Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/148499/what-is-an-xps-file-and-why-does-windows-want-me-to-print-to-one/
The XPS format is Microsoft’s alternative to PDF. It was introduced in Windows Vista, but never gained much traction. However, modern versions of Windows continue to include better support for XPS files than PDF files.
Ever since it came out I print everything to XPS. Very easy to use, and prints info very well.
Perhaps it might be good to add a referral to some FOSS for "Print to PDF" functionality, or link to existing articles that feature such products. Also, can the "Print to XPS" function be un-installed or at least removed from the list of available printers?
Sure you can remove it. Just right click the device in "Devices and Printers" and click "Remove device". However, I can not see the logic in doing that. Are you afraid you might use it by mistake? It certainly is not hurting anything or taking up space. Someone, even you, might just want to use it at some time. Perhaps a friend would ask you to send a document this way.
I use the XPS format for stripping away pdf protection. In my business I get many protected pdfs. If I want to compare them to other docs, copy and paste anything out of them, etc. I just print as XPS then use something like Bullzip PDF printer to print it back into PDF format and voila! - all those protections are gone!
That's exactly what it's doing. It takes up space on a list of printers which, depending on what computer I'm working on, may already be long enough as it is. And how often is someone actually going to request an XPS document, let alone be unable to accept the document as a PDF or other common format?
You can do the same thing by printing the protected PDF to another PDF. Doing so sometimes can also reduce the size of the original PDF.
PDFs are a more universally accepted document form so I see no point in using XPS.
It's a shame XPS never really caught on. I've had two situations where I've needed it. The first, we were setting up a Dispatch centre about 8 hours away from home. All we had were our laptops and tools and we needed to print out labels in Visio. Problem is, they wouldn't let our computers onto the network and nobody there had Visio. We decided to print out the files to PDF and put them on a USB drive so someone could print them for us. Then we realised some Print-To-PDF programs actually shrink the image by about 5% so all our labels came out too small (we need them to fit 100%). I decided to try an XPS file because I knew we had just installed a hoard of Clients with Win7. Printed from XPS and everything fitted 100%.
Anyway, to cut a long story short. XPS can be useful in rare cases, especially if you need things printed 1:1 with the dimensions all 100% identical to the original.
One major issue that has not been mentioned: XPS files are about twice bigger than an equivalent PDF file. Try this: go to a long Wikipedia entry, print it to PDF and then print it to XPS. The XPS is double or more the size of the PDF. The XPS format is representative of Microsoft's latest crop of products: low quality and disconnected from market realities to the point of being comically bad.
Aside from being removed from the list of printers, the XPS Services which provide the print-to-XPS functionality can also be completely uninstalled. Go to
appwiz.cpl, select "Turn windows features on or off", and un-check XPS Services. You can also remove the XPS Viewer if you want, though you may want to keep it on the off chance you receive an XPS file.
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