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Windows 7: XPS Viewer

XPS Viewer

How to Open the XPS Viewer in Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8
Published by Brink
05 Nov 2008
Published by

How to Open the XPS Viewer in Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8

information   Information
The XPS viewer is an application used to view XPS documents. By default, XPS Viewer will open automatically when you open a XPS document. This will show you how to manually open the XPS Viewer.

Note   Note
An XPS document is any file that is saved to the XML Paper Specification or .xps file format. Although you can create XPS documents (.xps files) by using any program that you can print from in Windows, you can view XPS documents only by using the XPS Viewer, which is included in Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.

When you click an XPS document, it will open automatically in the XPS Viewer. The two toolbars that appear at the top and bottom of the XPS Viewer provide options for viewing and managing XPS documents, including:
  • Saving a copy of the XPS document to your computer.
  • Finding a word or phrase in the read-only XPS document.
  • Going to a specific page by typing a page number or by navigating forward and back through the document pages.
  • Zooming in or out to make text and pictures easier to read.
  • Viewing one or more pages at a time on your screen.
  • Digitally signing the XPS document.
  • Determining who can access the document and for how long by applying document permissions.
XPS Viewer-xps_viewer.jpg
Here's How:
1. Press the Windows+R keys to open the Run dialog, type xpsrchvw.exe, and press Enter.


2. Opening a XPS document will open into the XPS Viewer by default.


3. In Vista or Windows 7, open the Start Menu, click on All Programs and on the XPS Viewer shortcut. (see screenshot below)
XPS Viewer-start_menu.jpg
That's it,

09 Nov 2008   #1

Windows 7 Build 7100

An XPS document is a new Microsoft document format that you can use to archive content in a standardized format or publish content in an easily viewable form. You can also use this format to ensure that no one is able to edit your original work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Sep 2011   #2

Windows 7 32-bit

Your suggestions do not apply to me. There is no XPS Viewer on my start menu. Microsoft XPS Writer shows up on list of printers, but once saved, does not allow me to open it. Even as Administrator, I am denied permission to change permissions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Sep 2011   #3
Layback Bear

Windows 10 Pro. 64/ version 1709 Windows 7 Pro/64

Start and type in xps. Right click and their should be the options you are looking for.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Sep 2011   #4

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello RW, and welcome to Seven Forums.

Does XP Viewer open if you type xpsrchvw.exe in the Start Menu search box and press Enter?

Is the xpsrchvw.exe file located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder?

If not, then double check in Windows Features to make sure that you have XPS Viewer checked.
XPS Viewer-windows-features.jpg
Hope this helps,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Sep 2011   #5

Windows 7 32-bit

Thank you for your suggestion. I can now open XPS Viewer as both Administrator or User. However, I can only use it while logged on as Administrator. As Administrator I can open and read xps documents. But I am not allowed to modify permissions to allow me to use XPS Viewer as a User. When logged on as User -- which is all the time preferably, I can activate XPS Viewer, but not open a document.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Sep 2011   #6

64-bit Windows 10 Pro


You're most welcome.

While logged in the administrator account, do you have the .xps file saved to a location that the user has access to?

For example, in the C:\Users\Public\Public Documents folder that all users have permission to access by default.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Sep 2011   #7

Windows 7 32-bit

Brink -- Again, thank you for your attention. Yes I have tried everywhich way I can think of. While logged on as User I selected XPS as a printer and saved the file to my (User) Desktop.

Then clicked on it and XPS Viewer came up, but said I do not have permission to use it. I then switched to Administrator and opened XPS Viewer and navigated to my User Desktop. I was able to open the document. I also copied the file to my Administrator Desktop and opened it OK.

I then tried to set permissions to allow access by the User, but was denied -- "The XPS Viewer cannot activate any rights on this machine."

Attached Images
XPS Viewer-xps-permissions.png 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Sep 2011   #8

64-bit Windows 10 Pro


Which user account created the .xps file, and where is it saved at?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Sep 2011   #9

Windows 7 32-bit

Brink --
I give up. To be positive of the step and responses for my reply to you, I repeated step-for-step the same action I had previously done.

I am the sole user of the computer. I created two accounts -- one as Administrator and one as Standard User.

While logged on as User, I created a file and selected Microsoft XPS Document Writer from the print menu and saved it to the (User) Desktop. I then double-clicked on the file on the Desktop and opened up the XPS Viewer.

When I did it before and started down this road of frustration because nothing worked right, double-clicking on the file opened up the XPX Viewer, but it would not let me view it because I did not have the right permissions although I was the one who created it.

Now, I repeated those same steps, and everything works exactly as advertised. Thank you for your help. I am sorry that apparently it was time wasted. However, I am clueless as to what was wrong before.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

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