How to Install the Microsoft XPS Printer Driver

By Ryan Bauer

The XML Paper Specification, or XPS, is a file format designed by the Microsoft Corporation and released with Office 2007. According to the knowledge base at Indiana University's Information Technology Services Department, it was designed to compete with Adobe's PDF file format that has been the industry standard since 1993. Since the XPS format is newer than several versions of Windows, a driver will need to be installed on many computers before they can view or print XPS documents. This driver is offered as a free download from Microsoft's website. Any computer with Windows Vista or later already has the XPS driver.

Visit Microsoft's website to download the XPS viewer software. You can find a download page by searching for "XPS" under the Windows Hardware Developer Central section. Click "Download the Microsoft XPS Essentials Pack" to continue. Alternatively, you can select to download only the viewer, but you will be provided with fewer features. Save the file, and when it has finished downloading, click "Run" or "Open" to begin the installation.

Walk through the steps in the installer, which will copy the files to your computer. The XPS file viewer, document writer, thumbnail handlers, filters and print drivers will all be installed. You must read through the Microsoft Software License Terms and agree to them for the installation to continue.

Test the installation. Open any printable file, such as a document, image or website, and click "File" at the top of the screen, then "Print." Select the "Microsoft XPS Document Writer" as the printer, and click "Print." The program will then ask you where to save the file, and after a moment of rendering, an XPS file will be created.