How To Convert XPS To PDF, And PDF to XPS Files

How To Convert XPS To PDF And PDF to XPS FilesHow To Convert XPS To PDF And PDF to XPS Files

An XPS file, or “XML Paper Specification” is a file format created by Microsoft to counter the shortcomings of a Portable Document Format (PDF) format offered. Although the two file types are almost identical, there are a few minor differences.

The PDF files are written in PostScript, while XPS files are written in XML. Moreover, PDF files can contain both text and images, whereas XPS files can only contain text and vector graphics. In short, the XPS files could only offer lesser control over the files and their data when compared to the PDF file format. Which is likely why the XPS file format did not catch on so quickly.

That said, you may still come across an XPS file occasionally and may want to view it. The XPS file type is natively supported on the Windows OS through a dedicated XPS Viewer. However, other third-party apps are not so fond of this file type and may not support it. The list of apps that do not support the XPS file format includes Adobe products like Acrobat and Reader.

Therefore, if you need to share an XPS file with someone else, you must ensure that they have a format that can be easily opened across devices, and is more commonly acceptable. For those purposes, you may need to convert an XPS file to the PDF format, or even vice versa.

This guide will show you multiple ways of converting an XPS file to PDF, and a PDF file to XPS if needed. The provided methods have been tested and should surely work.

What is an XML Paper Specification (XPS) file

Microsoft developed the XPS file format to compete with Portable Document Format (PDF). However, it did not gain similar popularity.

An XML file is a document that can contain regular text as well as additional information about the content, such as its layout and appearance. With this information, XPS files can be used for viewing and printing content.

An XPS file may have an extension .xps or .oxps (OpenXPS). The purpose behind the creation of XPS was to eliminate the use of paper in an attempt by Microsoft to go green. However, the PDF file format remains the more popular choice for users.

What is a Portable Document Format (PDF) file

The PDF format is a widely accepted format for viewing and printing documents. This is because it provides editing abilities and is supported by most document viewers, including modern web browsers.

PDF files encapsulate text, images, fonts, and layout into a single file. Since all the information is contained within a single file, the layout and the content of the file remain constant across different platforms. Moreover, PDF files also support password-protected encryption for better security and can be shared with encryption enabled across most mediums.

When compared with XPS files, PDF files are slightly smaller in size, offer more editable control, and applications that can handle PDF files can be conveniently found across various platforms.

Convert XPS to PDF format

Below are a few methods and tools that can be used to convert XPS files to PDF format.

Convert XPS to PDF with XPS Viewer

XPS Viewer is a Windows Feature on Demand (FoD) application that needs to be installed. You can install XPS Viewer from Settings > System > Optional Features > View features, and then search and install XPS Viewer.

Complete guide to install XPS Viewer.

Once installed, here is how you can convert the XPS file to a PDF file.

  1. Open the XPS file in the XPS Viewer.

  2. Click File and then click Print.

    Print the XPS file
    Print the XPS file
  3. From the print menu, select the printer to be “Microsoft Print to PDF” and then click Print.

    Prnit XPS to PDF with XPS Viewer
    Print XPS to PDF with XPS Viewer
  4. Enter a name for the file and click Save.

    Save the converted PDF file
    Save the converted PDF file

You should now have the XPS file converted to the PDF format.

Convert XPS to PDF with third-party tools

You can also use third-party tools to convert your XPS files to PDF format in a few clicks. The tools mentioned below convert the files while maintaining the layout and the contents of the file.

FolderMill

FolderMill is a paid tool that creates folders, known as “Hot Folders“, which perform a designated action on the elements inside the folder. With this tool, we can apply a task on a Hot Folder to convert anything inside into the PDF file format. FolderMill is also available in a free version, which is sufficient to convert XPS files to PDFs.

These are the reasons why FolderMill is at the top of our list.

Here is how you can use to convert XPS files to PDF format using FolderMill:

  1. Download and install FolderMill from the website.

  2. Run the tool and click “Create new Hot Folder“.

    Create a Hot Folder
    Create a Hot Folder
  3. On the next window, configure the folder properties according to your needs. The highlighted parts in the image below are important, such as naming the Hot Folder, setting its refresh time, and the location of the folder.

    Configure the folder properties
    Configure the folder properties
  4. When done, click “Create new Action Set” and then click “Convert to PDF“.

    Apply action on folder
    Apply action on folder
  5. Note down the output folder location and click OK.

    Note the output folder location
    Note the output folder location
  6. Click “Apply changes“.

  7. Click Start.

  8. Now, using File Explorer, navigate to the XPS file to convert, select it, and press CTRL + C to copy it.

  9. Then navigate to the incoming folder of the Hot Folder and paste the XPS file there.

    Paste XPS file in the Hot Folder
    Paste XPS file in the Hot Folder
  10. Now go to the Output folder in the Hot Folder, and you shall find the converted PDF file there.

