Tuesday, May 20, 2008

XPS Documents Opening With Firefox in Vista

So there I was, I had completed a transaction at a 'save this page for your records' page that I wanted to a PDF. Ooops...I don't have Acrobat on this laptop. Luckily I knew I had the XPS 'printer' installed by default. (It comes with Vista.)

So I print it to an .xps file. it appears to 'print' successfully. The problem is, when I doublt-click it to open it, it opens in Firefox! Firefox is set as my default browser, but I find this weird - I thought there was an XPS viewer application. I right-click the .xps file and choose "Open With" and then "XPS Viewer". Again, it tries to open in Firefox. Firefox doesn't understand the .xps extension and offers to save the file for me, or let's me open it with "XPSViewer.Document (default)". Huh. Ok. I tell Firefox to open it with the "XPSViewer.Document (default)". Firefox opens yet another tab with the .xps document, offering again to save/open it for me.




Okaaaaay.

I caught wind that you should try dropping the file into Internet Explorer. This works. IE recognizes the file and opens the XPS document for you. I also caught wind that this isn't just a Firefox problem, but rather a "default browser is not IE" problem. One solution to the problem is to re-associate the .xps file extension with IE instead of the "XPS Viewer" application. The other route (which I prefer) is to download the "XPS Essentials" pack from Microsoft. I think this pack was originally intended to add XPS functionality to XP and Server 2003, but it now supports Vista, and it appears to merge into Vista as some sort of update.

After I installed this update, double-clicking an .xps file still opened it in Firefox though! Come on! If I right-click on the .xps file, and choose "Open With", I now have a new item: "XPS Viewer EP". Ah-ha! This opens up the .xps file in it's own separate non-browser viewer. Perfect!

All that's left to do is make XPS Viewer EP the default app for .xps files. The first time I tried changing a file extension association in Vista, I went about it the way you do in XP - go to the Tools->Folder Options menu. But in Vista, the dialog that get for Folder Options doesn't have the familiar file associations tab that XP has. In Vista, you have to use the "Default Programs" Start menu item. (Just use the quick-search, or you should be able to find it under the Control Panel:



Just hit the ''Associate a file type or protocol with a program" item and you should be able to figure it out from there.

13 comments:

o_sindicato said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Graham said...

Thanks for the useful post! Worked like a charm.

Martin Michael Rose said...

Thanks for this! Very helpful. I don't know why this problem even exists - the Vista default is Print to XPS, yet there is no standard ability to view XPS... (excepting IE of course). The Vista automatic updating should sort this out, but I guess the XPS pack thing isn't considered important enough to give to the masses.

Bucky said...

Thanks a lot. This worked very well for me!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU!!!

Steven said...

I was looking and found this.
http://geekswithblogs.net/ajames/archive/2008/11/08/reading-xps-files-using-firefox-3.x.aspx.
It uses IEtab addon to open .XPS in firefox.

Luca said...

Thanks a lot!

brian8655 said...

Thank you. I am developing a document management system in C#/.Net and whenever I tried to open an XPS file through the program I was getting stuck in the infinite Firefox open/save loop. I've been trying to find the bug in my application for hours.

El Diablote said...

Thanks bro it helped me a lot!!!

Anonymous said...

First I tried the XPS Viewer EP, but now I switched to XPS Annotator. I use the XPS Annotator for a friend's recommendation and I think for now the XPS Annotator is still the best.

Anonymous said...

I think there is a bug with "XPS Viewer EP" where if I print a document with the words "new default" in it, I can see the words in the printout, but if I use the XPS viewer to look at the document then "new default" are missing.

It is not perfect!

Anonymous said...

Very nice post. Thanks for being clear and truly helpful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you a million times over. The endless loop was starting to drive me mad!