Sunday, November 20, 2011

Taking Advantage of the Microsoft XPS "Virtual Printer" Even on Macs and iPADs


I was using an application and the result of which is only output via a Print interface. To make the matter worse, this was on a remote site so I could not print to my printer either. To make it even worse, I don't feel like adding any PDF printing driver to this machine as it belonged to a customer.


I have been aware that Microsoft XPS driver is installed on just about any modern Microsoft OS machines, and it is even often annoying that it comes up as a default driver to my mothers-in-law PC and she cannot print to actual paper.

As it turns out, you can consider this XPS as the pre-installed "PDF" driver that works on Windows. And since .NET Framework 3.0 a "free" viewer comes "pre-installed"; all you need to do is to activate it! Like just about anything Microsoft (Apple) does, XPS is designed to kill  other company's product, in this case the PDF.

Whether XPS is superior to PDF or not, I don't care, I am not in printing business, but, this means that we can print at most computers without any physical printer, and take or email the XPS file back home and print at your leisure (or just view them to save the tree) or re-print them in PDF once you get it back on a PDF enabled computer.

To "install" or actually "activate" the XPS viewer, see this MS article. What is XPS Viwer

Other platform users do not need to dismay. You can try uploading the XPS file to your Google Docs account and view it online!

Note that the article is a bit obsolete, in systems with .NET framework 3.5 (probably) or later the XPS viewer enable is not within the .NET Framework feature but are listed in the top level list.

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