PDF stands for Portable Document Format, XPS means XML Paper Specification and OOXML is a written abbreviation of Open Office XML (Extensible Markup Language). PDF is specified by Adobe, whereas XPS and OOXML are specified by Microsoft. PDF uses a proprietary binary format, XPS employs XML and ZIP. PDF has been extended over the years to support all types of documents. Acrobat is a standard viewer of Adobe although there are many other solutions.
The primary advantage of XPS over PDF is its cost. XPS is available royalty free on Windows XP (an optional installation of NET Framework 3.0 is necessary), Vista and Windows7. XPS Viewers are also available for Mac, Linux and Unix platforms. From the technical viewpoint a benefit of XPS consists in using an XML format. For this reason Adobe has evolved a format Mars, which is a PDF rewrite to XML. A unique feature of XPS is supporting Microsoft HD Photo (JPEG XR). All Microsoft Office 2007 applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access contain possibility to ´Save As XPS´ and in addition to ´Save As PDF´, too. From a viewpoint of an electronic exchange of XPS documents profit is that users can put their digital signature on XPS documents.
However, the current Microsoft XPS viewer is very slow and has few capabilities. This time XPS resembles PDF but PDF has better features in all areas. XPS faces problems with many types of fonts, TrueType and knockouts.
The future of XPS is not clear – the Microsoft Company must improve this product – especially its speed. After that it could be a usable tool.
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