OXPS Files – What Are They And How Do We Access Them?

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The Open XML Paper Specification or OXPS file extension is very similar to Adobe’s PDF file format. This file format’s basic purpose is to define and store the compressed content and structure of a document that can contain images and text both. These files are a document format that preserves document fidelity and structure, ensuring that your documents are displayed exactly the same way on any device.

Much like the XPS document format used in older versions of Microsoft Windows such as Windows 7, OXPS documents are compressed and can only be opened by a reader made specifically for this file format. These files contain XML markup that tells the relevant readers or file viewers what the document looks like, and what content it has. It embeds fonts, images, graphics, as well as digital signatures into the document itself. This makes the OXPS file extension an excellent alternative to Adobe’s PDF file format for official documentation that needs to be preserved in a secure format that would display the same way on any device or operating system.

Up until Windows 7, Microsoft used the XML Paper Specification that they developed and introduced in 2006. In 2009, European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA) or simply Ecma as it is known today, standardized and adopted the format as OpenXPS with some modifications. Then with the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft replaced their older document format with the newer OpenXPS standard format.

The OXPS file extension isn’t as common as the older paper specification but one can easily convert OpenXPS files into the older format for sharing with increased compatibility. The compressed images and graphics stored in these files can be looked at by opening them with any ZIP viewer or alternatively, the document can be viewed in full in the Windows XPS viewer. Since you can save these files from within Windows through Wordpad, this extension is great for students and people who don’t have access to Microsoft’s productivity suite or Adobe’s PDF making utilities.

One key difference between Microsoft’s and Adobe’s formats is the fact that OpenXPS supports high-definition photos and multi-layer TIFF images, while the Portable Document Format does not. This makes the former format much better for higher resolution, crisper printing. OpenXPS is also better at full file compression. These qualities actually make Microsoft’s format better, but since it isn’t as commonly used as Adobe’s format, that pretty much evens them both out.