By Robert Vamosi (December 6, 2006)
Windows Vista introduces a portable file format called XPS, Microsoft's version of Adobe PDF, along with other new rendering applets.
Formerly known as Metro, XML Paper Specification (XPS) is a new device-independent file format from Microsoft. It is a ubiquitous technology within the Windows Vista operating system, employing its own drivers and viewers, while using Vista's own graphics systems. Microsoft's .Net Framework 3.0, formerly known as WinFX, is the underlying technology that powers XPS, and it comes preinstalled on Windows Vista systems or can be downloaded for installation on Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 systems. Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), formerly known as Avalon, is the graphical subsystem of .Net Framework 3.0. XPS is a subsystem of the XAML portion of Windows Presentation Foundation.
Microsoft has called its new XPS file format a page-by-page rendering of a document as it would be seen from a printer, and the software giant sometimes uses the phrase "electronic paper" when describing XPS. In order to catch up with Adobe PDF, which has cornered the document-management market, Microsoft is offering the XPS format royalty free.
Microsoft's XPS file format also has the support of various hardware vendors including Xerox, Canon, Ricoh, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, and other major printing manufacturers.
XPS vs. PDF
Which document archive format is right for you?