How to: View XPS Documents in Windows 10

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One of the most popular formats for sharing documents is PDF. This is because the document looks and acts the same wherever you view it, on any device or reader. The immutability of the formatting makes PDF ideal for published documents and reports, leading to its popular usage in business.

When Windows Vista released in 2007, Microsoft included a new competing standard called XPS. Standing for XML Paper Specification, XPS was designed to perform most of the same tasks. There aren’t too many differences in terms of the practical usability or feature sets between the two.

The XPS format never really took off however and has slowly been abandoned by Microsoft. With the Windows 10 April 2018 update, the default XPS file viewer was removed from new installations, although it was not removed from computers that updated from any previous version of Windows 10.

If you’re one of the people that still has to or wants to use the XPS format, then this would be quite annoying. There is a way to manually re-install the XPS viewer though.

How to view XPS documents in Windows 10

To install the XPS viewer, you need to add the feature via the Settings app. You can open the Settings app to the right page by pressing the Windows key, typing “Manage optional features” and hitting enter.

If the list of installed features includes “XPS Viewer” then the viewer is already installed. If the XPS Viewer feature is not installed, you need to click the “Add a feature” button in the top-left corner.

Use the search function or scroll to the bottom of the alphabetically sorted list to find “XPS Viewer”. Tick the relevant checkbox and click “Install” to start downloading the feature.

Once the XPS Viewer is downloaded, you can open it via the Start Menu by pressing the Windows key, typing “XPS Viewer” and hitting enter. Then you just need to open any XPS document you want to view. Alternatively, the “xps” and “oxps” file extensions should be registered to the XPS Viewer app, so you should be able to double click on an XPS file in File Explorer to open them.

Tip: You don’t need to restart your computer to be able to start using the XPS Viewer app.