Beta 2 of the XML Paper Specification Essentials Pack released to Web!


Beta 2 of the XML Paper Specification (XPS) Essentials Pack has been released. The Essentials Pack contains XPS technologies that are based on the Win32 API. This pack is supported on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows 2000 (latest service pack).


This beta release of the Essentials Pack contains:



  • A stand-alone XPS Document Viewer

  • Microsoft XPS Document Writer to output files to the XPS Document format through the print command of any Windows application. 

  • iPreview and iFilter interface implementations for XPS Documents

  • XPSDrv printer driver to enable printing to XPS devices.

  • Shell extensions for inspecting and changing XPS Document properties in Windows Explorer

We built the Essentials Pack on Win32 platforms to provide XPS Services for Windows systems without the Microsoft .Net Framework 3.0.


Our iFilter implementation enables searching the contents of an XPS Document by search applications such as Windows Desktop. Our iPreview interface implementation enables previewing XPS Documents directly inside applications that support the interface such as Outlook 2007. If you have the latest beta of Outlook 2007 and the Essentials Pack, you can try this feature on an email in your inbox that contains and XPS Document attachment. By selecting the XPS Document attachment int he reading pane, the contents will display directly below the attachment within the reading pane.


Your feedback is very valuable in shaping the future of these technologies, so please keep it coming, and stay tuned for future updates! You can provide feedback by emailing XPSinfo@microsoft.com or by joining the community in the XPS Developers Forum of MSDN. For ongoing updates on XPS technologies, visit us on this blog and at http://www.microsoft.com/xps.


Install the Essentials Pack at: http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/xps/viewxps.mspx


Comments (26)

  1. Some really interesting things to note for the week:

    New blog on Math in Office – Murray Sargent…

  2. Marc Dencker says:

    Now we will finally be able to really start using XPS files. PDFs are big in the pharmaceutical industry and the lack of a XPS reader has been holding XPS back (for so far you can hold back a beta product 😉

  3. Beta 2 of the XPS essentials pack is out.  Read about the details and how to download at the XPS…

  4. SvenC says:

    The IPreview interface sounds interesting – any information somewhere how it can be used to implement custom preview viewers?

  5. ScottR says:

    Is it just me?  I only found a viewer, I didn’t find a document writer, a printer driver, or shell extensions…

  6. MSDNArchive says:

    Installing the XPS Essentials Pack package gives you the document writer, the shell extension as well as the XPSDrv printer driver. To see the shell extensions in action, right click on an XPS Document and go to "Properties". For the Document writer, pick an application, go to File–>Print and you will see "Microsoft XPS Document Writer" listed as one of the printers available.

  7. J A Miller says:

    I was surprised by the fast load time of the XPS Viewer. It takes less than a second to load.

    As an aside, I found an interface glitch in the XPS viwer. The "E" is underlined the "Exit" command, rather than the "x".

  8. MSDNArchive says:

    iPreview interfaces are documented by Windows Shell. We include the XPS provider for these interfaces. You can read about iPreview technology at http://windowssdk.msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa361578.aspx

  9. It has been great to see the web buzz over the past few days over the availability on the Microsoft Download…

  10. Santhosh says:

    Is there any constraint that for embedding of jpg files into XPS Document , some markers are mandatorily to be supported else the Beta 2 version will not open the XPS document.

  11. Santhosh says:

    Is there any constraint that for embedding of jpg files into XPS Document , some markers are mandatorily to be supported else the Beta 2 version will not open the XPS document.

  12. Santhosh says:

    Is there any constraint that for embedding of jpg files into XPS Document , some markers are mandatorily to be supported else the Beta 2 version will not open the XPS document.

  13. Santhosh says:

    Is there any constraint that for embedding of jpg files into XPS Document , some markers are mandatorily to be supported else the Beta 2 version will not open the XPS document.

  14. Ian Thomas says:

    As a very simple test, after installing the Essentials Pack Beta2 I printed to XPS from an HTML format email that I had received in Outlook.

    The way that browsers (eg, IE7 RC1 which I am using) deal with the problem of objects that don’t entirely fit on one page, is to stuff in a lot of whitespace on the first page and put the entire object (eg, an image) onto the next.

    What happens with the XPS writer is that the object (image) appears in context, but is truncated at the page boundary.

    I don’t know how I would recommend handling this (since HTML is regarded like a piece of continuous paper). But there must be some standard way of handling this problem, that you have discussed – yes?

    The matter of ‘continuous paper’ brings up the often-used technical / scientific printing device, the PLOTTER. And that relates closely to the fact that for data interchange, most GIS (geographic information system) practitioners curently rely on an Adobe PDF document – which ofetn is not actualy printed (ever), but does retain the vector objects so that the saved disk file has scaleable / zoomable information.

    Of course, to produce the PDF disk file (whether it will be actually printed or not) at a suitable ‘paper size’ requires some settings within the GIS or via the PDF printer driver that is used (not just Adobe’s, of course).

    Often though, the paper size chosen corresponds to a common PLOTTER – usually a Hewlett Packard model, in my business.

    I’m sure that the hardware manufacturers are interested in the XPS and that you have looked at the problem of paper width restrictions (typical of plotters), but essentially unlimited paper length.

