API Index for desktop Windows applications

This article provides links to reference documentation for APIs that can be used in desktop Windows apps.

Win32 (Windows API)

The Win32 API (also called the Windows API) is the native platform for Windows apps. This API is best for desktop apps that require direct access to system features and hardware. The Windows API can be used in all desktop apps, and the same functions are generally supported on 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.

Windows Runtime (WinRT)

WinRT is the leading edge platform for Windows 10 apps and games, including desktop apps. The WinRT API is suitable for both native C++ and managed desktop apps that require a sophisticated UI, styles customization, and graphics-intensive scenarios.


The .NET class libraries provide access to Windows system and UI features for managed desktop apps, including WPF and Windows Forms apps.