Microsoft XPS document stands for XML Paper Specification and it a file format like Adobe’s PDF. It is not a content specific format and can display any kind of content in it. It could be a picture, text, spreadsheets or anything which can be displayed by a PDF file. Microsoft has kept the XPS reader for free but editing an XPS document would involve money. Any document created by any of the Microsoft’s application can be saved as XPS document by using a file printer known as XPS Document Writer. It comes pre-installed in Windows Vista and later operating systems and can be manually installed in older version of Windows. Details of installing the XPS document writer, and the XPS document Viewer are given in the end of this article and we will first describe the method of creating an XPS document.

Creating an XPS document is very simple and just requires the XPS document writer to do the same. We are assuming that you had XPS document writer preinstalled on your computer or you have installed it manually. We will also discuss the steps of creating the XPS document using Microsoft Office Word 2010, but similar steps can be followed for creating XPS files from other office applications. Let us start the process. Open Microsoft Office Word 2010 and compose a new document. Enrich it the way you want by adding tables, pictures, hyperlinks etc. Once you are done creating the document click on the File Menu and then Click on Print. When the Print window comes up you will find that there is a drop down on the top from where you can select the printer to be used. In the same list you will find “XPS Document Writer” listed. Select XPS Document Writer and click on Print. It will next ask you to specify the location and name of the XPS file which you are creating and once you specify this information; your file will get created.

In case you somehow delete the XPS Document Writer or if you are on Windows XP which does not have inbuilt XPS Document writer then you can install it manually. You can do this by installing the XPS Document suit from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=b8dcffdd-e3a5-44cc-8021-7649fd37ffee&displaylang=en#Requirements. Installation of the complete suit is important if you are installing it on Windows XP because there are several other components which Windows XP requires for working of this writer. This suit contains the Microsoft XPS Document Viewer and Microsoft XPS Document Writer. It also contains the Windows Shell handlers for displaying the thumbnails of your XPS documents in the explorer if it is set to thumbnails view. The size of this suit is around 22 MB and can be installed on Microsoft Windows 2003, Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows Vista.

It is quite possible that your computer has got the XPS viewer installed but still it is not able to open the XPS files. This can be checked in Windows Features Window and can be turned ON if it is OFF. This can be done by opening the control panel and then opening Programs and Features. In Programs and features click on Turn Windows Feature On or Off. When you get the Windows Features box scroll it down and look for XPS Viewer under Microsoft.Net Framework 3.0 heading. Make sure that this option is checked.