Here are answers to some common questions about XPS documents.

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What is an XPS document?

An XML Paper Specification (XPS) document is a document format you can use to view, save, share, digitally sign, and protect your document’s content. An XPS document is like to an electronic sheet of paper: you can’t change the content on a piece of paper after you print it, and you can’t edit the contents of an XPS document after you save it in the XPS format. In this version of Windows, you can create an XPS document in any program you can print from, but you can only view, sign, and set permissions for XPS documents in the XPS Viewer.

How do I create an XPS document?

You can create an XPS document in any program you can print from, including the entire Microsoft Office system. To learn how to create an XPS document in Microsoft Office, go to the Microsoft Office Help and How-to website and search for information on how to save a file in XPS format.

To create an XPS document in other programs, such as Notepad or WordPad, click the File menu, and then click Print. In the Print dialog box, select Microsoft XPS Document Writer from the list of available printers, and then click Print. In the Save the file as dialog box, name your XPS document, and then click Save.

How do I view an XPS document?

While you can create an XPS document in any program you can print from, you can only view, digitally sign, or set permissions for an XPS document in the XPS Viewer.

If you have Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0, the viewer is installed on your PC and is the default program for opening XPS documents. If you don’t have .NET Framework 3.0 installed on Windows Vista, or if you have Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2008, you can go online to download it from the Microsoft Download Center.

How do I find out if I have Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0?

If you’re not sure whether you have .NET Framework 3.0:

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click Control Panel, and then click Programs.
  2. Under Programs and Features, click Turn Windows features on or off. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  3. Look for .NET Framework 3.0 in the list of features. If it’s listed, double-click the folder to view its contents.

  4. In the .NET Framework 3.0 folder, make sure that the XPS Viewer check box is selected, and then click OK.

Picture of the XPS Viewer in the .NET Framework 3.0 folder
The XPS Viewer is included with .NET Framework 3.0

How do I get .NET Framework 3.0?

If you don’t have .NET Framework 3.0 installed on Windows Vista, or if you have Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2008, you can go online to download it from the Microsoft Download Center.

How can I verify and protect an XPS document?

You can verify an XPS document's authenticity with adigital signature and protect a document's contents with permissions.

A digital signature enables you to both verify that your XPS document hasn’t been changed since you signed it and to verify another XPS document’s publisher so you can make sure it comes from a trusted source before you open it.

You can also create permission restrictions for your XPS document so that no one can view, copy, print, or digitally sign your document without your permission. You can set time restrictions on permissions, allow as many or as few permissions as you want to other users, and allow different users to have different levels of access.