Comparison of OpenXPS and PDF

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This is a comparison of the OpenXPS document file format with the PDF file format. Both file format standards are essentially containers for representing digital content in a paper-like fashion.[1]

Note that OpenXPS is incompatible with .xps files generated by Windows 7 and Vista. Windows versions from Windows 8 onward generate .oxps, OpenXPS compliant files (see Open XML Paper Specification).

Design aims[edit]

The differences between Open XML Paper Specification (OpenXPS) and the Portable Document Format (PDF) can be traced to their heritage and the manner of their development, as they have different design goals and different groups providing input.[citation needed]

The different goals in the development of OpenXPS and PDF resulted in different principles and design tradeoffs between the file formats.[citation needed]


File format OpenXPS PDF
Based on a format
developed by
Microsoft Adobe Systems
Standardized by Ecma International[2] ISO
First public release date 2006[3] 1993[4]
Latest stable version Ecma International Standard ECMA-388 — Open XML Paper Specification — 1st Edition ISO 32000-1:2008 — Document management — Portable document format — Part 1: PDF 1.7
Latest standardised version Ecma International Standard ECMA-388 — Open XML Paper Specification — 1st Edition ISO 32000-1:2008 — Document management — Portable document format — Part 1: PDF 1.7
Language type Markup language (XML)[5][6] PDF is a database of objects that may be created from PostScript or generated directly by an application.
XML schema representation XML Schema (W3C) (XSD) and RELAX NG (ISO/IEC 19757-2)[7] N/A
Compression format ZIP[5][6][8] LZW for both text and images; JPEG, JPEG 2000, and RLE for images only[9]
Container structure Open Packaging Conventions (ISO/IEC 29500-2:2008)[5][6]
3D graphic content X3D (ISO/IEC 19775/19776)[10] U3D (Standard ECMA-363)[11][12]
Full file content compression Yes[13] Compression of collections of objects[14]
Fast page by page download from web servers Yes[13] Yes[13]
Multiple documents in one file Yes[13] Yes[15]
Document bookmarks and outline Yes[13][16] Yes[13][17]
Reflowable No[18] With Tagged PDF[19]
Hyperlinks Yes[13][20][21] Yes[13][17]
Page thumbnails Yes[13][20] Yes[13][22]
Annotations Yes[20] Yes[13][17]
Image transparencies Yes[13] Yes[13]
Gradient fills Yes[13][21] Yes[13]
Alpha channel in color definitions Yes[13] Yes[13]
Support for multiple transparency blending modes ? Yes[14]
Change tracking No[13] No[13]
Password protection Yes[13] Yes[13][17]
Digital signatures Yes[6][8][13][20] Yes[17][23]
JPEG (RGB and CMYK) (ISO/IEC 10918-1) Yes[8][13] Yes[23]
JPEG 2000 (ISO/IEC 15444-1) No[13] Yes[23]
JBIG2 for bi-level images No[13] Yes[14]
PNG Yes[13] Yes[13]
TIFF (RGB and CMYK) Yes[13] No[13]
HD Photo / JPEG XR (ISO/IEC 29199-2:2009) Yes[5] No[13]
Gray support Yes[13] Yes[13]
RGB support Yes[13] Yes[13]
CMYK support Yes[13] Yes[13]
Spot color support Yes[13] Yes[13]
Filename extensions oxps[10] pdf[24]
Internet media types application/oxps[10] application/pdf
Standard licensing
  • Ecma copyrighted free download
  • ISO copyrighted free download
File format OpenXPS PDF

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Cohn, Richard. The Portable Document Format Reference Manual. ISBN 978-0-20162628-5.
  • King, James C. A format design case study: PDF. ISBN 1-58113-848-2.


  1. ^ "Microsoft Watch - Business Applications - PDF and XPS: When Acronyms Compete". Archived from the original on 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2009-07-11.
  2. ^ "XPS format passes first standardisation test | | Latest Print Industry News, Jobs, Features, Product Reviews, Used Printing and Packaging Machinery". Archived from the original on 2007-12-24. Retrieved 2009-07-11.
  3. ^ "XML Paper Specification". Archived from the original on 2009-08-25. Retrieved 2009-07-11.
  4. ^ All About Adobe PDF -
  5. ^ a b c d "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-07-05. Retrieved 2009-07-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b c d XPS: XML Paper Specification
  7. ^ Standard ECMA-388
  8. ^ a b c xml paper specification News and Other Resources | ZDNet
  9. ^ [PDF Reference, Sixth edition,], p. 39
  10. ^ a b c
  11. ^ Acrobat 3D Developer Center | Adobe Acrobat 3D Developer Center
  12. ^ Ferris, Sara (2005). "U3D format debuts in Acrobat 7". CADalyst.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am Amiouny, Dany. "PDF or XPS: Choose the Right Document Format for your Applications". White Paper. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  14. ^ a b c ISO 32000-1:2008
  15. ^ A9 PDF Binders[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-31. Retrieved 2009-07-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ a b c d e PDF Intro
  18. ^ An Introduction to Windows Presentation Foundation
  19. ^ Web accessibility: web standards and ... - Google Books
  20. ^ a b c d XPS Annotator | XPSDev
  21. ^ a b Microsoft Adds XPS In Office 12 To Fight Adobe - InformationWeek
  22. ^
  23. ^ a b c
  24. ^ "explaining PostScript". Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2009-07-11.

External links[edit]

  • ECMA-388 Open XML Paper Specification
  • ISO 32000-1:2008 Document management — Portable document format — Part 1: PDF 1.7