A comprehensive guide to installing and using XPS viewer on your Windows 11 computer — with a bonus alternative as well.
XPS or XML Paper Specification was developed by Microsoft to compete with the popular format PDF or Portable Document Format. Although people hardly use XPS these days, it’s not obsoletely out of the system. On rare occasions, you may encounter an XPS file.
Until version 1803 of Windows 10, an XPS Viewer was built within the Windows operating system. Unfortunately, the XPS format failed to play against PDF, and Microsoft discontinued shipping it with the Windows OS. But, as we said, the viewer is not completely incompetent. This guide will show how you can get the XPS viewer on your Windows 11 computer to access an XPS file that you can’t otherwise.
What is an XPS File?
XPS or XML Paper Specification is a format developed by Microsoft. This format can hold information like the appearance, layout, and structure of a document alongside the text. XPS was meant to rival the PDF format, which it never managed to achieve.
Documents in XPS format have a .xps or .oxps file extension. This format supports color independence and resolution independence. It also supports printer calibration, transparencies, CMYK color spaces, and color gradients among other things.
XPS Viewer is Microsoft’s official application to view and edit XPS documents. The XPS viewer no longer comes bundled with the operating system in Windows 11. Although, Microsoft did give the option to add the viewer as an additional feature to the OS.
With the XPS Viewer, you can not only view any .xps or .oxps files, but you can also digitally sign them if necessary. You can also use XPS viewer to set permissions to the XPS file or even convert them to into PDF files. Now, here’s how you can easily install XPS Viewer on your Windows 11 computer.
How to Install XPS Viewer on Windows 11
To get the XPS Viewer, first, go to ‘Settings’ from the Start Menu. Or hold the Windows+I keys together to launch the app.
From the Settings window, select ‘Apps’ from the left list of options.
Now, click on the ‘Optional features’ tile on the right panel.
Click the ‘View features’ button on the ‘Add an optional feature’ tile located on the Optional features settings window.
You will see a new ‘Add an optional feature’ window. Here, type ‘XPS Viewer’ in the search bar to filter the available features. The XPS Viewer feature will be of around 3.27MB in size.
Tick the box next to XPS Viewer to select it and click the ‘Next’ button.
Then, click on the ‘Install’ button.
Now, on the Optional features window, under the ‘Recent actions’ section, you will see that the XPS Viewer is installing. Let it finish to have the XPS Viewer at your disposal.
How to Use XPS Viewer on Windows 11
After you have successfully installed XPS Viewer, it is time to use it. To open XPS Viewer on Windows 11, search ‘XPS Viewer’ in the Start menu search and select the app from the search results.
On the XPS Viewer window, click on the ‘File’ option from the toolbar.
Then, select ‘Open…’ from the dropdown menu to select an XPS file.
Navigate to the location of the saved XPS file from the File Explorer window. Click to select the file and then click on ‘Open’.
Now you will be able to view the document on the XPS Viewer window.
How to Convert an XPS Document to PDF Using XPS Viewer
With XPS Viewer you can not only view .xps or .oxps documents but, you can also convert them into PDF using Microsoft Print to PDF feature. To do this, you need to have the XPS document open. Click on the ‘Printer icon’ at top of the screen.
On the Print window, select ‘Microsoft Print to PDF’ under the Select Printer section. Then click on ‘Print’.
A File Explorer dialog will open. Save the file in your desired directory. Then, go to the folder where you want to save the converted PDF file. Give it a recognizable name, and then click on ‘Save’.
And it’s done. You will see the conversion process in a small XPS Viewer window and your converted PDF file will be saved.
Also read: How to Merge Two PDF Files
How to Uninstall XPS Viewer
If for some reason, you wish to uninstall XPS Viewer from your Windows 11 computer, these simple steps will help. Start by launching ‘Settings’ from the Start menu.
Select ‘Apps’ from the left list of options on the Settings window.
Scroll to find and select ‘Optional features’ on the ‘Apps’ panel.
On the Optional features window, scroll to locate and click on ‘XPS Viewer’. Then click on ‘Uninstall’.
Under the recent actions section, you will see ‘Uninstalled, restart required’. Now, restart your computer to completely remove XPS Viewer from your system.
Online XPS Viewer & Converter
If you are in a hurry to convert one or two XPS documents you can use online converters. There are multiple websites where you can convert XPS to PDF. One such site is XPS to PDF. It’s a clean conversion site. You can drag and drop your XPS file to convert it into PDF or click on the ‘UPLOAD FILES’ button after selecting the proper conversion tab.
Select the XPS file you want to convert from the File Explorer window and click on ‘Open’.
The XPS file will convert to PDF on the browser window. You can save the converted file by clicking on the ‘Download’ button.
And this is how you can use an online converter to easily convert XPS files to PDF files.