XPS files. What are they?

Well, Microsoft invented a new “universal” format. I found a document written as XPS while navigating on a Microsoft site: I was trying to understand  how much schools pay to have an Office licence for all their machines, and the info was encripted in a XPS file. How the hell do I open a XPS file? What is it? XPS stays for XML Paper Specification, and is a sort of Pdf. It was introduced with Windows Vista, and standardized into ECMA-388. But it seems not to be so popular, not yet al least.

It turns out that an XPS file is actually just yet another flavour of zip file. Unzipping it does not help much, as it reveals the internal structure made of a hierarchy of folders, metadata and document fragments. And I did not find any free “viewer” for the Mac: there may be some, and maybe I just didn’t search long enough. That’s because I stumbled upon a great, simple solution:

a) Send the XPS file as attachment to yourself on your gmail account (you have one, right?)

b) look at the mail you sent to yourself, and from within gmail just “view” the attachment. Google will decode it for you! And if you want, you can then print it to a pdf file, so that you can save a readable copy on your machine.

Ah, by the way, how much do schools pay for their Office licences? The answer is: way too much. But why don’t they just use LibreOffice instead?

Posted in Apps, Web

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