Updated: May 31, 2013
Starting with Windows Vista, application developers can build applications with an improved user experience, using new document and print technologies. The XML Paper Specification (XPS), Open Packaging Conventions, and the Windows Presentation Foundation are complementary technologies that share common document technologies and provide a more consistent document presentation than previously possible.
XPS Document format is a component of the Windows Presentation Foundation, which is a next-generation presentation subsystem that unifies a whole range of output services, including User Interface, Media, and Documents. The Windows Presentation Foundation provides a single, managed-code framework for these services and makes it possible to build applications with richer user experiences than were previously possible.
XPS provides the ideal way to store and display content from Windows Presentation Foundation applications. Documents in XPS Document format distill Windows Presentation Foundation elements into a fixed, printable, and portable format allowing applications to share documents for collaboration across multiple machines without requiring the original application to be installed on those machines. You can also use XPS Documents in unmanaged Win32 applications and applications built for non-Windows platforms.
Applications can also use the Open Packaging Conventions to store documents and other application data. The Open Packaging Conventions describe an open, ZIP-based format that can include core file properties, custom metadata, and digital signatures and support rights management. Documents created in the next version of the Microsoft Office system, codenamed "Office 12," use the Open Packaging Conventions, making them manageable in the same way as other documents that use the Open Packaging Conventions, including XPS Documents.