout the document
workflow, starting with authoring and viewing the document and
continuing through to storing and archiving. For starters, XPS
Documents are fixed-format documents described by an XML-based
language. This means the document layout is fixed, just as it would
be if it were printed on a piece of paper. As a result, XPS Viewer
and the XPS print path can present the document in the same way to
the user whether it is viewed in a window or on a piece of paper.
For more on this, take a look at the sidebar "Three
Paths to High Fidelity."
XPS Documents also support security features, such as digital
signatures, to provide greater document security. When applied to a
document, these digital signatures can help ensure the identity of
the author and the validity of the document content.
Custom resources and other application-specific metadata can also be
included in an XPS Document, allowing applications to create and use
XPS Document packages. These packages offer numerous benefits over
other file formats, including the ability to store and archive files
with all the content and design details in tact. XPS Document
packages describe their contents using a plain-text, XML-based data
format (rather than a proprietary binary format). And they contain
all the information related to the document and its particular
application. The XML Paper Specification describes this format in an
open and published specification provided to users and developers by
Microsoft under a royalty-free license.
The XPS Document package is a compressed ZIP archive that allows the
resulting file to regain some of the space efficiency that is lost
by using an XML-based language. The XPS Document package complies
with the Open Packaging Conventions. And the ZIP archive format
described in the Open Packaging Conventions is a published, open
specification that is included under the XPS license. Documents
created by the next version of Microsoft®
Office System (codenamed "Office 12") will also comply with the Open
Packaging Conventions. Using open specifications for both the
content and the storage format helps ensure that the document's
contents will be accessible long into the future. Further details
and downloads regarding XPS and the Open Packaging Conventions can
be found on the Microsoft Web site at XML Paper Specification.
The XML Paper Specification (XPS) makes modern documents possible
for all. Simply put, XPS describes electronic paper in a way that
can be read by hardware, read by software, and read by humans. With
XPS, documents print better, can be shared easier, be archived with
confidence, and are more secure.
Microsoft has integrated XPS-based technologies into the 2007
Microsoft Office system and the Microsoft Windows Vista operating
system, but XPS itself is platform independent, openly published,
and available royalty-free. Microsoft is using XPS to bring
additional document value to its customers, its partners, and the
Explore some of the features and functionality made possible by XPS.
In Windows Vista XPS document features are already in place. You can
generate XPS files from any application by printing and selecting
the Microsoft XPS Document Writer as the printer. You can view XPS
documents by simply double-clicking. They will automatically open
inside an XPS viewer.
For earlier versions of the Windows operating system, download the Microsoft XPS Document Writer to generate XPS files
from any Windows application and an XPS viewer to see the results.
Integrate XPS in Your Application
Your application can seamlessly integrate with enterprise-wide
workflows by implementing XPS publish, import, and view
functionality. The Windows SDK and .NET Framework 3.0 provide the
APIs to enable you to use XPS technologies in your Windows
Presentation Foundation (WPF) application.
The Windows Vista print sub-system was optimized to recognize and
process XPS documents. By implementing XPS in your application, your
customers can experience print quality previously found only in
high-end graphic arts applications.
The XML Paper Specification is designed to simultaneously support
innovation and format consistency so you can build custom
implementations that have a safety-net of backward compatibility.
This gives you the freedom to decide how and why to implement XPS in
your application completely on your terms.