Windows Server 2008: Understanding XML Paper Specification (XPS)

The XML Paper Specification (XPS) defines an open document format that uses Extensible Markup Language (XML) to create a document format that is platform-independent, openly-published and royalty-free.  The XPS format consists of XML markup that defines the composition of a document and visual appearance of each page along with rendering rules for displaying or printing […]

The XML Paper Specification (XPS) defines an open document format that uses Extensible Markup Language (XML) to create a document format that is platform-independent, openly-published and royalty-free.  The XPS format consists of XML markup that defines the composition of a document and visual appearance of each page along with rendering rules for displaying or printing the document.  XPS Support in Windows Server 2008 provides a new foundation for applications that are based on the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) graphics subsystem that was introduced in Windows Vista.  XPS Support enhances the print architecture of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 by improving print fidelity and performance while retaining support for the GDI-based print subsystem used in previous version of Windows.

The XPS print architecture addresses the following long-term market directions and customer requirements for printing:

  • Increased demand for color laser printing
  • Increased demand for true color fidelity
  • Increased use of advanced graphics and color

There are some key features of the new XPS technologies to be aware of.  The XPS viewer can be used to view, manage and print XPS documents.  The XPS viewer may be installed as a .NET Framework 3.0 feature on Windows Server 2008.  It is installed by default on Windows Vista.  To enable XPS features on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, the XPS Viewer and XPS Essentials pack can be downloaded from the Microsoft web site.  The XPS Viewer is built upon the WPF DocumentViewer control that is included in the .NET Framework 3.0 runtime components and is implemented as an eXtensible Application Markup Language (XAML) Browser Application (XBAP) that runs in Internet Explorer as shown in the image below.

Basically, XPSViewer.exe is a wrapper for the DocumentViewer control with additional UI controls for various features.  Please note that XPSViewer.exe is a 32-bit only process.

The Microsoft XPS Document Writer print driver allows XPS documents to be generated from any application with print capabilities.  Thus, even an application that is not written for the Windows Presentation Foundation can create an XPS document by printing to the XPS Document file writer.

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Microsoft, WS2008, Windows Server 2008, XML, XPS, Paper, Specification, Printing, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Knowledgebase