XPS and OXPS file support in Windows 7 and Windows 8

The XMLPaper Specification (XPS) was originally created by Microsoft and then adopted by ECMA TC46 as ECMA-388, the Open XML Paper Specification.  This is also referred to as OpenXPS.  XPS has the file extension of XPS and OpenXPS uses the OXPS file extension. These two file formats aren’t the same. Windows Vista and Windows 7 both contain support to view and create XPS files.  You can choose to print to the “Microsoft XPS Document Writer”  (MXDW) to create an XPS file and use the XPS
to view them. 

Windows 8 can view and create both XPS and OXPS files.   See OpenXPS Support in Windows.  The “Microsoft XPS Document Writer”  defaults to creating an OXPS file.  When creating a document, you can choose which file type to create when you are prompted for the filename.  You can change this default using the group policy editor or use PowerShell as described in Changing the Default Format for Microsoft XPS Document Writer.

You can’t view an OXPS file on earlier versions of Windows (i.e Windows 7, Vista, or WinXP) because, these operating systems only support XPS.  If you try and open an OXPS file in the XPS Viewer, you will get the error “The XPS Viewer cannot open this
document”.  You can’t simply rename the OXPS file to XPS because, these formats aren’t exactly the same.  If you try this, you will get the same error.   These formats are compared in the OpenXPS Document Comparison Result (Open XPS Format) paper. 

The Microsoft XML Paper Specification Essentials Pack (version 1.2) provides support for Vista and Windows XP to view and create XPS files but, not OXPS files.

However, you can use the XpsConverter utility to convert OXPS files to the XPS file format.  The Windows Driver Kit 8 (WDK) which used to be called the DDK, describes the XpsConverter tool.  This tool isn’t included in WDK 7. 

XPS Converter (XpsConverter.exe) is a command-line tool for converting XML Paper Specification (XPS) documents from Microsoft XPS (MSXPS) to standardized OpenXPS, and from OpenXPS to Microsoft XPS (MSXPS).   When you install the WDK, the
XPSConverter.exe file is placed in the %programfiles%\Windows Kits\8.0\bin\<arch> or %programfiles(86)%\Windows Kits\8.0\bin\<arch> directories.

Here’s the syntax to convert an OXPS file to the XPS format:

XpsConverter /XPS /InputFile=sample.oxps  /OutputFile=sample.xps


Comments (15)

  1. userx says:

    there  is no file "xpsconverter.exe" inside "%programfiles(86)%Windows Kits8.0" or any of its subfolders!

  2. AD says:

    RE: "However, you can use the XpsConverter utility to convert OXPS files to the XPS file format.  The Windows Driver Kit 8 (WDK) which used to be called the DDK, describes the XpsConverter tool"

    But where where can I GET the util?

  3. That is Microsoft!!! says:

    Where is the utility dudes?  Please open the door and let us walk thru, than just show us a peek thru the eight windows!

  4. Peter says:

    See support.microsoft.com/…/2732059 for a downloadable version of a oxps to xps converter

  5. Alex says:

    So is XPS still being supported or is it dying in favour of PDF?  Enquiring minds, and their managers, want to know.  Uncertainty is putting us off the idea of using this undeniably powerful format for our document-generating application.

  6. lost says:

    hey, what do i need to do to convert oxps to pdf in windows 8?

  7. Skip says:

    I hate windows 8 my customers can't open their invoices

  8. szlevi says:

    HAHAHA, you save any text into an XPS Document on Server 2012 and THEN THE SAME MACHINE IS UNABLE TO OPEN IT…

    …this ridiculously idiotic mess is yet another GLARING example of the incredible level of UTTER INCOMPETENCY that became the single most defining issue of the Ballmerian Microsoft…

    …seriously, just take him & and all his lieutenants to the backyard and shoot them all and bury them quickly, let's just get this LOST DECADE behind us, along with these clowns, as fast as possible.

  9. Algae says:

    Objective. Allow the end user to print to file either a regular XPS or PDF. Because not everyone has the win 8 reader to open the oxps file (XP, Vista, 7, Server 2008, Mac etc). Idiocy 1.

    1. We create an oxps because who in their right mind is going to instruct an end user to make registry/policy changes on their system? Or maybe we are blessed with 300 idle tech support employees standing by to help the user? Idiocy 2.

    2. We then distribute an SDK program to provide conversion to xps from oxps. Whether or not this is even legal is open to question. Should we put legal on this right away to check? Idiocy 3.

    3. We then distribute a pdf converter. Only we can't because the Ghostscript folks hold the license and only if you have sufficient distribution will they even consider licensing to you! So you have the end user download their GhostXPS to make xps into pdf to clear the GPL issues. Idiocy 4.

    With all this then we can finally produce an oxps, convert it to xps and optionally then convert that to pdf.

    This has to be one of the biggest FAILS in Microsoft history and just confirms that Win 8 should be consigned to the scrap heap ASAP and replaced with something that .. quite frankly.. works.

  10. WaltP says:

    I just received an OXPS document for the first time (7/30/14), and found this page while trying to figure out what it might be. Back when Win7 was new, a M$ person said on a Win7 group "Backward compatibility was not part of our Win7 marching orders." I see M$ is continuing that tradition. I'll send out a company-wide memo today to remind everyone that Company policy is to use file formats readable by Win95, WinXP, and Vista applications to maintain internal document database consistency.

  11. David says:

    The solution: create, send, and accept only PDF, HTML, EPUB or RTF formats. Any other format is refused "because company policies."


  12. Jan P says:

    I can not believe that anything stupider an more user unfriendly than Vista could be foisted on us, but yes, folks, it has happened.  this is the dumbest thing since Vista, and THAT is saying something.  I vote with


  13. Pierre says:

    incredible! A default format at windows 8 is not readable on any other windows!!

    I love MS, but do they really think we have nothing to do but to convert oxps one by one with a command-line tool???? Make at least something more user-freindly, or better make a patch for win7

  14. acq says:


    Is a free reader that displays XPS and OXPS. It should work on any windows >= XP.

  15. Steve Bill MacSoft says:

    Forget about converting oxps to xps. Is Microsoft is so stupid to (1) invent a file type that nobody uses, and (2) make it impossible to 'save as' the old file format, it doesn't deserve to be used.

    Do what's right: create pdf files or convert to pdf file, stay clear of xps!

Skip to main content