How to change the default format for Microsoft XPS Document Writer in Windows 8

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When exporting documents using the Microsoft XPS Document Writer in Windows 8, the program selects the newer OXPS format instead the older XPS as the default choice.

If you are sending someone a document in this format and you are not sure whenever they have Windows 8, it would be wise to save it as the *.xps file instead as *.oxps., because it could potentially save them a lot of time, especially if they are not computer savvy.

Manually selecting XPS format instead OXPS

You can manually select in which format the XPS Writer saves your document using the File - Save as.. function, in which you can pick what format to use.

Windows 8 XPS Writer save as..

Microsoft XPS Document Writer Save as.. window

Changing the Microsoft XPS Document Writer default format in Windows 8

There is also a way how to select the XPS format as default choice in Windows 8 for the Microsoft XPS Document Writer. It requires you to change a specific Group Policy.

1. first find the Group Policy control panel to change the settings. If you are not sure where it is located, simply type it in your Metro search box and locate in the settings category. The item you are looking for is called "Edit group policy".

Windows 8 Metro search

Metro Search box

2. With the Local Group Policy Editor launched, browse to the "Local Computer Policy\Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Printers " folder and select the "Change Microsoft XPS Document Writer (MXDW) default output format to the legacy Microsoft XPS format (*.xps)" item.

Local Group Policy Editor in Windows 8
Local Group Policy Editor in Windows 8

By default, this group policy is not configured, but can be easily enabled.

Changing Microsoft XPS Document Writer policy settings
Enabling the MXDW related group policy

After saving the changes, you will likely have to relog to your Window so the new settings are loaded.

And that's it. From now on, the Microsoft XPS Document Writer in your Windows 8 saves the documents in the original XPS document by default. You can of course still save files as *.oxps using the Save as.. function, so nothing is lost, just the choices switched.

Related software and links:

Microsoft Windows 8 icon

Microsoft Windows 8    Microsoft Windows platform
First operating system from Windows family designed with touchscreens in mind

Microsoft Windows 8 XPS Reader icon

Microsoft Windows 8 XPS Reader    Microsoft Windows platform
The default XPS viewer in Windows 8


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Related file extensions

oxps - Windows OpenXPS document

xps - XML paper specification

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