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Difference Between PDF and XPS

pdfPDF vs. XPS

Portable Document Format (also known as PDF) is a generic term that is mostly associated with Adobe PDF. Adobe PDF represents two dimensional documents in a way that allows them to be changed independent of software, hardware, and operating system of the application. Each file is comprised of all the features of any fixed layout 2D document, including text, fonts, images, and 2D vector graphics –the newest permutation of Adobe PDF includes the ability to embed 3D drawings in the document with the use of Acrobat 3D (using U3D or PRC).

XPS Annotator (or simply known as XPS) is a document management software that allows user the ability to view, annotate, convert, sign, and print XPS documents used in the Microsoft Windows platform. Initially, the installer of XPS was activated through Windows Installer. As of the 1.22 version of XPS, the Inno Setup is used to create the installer. At first, the .exe files are generated and compressed in a ZIP format. There are two files that are contained in this ZIP file: the readme file and the files used for installing the software on the computer (these, in the form of .exe files).

Adobe PDF is a royalty free software that allows users to read and write PDF files without having to pay anything to Adobe itself –who holds the patents to the PDF software. There are three specific technologies used in the running of the PDF format: a subset of PostScript programming language, used for generating the layout and the graphics; a font embedding (or replacement) system, which allows fonts to travel with the documents; and a structured storage system, used to bundle all the elements and associated content into a single file (with data compression wherever it is necessary).

XPS has the ability to add annotations to any Open XML Paper Specifications (or OpenXPS) documents. Not unlike PDF documents, XPS documents support annotation features; however, these features are rather limited. The annotations for XPS are able to include a plethora of content (typed text, handwritten notes, or links to the web). There are three options that users can add to their document: highlight annotations (which allow users to highlight lines of text or paragraphs), text annotations, and ink annotations (both text and ink annotations allow users to add text notes or ink notes in order to flag information for reference at a later time).


1. Adobe PDF represents a two dimensional document in a way that allows it to be changed independent of its software, hardware, or operating system; XPS is a document management software that allows the user to view, annotate, convert, sign, and print XPS documents.

2. Adobe PDF uses three technologies to run the PDF format: PostScript, a font embedding system, and a structured storage system; XPS has three feature options: highlight annotations, text annotations, and ink annotations.

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1 Comment

  1. Are each of them able to read the format of the other?

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