Manual app packaging

If you want to create and sign a Windows app package, but you didn't use Visual Studio to develop your app, you'll need to use the manual app packaging tools.


If you used Visual Studio to develop your Windows app, it's recommended that you use the Visual Studio wizard to create and sign your app package. For more information, see Package a UWP app with Visual Studio and Package a desktop app from source code using Visual Studio.


This section contains or links to articles about manually packaging Windows apps.

Topic Description
Create an app package with the MakeAppx.exe tool MakeAppx.exe creates, encrypts, decrypts, and extracts files from app packages and bundles.
Package a desktop app manually Learn how to use MakeApp.exe to package a desktop app.
Create a certificate for package signing Create and export a certificate for app package signing with PowerShell tools.
Sign an app package using SignTool Use SignTool to manually sign an app package with a certificate.

Advanced topics

This section contains more advanced topics for componentizing a large and/or complex app for more efficient packaging and installation.


If you intend to submit your app to the Store, you need to contact Windows developer support and get approval to use any of the advanced features in this section.

Topic Description
Introduction to asset packages Asset packages are a type of package that act as a centralized location for an application’s common files – effectively eliminating the necessity for duplicated files throughout its architecture packages.
Developing with asset packages and package folding Learn how to efficiently organize your app with asset packages and package folding.
Flat bundle app packages Describes how to create a flat bundle for your app’s package files.
Package creation with the packaging layout The packaging layout is a single document that describes packaging structure of the app. It specifies the bundles of an app (primary and optional), the packages in the bundles, and the files in the packages.