    Where can I find out about all of these matters?

  15. Ian Thomas says:

    Here, I’ve separated out stuff which really didn’t apply in my previous post, on HTML printing.

    A lot of technical and scientific work uses plotters to render design work that is created out of CAD or GIS or other special-purpose software, onto a hard copy (paper or transparent sheets, etc). This is ‘continuous paper’: the plotter devices have a confined plotting width, but essentially unrestricted length.

    Native file formats of the technical/scientific applications are used, but there is such a plethora of incompatible standards that the PDF file format is commonly chosen. The latest PDF specifications are suitable for most technical purposes.

    So for data interchange, most GIS (geographic information system) practitioners curently rely on an Adobe PDF document – which often is not actually printed (ever), but does retain the vector objects so that the saved disk file has scaleable / zoomable information.

    Of course, to produce the PDF disk file (whether it will be actually printed or not) at a suitable ‘paper size’ requires some settings within the GIS or via the PDF printer driver that is used (PDF prnter drivers are not just produced by Adobe, of course).

    Often though, the paper size chosen corresponds to a common PLOTTER – usually a Hewlett Packard model, in my business.

    I’m sure that the hardware manufacturers are interested in the XPS and that you have looked at the problem of paper width restrictions (typical of plotters), but essentially unlimited paper length.

    Where can I find out about all of these matters?

  16. Ian Thomas says:

    I have downloaded the test documents (not really of great use for me), and also the XPS document on Tim Sneath’s blog ("A Guided Tour of the Windows Presentation Foundation") – which is both informative, and provides a useful test for your iFilter – or, so  thought.

    It don’t work, mate!

    Tim’s got lots of words there, and I thought the iFilter would show most of them – but zilch?

    Wot’s wrong??

  17. Ian Thomas says:

    This is a problem with IE7’s spooling to printers, and to XPS and to PDF. I know you guys are not the IE team – but their products’ printing (whatever send-to-printer routines they use) is diabolical, and initially led me to blame the XPS writer for the problems.

    A website http://www.morfik.com/ was built with its own technology, which uses AJAX – which in itself that should mean nothing significant.

    The webpage has 3 tabs and it is peculiar that printing to paper, to XPS, and to PDF via IE7 (RTM) when ‘live’ connected to that website gives 2 blank pages and the footer info, from the first tab (MORFIK.COM). There is one Flash image there, but plenty of text and normal images.

    I’m sorry to say (because I would much prefer to use IE7, for its other features) that Firefox 1.5.07 prints perfectly to my low-end Samsung ML-2010 laser printer, to XPS, and to PDF (the latter using a non-Adobe product called pdfMachine from Broadgun Software).

  18. MSDNArchive says:

    It depends on IE’s ability to print that particular page. I have seen other pages where images are not truncated and instead printed at the beginning of the following page. I would recommend you engage with the IE team (blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/IE/) to get a better understanding of how printing works within IE. For the XPS Document writer, if you have suspicion that we are doing something wrong, the best way to verify it is to print to a physical printer and compare the two outputs.

    MXDW solely relies on how the printing application lays out the content. So if the CAD/GIS software do print well to the physical printer, the output to XPS using MXDW would be similar.

  19. MSDNArchive says:

    XPS has no special restrictions on jpegs. However, XPS Viewer EP uses GDI plus to render the images, so if there for any reason, GDI plus rejects a jpeg (say for security reasons), we will not load it. If you are still seeing this issue and you don’t mind sharing the XPS document, would you kindly share it by emailing xpsinfo@microsoft.com and the XPS Essentials Pack team will look into it.

  20. MSDNArchive says:

    Ian, thanks for all your feedback. I am assuming you are using Windows Desktop Search on Windows XP to search for words in Tim Sneath’s document. Our iFilter looks at words exactly as specified in the document. It does not try to do any intelligent concatination. If the document was authored in such a way that a word was split into 2 glyph-runs, then while it shows up as 1 word visually, it is represented as 2 in markup. This will not be found. However, we will look at this particular document and try out some searches. If you would be kind enough to email xpsinfo@microsoft.com to confirm what words you were looking for and what search engine you were using, we’ll get right on it and try to reproduce this.

  21. Per-Ola Robertsson says:

    The specified download does not support Windows 2000. Only Windows 2003 Server and Windows XP is supported. Is there any Windows 2000 XPS Viewer available?

  22. The Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 redistributable has been failing to deploy through Windows Update (with

  23. Xiame says:

    This is more of a question.  I am looking for a solution to a problem I am investigating.  I have a program that has the ability to print to file in a xps file format. The problem I am having is trying to figure out how I can make this file viewable in a secondary program that uses microsoft word as a document viewer and generator.  My first idea was to see if I could insert the xps document as an object into a newly created word document in this secondary program.  Is it possible to do this without converting the xps files to jpegs and inserting them as jpegs.  In all honesty I am looking for a solution to make the process simpler and less time consuming.  Any feed back would be appreciated.  Xiame

  24. Joseph says:

    Is there anyway to download beta 2? I’ve looked everywhere on WayBack machine…

  25. Jasmine says:

    Just wondering if there is any word on the download working with Windows 2000?