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DocumentID: spt011532
Last Updated: June 9, 2011
What is XPS and How to Use It
With the introduction of Client Presentations, PortfolioCenter has incorporated a new file format for presentations
called .xps, similar to .pdf. When you run a Batch Process Job within Presentation Studio, you can now select the
option to print the presentations to the XPS file format. The following document discusses what XPS is, lists
characteristics of the XPS and PDF files for comparison, and discusses how to use XPS files in your office.
What is XPS
Similar in principal to Adobe® PDF, Microsoft® XPS (XML Paper Specification) format is a distribution format
developed by Microsoft to allow electronic information to be transferred between various types of computers.
Many Windows® operating systems already have Microsoft XPS Document Viewer and XPS Document Writer
built in, so you can begin using these files right away. If you do not already have the Microsoft XPS Viewer or
Document Writer, you can download and install it from Microsoft’s download page at
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/. Make sure to select the Microsoft XPS Essentials Pack download or the
Windows 7 & Windows Server 2008 R2 XPS Viewer download since they contain the standalone viewer
Comparing XPS files to PDF files
XPS and PDF are similar files: they can both be used to display, share and print paged documents. There are,
however, a number of differences between them that you should be aware of before you decide to use one over
the other. The following is a list of characteristics for XPS files and PDF files to help you compare and decide
which file type is best for your firm.
Characteristic XPS Files PDF Files
Costs XPS provides a combination XPS reader and
creator from their download website at no cost.
There are many free programs to view PDF
files, but creating or editing tools, such as
Acrobat® Professional, are only available for
Compatibility XPS viewers are only available on Windows
Vista®, XP, 7, and 2003 Server. XPS files are
also only supported in the Internet Explorer®
web browser and cannot be opened in other
web browsers
PDF is a true cross-platform solution, with
viewers available for a wide range of
platforms: Windows; Macintosh®; Symbian,
Palm OS® and Windows Mobile for mobile
devices; Linux; HP-UX®; AIX® and Oracle®
Solaris6. Adobe PDF files are compatible with
the following web browsers using a Windows
operating system: Internet Explorer, AOL,
Mozilla®, Firefox® and Safari®. Safari is also
the only web browser compatible with PDF files
on a Mac OS® operating system.
What is XPS and How to Use It Page 2 of 3
Characteristic XPS Files PDF Files
Security XPS format does not allow users to edit
information within the document. The XPS
Document Writer tool only allows a user to
“print” documents to an XPS format.
PDF files have multiple ways to secure your
documents depending on which version you
are using. You can disallow changes to
anything in the document, disable copying of
text, images, and other content, disable
printing, assign security levels, and encrypt
your document.
Printing Quality XPS specifies that all fonts used in a
document are embedded within the file and
renders on-screen colors and images to paper
better than other technologies. If you
experience issues with PDF documents
looking different on your printer from the
rendered report, using the XPS format can
solve this.
PDF allows documents to be created where the
correct appearance is dependent on a specific
font being available, but that font does not
need to be embedded within the file. Thus, a
user viewing or printing the document on a
system where that font is not available will not
see the page as intended.
Market Share XPS is still virtually unknown to consumers so
there might be some push back from your
clients on using this format. If you have your
client reports professionally printed, you might
also want to check with your printing company
to determine if they are capable of printing
XPS files.
PDF is currently the most popular way of
saving and exchanging static documents so
they can be easily read on any computer. Many
people know PDF and own the tools to modify
and process PDF files.
How Do You Use XPS Files?
XPS files let you view and print a document as it was originally designed. The following section lists multiple
ways that you can use XPS files in your office and provides a high-level overview on how to navigate in XPS
Document Viewer.
If you are going to be offering your presentations in the form of XPS files, it is a good idea to reference
the Microsoft® download website anytime you send the reports to your clients until they are familiar with
the new format. This allows them to get the viewer easily without having to perform a search for it.
♦ Printing – Use XPS files to produce a high-quality print job in situations where precise page layout and highresolution images are key. With XPS files, what you see on your screen is exactly what you will see from
your printer.
♦ Online Content – XPS files are useful for taking high-quality reports and making them available on the
internet. Not only are your client’s reports secure (can only be read, not altered), you can also be sure that
they will display correctly. Keep in mind that XPS files are only viewable in Internet Explorer® web
browsers. If you choose to use XPS files as you main report format, there may be a few clients who will
require PDF files if they prefer to use Safari® or other web browsers.
♦ File Exchange – XPS files are good for sending reports to your clients via secure e-mail or a file vault. Not
only is it in a compact format, but it can also store metrics and information about its own appearance (layout,
What is XPS and How to Use It Page 3 of 3
fonts, content, color, etc.) within the document itself. This means that it will not have to rely on the fonts and
settings that may or may not be installed on your client’s computer to display properly.
♦ Archiving – When compressed, XPS files can be very compact, so it is ideal for storage. File layout is
retained and can be viewed on Windows® platforms. In addition, XPS files are searchable, making archived
documents and items much easier to find, categorize, and organize.
Navigating in XPS Document Viewer
Using XPS Files is similar to using PDF files. When you click on a XPS document, your XPS Viewer program
will open, displaying the selected report. From here, you can search for specific data within the report or print the
report to you printer.
To create a XPS formatted document, you must use a software program that allows you to create documents in
this format or you can use the Microsoft XPS Document Writer. The Microsoft XPS Document Writer is a printto-file converter that allows you to create or generate a XPS documents from virtually any Windows® application
by printing a file, page, webpage, document, text, etc. to the XPS Document Writer the same way you would
normally print to a printer. Once you download the XPS Document software, you will see the Microsoft XPS
Document Writer with the rest of you printers.
As in any toolbar, you can use the icons or use the drop-down menus to navigate. Below, is a list of a few of the
navigation features in Microsoft XPS Viewer.
♦ Opening – To open a document that is stored on your computer, you can either select the folder icon on the
toolbar or select File | Open from the menu bar.
♦ Searching – To find text within an XPS document you can use the search feature on the right has side of the
toolbar, or select Edit | Find from the menu bar.
♦ Printing – To print your XPS document, you can either select the print icon from the toolbar or select File |
Print from the menu bar.

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