Packaging your Windows Store app using Visual Studio 2012

You can access the Windows Store and package your Windows Store app for distribution by using Visual Studio. You will use the Store as the primary way to sell or otherwise make available your apps. For more information, see Selling apps.

You must package and prepare your app before you can upload it to the Store. The packaging process gets started when you create a Windows Store project or item based on a template. When you create a Windows Store app, Visual Studio creates a source file for the app package (Package.appxmanifest) and adds that file to your solution. The first time that you build the project, Visual Studio transforms the source file to the manifest file (AppxManifest.xml) and puts it in the output folder for the app. The manifest file describes your app, including its name, description, start page, splash screen, and logos. In addition, you use the manifest file to add capabilities and declarations to your app, such as the ability to access a webcam. You can use the Manifest Designer in Visual Studio to edit the properties in the Package.appxmanifest file. For more information, see Using the Manifest Designer (Windows Store apps).

Accessing the Store

You will start much of your interaction with the Store by using the Store menu in Visual Studio. In Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate, open the Project menu, and then choose Store. The Store menu appears only if you’re working on a Windows Store project or solution. In Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8, 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 Windows Dev Center for Windows 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. If you don't have a registration code, you can sign up when the Store opens for general submissions. For more information, see App Developer Agreement.

Reserve App Name

If you haven’t already used your developer account to sign in to the Windows Store, this command opens the sign-in page for the Windows Store. After you sign in and your credentials are verified, you can reserve a name for your app. When the Windows 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 Windows Store app. For more information, see Get a developer license (Windows Store apps) on the Microsoft website.

Edit App Manifest

Opens the app manifest for the current project in the Manifest Designer. For more information, see Using the Manifest Designer (Windows Store apps).

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

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

Caution noteCaution
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. For more information, see Overriding a package manifest (Windows Store apps)

Copy Screenshot

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 Package

Launches the Create App Package wizard. For more information, see Creating an app package (Windows Store apps).

Upload App Package

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

Other Resources

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