Convert XPS to PDF

This article applies only to novaPDF. If you don't have it yet, you must download it first.

Feb 25, 2019

novaPDF Printer 1.x - 8.x
Internet Explorer 9.x+
XPS IE browser plugin v1.0+
XPS Viewer v1.0+
Windows Reader

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Convert XPS to PDF

This tutorial shows how to use novaPDF to convert an XPS file to a PDF document. novaPDF is a PDF converter that allows creating PDF files from any windows application that supports printing. If you do not have novaPDF installed, use the Download page to download and install it.

On this page:

XPS (XML Paper Specification) is a fixed file format developed by Microsoft similar to PDF but based on XML instead of the PostScript language. By installing novaPDF you can easily convert XPS files to PDF documents. Once you have chosen novaPDF as a printer, simply press the Print button and your XPS format will be converted to a PDF.

Convert XPS to PDF using Internet Explorer

XPS documents can be converted to PDF files directly from Internet Explorer using the open source XPS Viewer plugin.

To convert XPS to PDF from Internet Explorer:

  1. Open Internet Explorer and click on the Menu Gear-> File-> Open and select the XPS file you want converted to PDF (or drag the XPS file and drop it in the Internet Explorer window)

  2. Once opened, right-click on any page (or click on the Menu Gear) and select Print  (or press Ctrl+P)

  3. From the Select Printer section choose novaPDF and click on Print. You will be asked where to save the PDF document and once you click OK the PDF will be generated and saved

xps pdf

Video Tutorial Internet Explorer

Convert XPS to PDF using a separate XPS Viewer

Microsoft XPS Viewer comes installed by default on Windows 7/8 and can be an alternative to open and print XPS files to PDF.

To convert XPS to PDF from Microsoft XPS Viewer:

  1. Open XPS Viewer (in Windows 8 click on the Windows button and start typing XPS Viewer to open it)

  2. Go to File->Open (or press Ctrl+O), browse for the XPS file you want to convert to PDF, select it and click Open

  3. Go to File->Print (or press Ctrl+P) and from the Select Printer section choose novaPDF. Before creating the PDF file you can customize novaPDF's settings by using the Preferences button

  4. Click on Print and choose a location where you want the PDF document saved

xpsviewer pdf

Video Tutorial XPS Viewer EP

Windows Reader is another application that is able to open XPS files. Windows Reader is distributed with Windows 8 and will open by default XPS and PDF files (if the file type association is not modified). Here are the steps to open XPS files and convert them to PDF with Windows Reader:

  1. Double-click on the XPS file (if you haven't changed the default file association in Windows 8) to open it in Windows Reader.

  2. Press Ctrl+P to open the list of printers in Windows Reader (or right-click on the opened document and from the bottom icons click the Print one). Click on novaPDF from the list of available printers to select it.

  3. In the print window that slides make any necessary adjustments and after that click on Print to finalize the process and create the PDF.

windows reader


XPS was developed by Microsoft as an alternative for Adobe's PDF format and it was first implemented with the Microsoft Windows Vista and Office 12 platforms. It is similar in many ways to PDF but acts more like a ZIP archive file, containing all the files necessary to recreate a document on any system (if the XPS extension is changed to ZIP, all the files related to the XPS document can be viewed). Unlike PDF, XPS is not a dynamic file format and it is designed primarily to transform onscreen content such as websites into static printable documents.

PDF format advantages:

  1. Popularity: For more than ten years, PDF has been the most popular way of saving and exchanging documents so they can be easily read on any computer and sent to any printer without the need of extra drivers

  2. Standardization: PDF has an ISO standard as a document sharing and archiving format (PDF/A)

  3. Interactivity and fidelity: PDF offers support for a wide range of system platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD, Amiga) and element types (images, text, fonts, sounds, forms, programs), while offering an optimum quality/size ratio by compressing data without any significant quality losses.

PDF format disadvantages:

  1. Dependable: The PDF document needs separate programs installed for reading or creating the files

  2. Outdated: The base language for the PDF file (PostScript) is old in comparison with the XML language used for the XPS document

XPS format advantages:

  1. Windows Integration and Support: XPS is integrated in Windows Vista and Windows 7 by default and it is optimized for Microsoft Office applications and Internet Explorer, leading to a flawless output. It also has a standalone reader and a wide support for the previous operating systems (Windows XP/2003)

  2. Technology: XPS has a more modern language based on XML rather than the PostScript language used on PDF.

XPS format disadvantages:

  1. Limited platform support: The XPS format support on other platforms (Mac, Linux) is limited or does not exist yet

  2. Reduced usage: XPS has a very low adoption rate compared to PDF.

  3. Dependable: Even if the format is well supported on Windows Vista and Windows 7, it needs separate programs installed for creating and viewing the format on previous operating systems