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Packaging your Windows 8.1 Store app with Visual Studio


Applies to Windows and Windows Phone

To sell or otherwise make your app available to users, you have to create a package for it. Then, you can upload it to the store, or distribute your app without using the store by side-loading the app to a device. See Publish your app in the Store, and Sideload Apps with DSIM.

This topic is about creating app packages for Windows 8.1 Store apps. If you need to create an app package for Universal Windows apps for Windows 10 devices, you need to follow this process instead.

Configure an app package

Before you distribute your Store app, you’ll want to configure it. For example, you might add tile images and a splash screen, or indicate what orientations your app supports, and defining what sorts of features it has. You can specify all those characteristics by using a designer. You can open the package.appxmanifest file in the manifest designer by double-clicking the file in your solution.

See Configure a Windows 8.1 app package by using the manifest designer.

Create an app package

You can create the package that you’ll upload to the Store (or side-load to devices), by using the Create App Packages wizard in Visual Studio. Use the wizard to name your app, specify which configurations you want to support (for example: ARM, x64 or x86), and validate the app against store requirements.

See Create a Windows 8.1 app package.

Test an app on various devices

After you develop an app, you can install it on one or more devices so that you can test it. The installation is temporary and is only meant to be used for testing purposes. See Windows 8.1 Store apps: Install and test an app on other devices.

Access the Store by using commands in Visual Studio

You can interact with the Store by using the Store menu in Visual Studio. In Visual Studio Ultimate 2013, open the Project menu, and then choose Store. The Store menu appears only if you’re working on a Store project or solution. In Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows, the Store menu appears directly on the menu bar. The first three commands on the menu are always available, but the availability of the other commands depends upon where you are in the development process.

Menu Command


Open Developer Account

Opens the Dev Center for Store apps from which you can obtain a developer account for the Store. You must have a developer account to upload apps to the Store. For more information, see App Developer Agreement.

Reserve App Name

If you haven’t already used your developer account to sign in to the Store, this command opens the sign-in page for the Store. After you sign in and your credentials are verified, you can reserve a name for your app. When the Store is open for app submissions, you can reserve an app name for one year. If you don’t submit an app within the next year, the reservation expires, and another developer could reserve the name. For more information, see Naming and describing your app

Acquire Developer License

You need a developer license to develop a Store app. For more information, see Get a developer license on the Microsoft website.

Edit App Manifest

Opens the app manifest for the current project in the Manifest Designer. For more information, see Configure a Windows 8.1 app package by using the manifest designer.

Associate App with the Store

When you associate your app with the Store, the wizard automatically downloads the following values to the app manifest file for the current project on the local computer:

  • Package Display Name

  • Package Name

  • Publisher ID

  • Publisher Display Name

  • Version

After the wizard inserts these values into the app manifest, you can test various purchase and notification scenarios.


If you override the default .appxmanifest file by creating a custom .xml file for the manifest, you can’t associate your app with the Store. If you try to associate a custom manifest file with the Store, an error message appears.

Capture Screenshots

Applies to Windows only Builds the current project and launches the app in the simulator. When the simulator opens, choose the Copy screenshot button on the simulator side bar.

Create App Packages

Launches the Create Your Packages wizard. For more information, see Create a Windows 8.1 app package

Upload App Packages

If you haven’t already used your developer account to sign in to the Store, this command takes you to the sign-in page for the Store. After you sign in and your credentials are verified, the Dashboard opens. If you reserved a name for your app, you will use this tool to edit the existing release. If you didn’t reserve the name, choose Submit a new app, and then follow the instructions on the screen.

See Also

Preparing your app for the Windows Store
How to test your app with the Windows App Certification Kit
App Packaging and Deployment
Package details
App Packager