    XPS file successfully converted to PDF
    XPS file successfully converted to PDF

MiniTool PDF Editor

The MiniTool PDF Editor is a utility designed to work with PDF files, as the name implies. It also has the ability to convert other file formats to PDF, including XPS files.

Although the tool is paid, you get a free 7-day trial with the complete functionality of the tool.

You can convert XPS files to PDF with the Minitool PDF Editor. However, there is one catch – the XPS file must have the “.OXPS” file format. Only then would the app be able to register it.

The steps below show you how to convert a .XPS to the .OXPS format and then use MiniTool to convert it.

Note: If your XPS file already has the .OXPS file extension, then you can skip Steps 2 through 6 below.

  1. To begin, download and install MiniTool PDF Editor from their website.

  2. Now open File Explorer, click on the 3 dots in the ribbon menu, and then click Options.

    Open Explorer options
    Open Explorer options
  3. Switch to the View tab, uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types“, and then click Apply and OK.

    Show file extensions in Explorer
    Show file extensions in Explorer
  4. Navigate to the XPS file, select it, and then press the F2 function key to rename it.

    Rename the XPS file
    Rename the XPS file
  5. Replace the “.XPS” file extension with “.OXPS” and press Enter.

    Change XPS to OXPS
    Change XPS to OXPS
  6. When asked for confirmation, click Yes.

    Confirm file extension renaming
    Confirm file extension renaming
  7. Now open the MiniTool PDF Editor tool and go to the Convert menu.

    Open Convert menu in MiniTool PDF Editor
    Open the Convert menu in MiniTool PDF Editor
  8. Click “More to PDF” in the ribbon menu, and then click “XPS to PDF“.

    Open XPS to PDF in MiniTool PDF Editor
    Open XPS to PDF in MiniTool PDF Editor
  9. Click “Open or drag files here” and then select the XPS file to convert.

    Select the XPS file
    Select the XPS file
  10. Click Start.

After clicking “Start”, the PDF Editor will begin converting the XPS file to PDF format. When the status changes to “completed“, you will be able to see the converted PDF file in the same directory as the original XPS file.

DocuFreezer

DocuFreezer is another great utility that can convert XPS files to PDF. However, like MiniTool PDF Editor, it is also a paid tool but provides a free trial period. It is used to convert file types into different formats and can convert files to PDF, JPEG, JIFF, TXT, and some other formats.

Here is how you can convert an XPS file to PDF using DocuFreezer:

  1. Download and install DocuFreezer from the website.

  2. Launch the app, click “Add files“, and then select the XPS file to convert.

    Add file to DocuFreezer for conversion
    Add file to DocuFreezer for conversion
  3. Select the output file type “PDF” from the drop-down menu.

    Select PDF as output file type
    Select PDF as output file type
  4. Click Start.

    Start the conversion process
    Start the conversion process

After performing these steps, DocuFreezer will save the converted PDF file in the same folder as the original XPS file.

Convert XPS to PDF using online tools

By “online tools”, I imply that you do not have to download, nor install any application locally on your PC. Instead, you can use such web-based tools to directly upload the XPS file, select the output preferences, click a conversion button, and simply get the converted PDF file.

There are a plethora of XPS-to-PDF conversion online tools available online. Here are a few that I have personally tested:

Convert PDF to XPS format

PDF to XPS conversion can be a bit trickier since not many apps and programs support the XPS format. However, a few still exist that can be used to convert PDF files to XPS.

Convert PDF to XPS with Microsoft Word

One way to convert a PDF to an XPS file is using Microsoft Word. Here is how:

  1. Right-click the PDF file, expand “Open with” and select “Word“.

    Open PDF with Word
    Open PDF with Word
  2. In Word, click File, and then click “Save as“.

  3. Click Browse.

    Browse PC
    Browse PC
  4. Select “Save as type” to be “XPS Document (*.xps)“, enter a file name, and click Save.

    Save Word file as XPS
    Save the Word file as XPS

After performing the steps above, you will have successfully converted the PDF file into the XPS format.

Convert PDF to XPS with third-party and online tools

PDF files can also be converted to the XPS format directly using third-party and online tools. The offline tools are not that common, since not many apps support the XPS format.

Here are a few tools, both offline and online, that will let you convert PDF files to XPS:

You can find a plethora of similar tools online that will do the conversion for you. Simply upload the PDF file, select the output format, and start the conversion. When the conversion is complete, you will be notified and you may download the converted XPS file.

Closing words

The methods given above to convert XPS files to PDF, and vice versa, are tested and work. After performing these steps, you will still be able to access the contents of the converted file.

One thing to add is that you may be suggested to simply change the “.XPS” file extension to “.PDF” or vice versa to change the file format. Note that this method does not work. Changing the file extension will render the file useless and you won’t be able to view the file after this conversion process.

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Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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