Windows-XPS-ViewerWhen consumers think of going green, they often imagine solar panels, recycling everything they use and using less energy. They do not think of the simple ways they can use less when it comes to technology. When Microsoft developed Windows 7, they wanted to do their part to be environmentally friendly way. That is where the Windows XPS Viewer came into play.

The Windows XPS Viewer is a printer-free way of saving documents, accessing them and working with them without printing them. This saves paper, allows you to have access to your documents no matter where you are and gives you the chance to work with them in ways you would if you had printed them.

Let us take a look at how the Windows XPS Viewer works.

What is the Windows XPS Viewer?

The Windows XPS Viewer is a program that allows you to view and work with XPS file formats. XPS stands for XML Paper Specification. It can be used in a variety of formats and can easily be created from just about any Windows-based program. Even if you no longer have the software on your computer, you can still open and work with the XPS files you create.

You can do the following with XPS files:

  • Save copies
  • Search through the files
  • Zoom in or out
  • Digitally sign
  • Set up permissions

How to install Windows XPS viewer

The first step to using the Windows XPS Viewer is to ensure it is enabled on your operating system. For the most part, it is installed with every version of Microsoft Windows. However, while tinkering and playing around with your system, you may have inadvertently turned it off or uninstalled it.

Click on your “Start Menu.”

Start Menu

Now, click on the “Control Panel.”

Control Panel

From there, you want to look under the Programs and Features header. Click on “Turn Windows features on.”

Programs and features

A pop-up will appear with a variety of Windows features, it will take a few seconds to load. Once loaded, you want to scroll down and locate XPS Services and XPS Viewers. Make sure these boxes are checked; if not, check them and click “Ok.”

Turn Windows features on and off

Windows will then install both and when finished, you will be able to work with XPS files.

How to use Windows XPS Viewer

If you have an XPS file, it will automatically open in the Windows XPS Viewer. There is nothing you need to do to make that happens. It is automatically associated with the XPS Viewer.

The Windows XPS Viewer is utilized to view, search through, set permissions and sign XPS files. These files can be created in a handful of other programs, such as the Microsoft Office suite.

At the top of the Windows XPS Viewer, you have a toolbar, a search area and the help guide.

At the top left, you will see the toolbar. It includes three drop down menus: File, Permissions and Signatures.

Windows XPS Viewer toolbar

Click on “File.”

Windows XPS Viewer file

You will find the common options for the document here, such as Open, Save as…, Print and more.

Now, click on “Permissions.”

Windows XPS Viewer permissions

This is where you set the permissions for the open XPS file. In order to begin setting permissions, you want to click on “Choose default account…” From there, you will click on “Add new account…” and go through the steps to create an account and set it as the default.

Finally, click “Signatures.”

Windows XPS Viewer signatures

You can then either sign the document or request signatures if you are sharing it with others. In order to sign a document, you must have already created a digital signature. There are a variety of digital signature software programs you can use, so make sure you have set one up first to sign any XPS documents.

You can also request signatures by clicking “Request signatures…”

Request signatures

Here you will enter in the names of those you need signatures from, the date by which you need them to sign and why you are requesting signatures. Click “Request” to save these options.

Now, the next time you or someone else opens the XPS file. They will see at the top that signatures are requested. If they click on that bar, a sidebar will open for them to sign.

Signature requested

Click on the signature area.

Click here to sign

You can now fill in the details requested, then click “Sign” to continue.

Digitally sign this document

At the top right hand of the Windows XPS Viewer, you will see a search box. If you type in what you are looking for and click enter, you will be given the results back of what you searched for.

Searching and help in Windows XPS Viewer

You can also click the “?” mark to access the help files for the Windows XPS Viewer.

These are the basics of the Windows XPS Viewer. For now, it is a very easy way to work with documents without having to print them out.

How often will you use the Windows XPS Viewer?

Most Windows 7 users have no idea it comes with a built-in XPS Viewer. In fact, many consumers do not even know this file format exists because they are so used to working with PDFs when it comes to the types of things XPS does.

XPS is a worthy alternative to PDF but since many do not use it, it may not be the most compatible way to share documents. As more users become comfortable with the format, it will become a more widely accepted way to work with documents without wasting paper to mark them up offline.

  • what is “green” in the format which creates files two times grater than .pdf ?
    I wanted to put some of my students Powerpoint presentations online –
    for all presentations which I tested Powerpoint 2007 cteated .xps which was ca 2 times bigger than created by the same program .pdf
    .xps viewer works only with IE (Firefox 8 does not allow the plugin)