PDF Conversion

How to Convert XPS to PDF

Microsoft® first introduced the XPS file format in October 2006, an obscure document file format that contained fixed page layout information written in the XPS page description language.

Simply put, XPS files are an XAML-based specification and color managed, vector based document format. You are most likely to encounter an XPS file when preparing a document for printing in a Windows environment. 

When performing this task, you'll see in the print menu an option for "Microsoft XPS Document Writer." However, the integration with Windows goes much deeper than that. All modern versions of Windows have built-in XPS Viewers and all the necessary apps and frameworks to support XPS in full.

The use of XPS is similar to Portable Document Format (PDF) in that it is built to easily share documents without fearing the loss of formatting.

XPS File Format Quick Facts:

  • The last update released by Microsoft was in 2009.
  • XPS Supports color gradients, transparencies, CMYK color specs, and more.
  • XPS Includes a software-based raster image processor (downloaded separately).
  • When first released, XPS was supported by international printing companies such as Sharp, Cannon, Konica Minolta, Epson, Hewlett-Packard, and Xerox.
  • XPS has been released under royalty-free patent license, which is named the Community Promise for XPS.



Why Convert XPS to PDF?

An XPS file is very similar to a PDF file. So why the need to convert to PDF?

One reason is that a PDF is still the leading file type for digitally sharing documents. Here’s why:


PDF is actively developed and updated

One of the biggest advantages to using PDF files is that there are regular updates to the file type, which can improve security, handling of different formats, and more. This is great because it means you won’t have to deal with the potential of compromised files due to an un-updated format.


PDF isn’t tied to an operating system

Another important reason for using PDF over XPS is that it’s more compatible. Virtually anyone can open a PDF whether they’re running Windows, Linux, on an iPhone or using Android.


PDF has better developer support

Perhaps the number one reason to convert an XPS file to PDF is the fact that PDF has more developer support. This is an especially big factor for enterprises and other medium-to-large size organizations who may be relying on a system which can only utilize PDF. Additionally, there are more plentiful tools and choices for when it comes to securing, editing, converting, or otherwise modifying PDF files.


If you want to quickly convert XPS to PDF, try Server by ActivePDF and follow the instructions for developers below:

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Converting XPS Files to PDF with Server by ActivePDF

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into the process of actually converting XPS files to PDF files using Server by ActivePDF. For starters, we need to pick the right tool. You’ll notice we mentioned converting files using your server vs online or via a desktop application.

That's because this Learning Center article is aimed toward organizations who use legacy applications, require high reliability, and need a seamless integration within all their platforms, software, and tools.

WARNING: If you’re converting just a single, one-off file, you may find some luck in an online converter. However, you’ll want to be careful with these for a couple of reasons:

  1. They can have spammy ads that attempt to steal your information or place malware on your computer.

  2. You will be required to upload your file to THEIR server for the conversion, which can be a problem if the document you’re converting needs to be kept private or confidential.

However, if you’re converting more than one file, using an online converter or a desktop converter can be a tediously time-consuming process. Additionally, the entire process is manual, so you can’t rely on it happening around the clock or very efficiently.


The XPS-to-PDF Conversion Process

Using Server by ActivePDF, run the following VBS example to convert XPS to PDF:

Dim FSO, strPath, results

' Get current path
Set FSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
strPath = FSO.GetFile(Wscript.ScriptFullName).ParentFolder & "\"
Set FSO = Nothing

' Instantiate Object
Set oSVR = CreateObject("APServer.Object")

' XPS to PDF conversion
' Convert XPS file into PDF
Set results = oSVR.ConvertXPSToPDF(strPath & "XPS.xps", strPath & "XPS.pdf")
If results.ServerStatus <> 0 Then
    ErrorHandler "ConvertXPSToPDF", results, results.ServerStatus
End If

' Release Object
Set oSVR = Nothing

' Process Complete

' Error Handling
Sub ErrorHandler(method, oResult, errorStatus)
Wscript.Echo("Error with " & method & ": " & vbcrlf _
    & errorStatus & vbcrlf _
    & oResult.details)
Wscript.Quit 1
End Sub


In Conclusion: How to Convert XPS to PDF

This is the same conversion process used by successful companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, who we’ve helped to generate thousands of tax documents worldwide, preparing them to archive and integrate tax filings into their existing custom software. To learn how other Fortune 500 businesses are using Server by ActivePDF, visit our Case Studies homepage.


There's no reason to wait! Get started by downloading ActivePDF Server now.

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Server by ActivePDF is the print-to-PDF enterprise application for converting anything printable to PDF. Developed for use in high-volume business environments, Server is a scalable PDF printing solution. This unique .NET Print-to-PDF Generation SDK technology software solution is the perfect tool for Developers, IT Administrators and leading Department Heads. With Server, integrating PDF printing into your application is as simple as adding three lines of code!

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