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How to: Create an effective Office Store listing for your app for Office or SharePoint

apps for Office and SharePoint

Published: August 14, 2012

Get guidance on how to create an effective Office Store listing: name your app appropriately, write effective, engaging app descriptions for your app, and include consistent, properly formatted logos with your app submission to the Seller Dashboard.

Applies to:  apps for Office | apps for SharePoint | Office 2013 | Office 365 | SharePoint Foundation 2013 | SharePoint Server 2013 

The information and images you submit to the Seller Dashboard with your app becomes the Office Store listing for your app. In many cases, this information and these images are the first things prospective users see about your app, and will inform their first impression of your app. So it’s important that the information you submit—such as your app name, description, logos, and screenshots—clearly communicates to customers the benefits of acquiring your app, and truly represents the functionality it provides.

Keep these general guidelines in mind when naming your app, writing the descriptions for it, and creating the images that represent it:

  • Run a spelling check on titles and descriptions.

  • Use proper grammar.

  • Use unique logos for each app in your catalog. Unique logos increase customer click-through.

  • Make sure any screenshots you include are relevant and flattering, and that they don’t display personal identifiable information.

    Show off the UI of your app.

  • If you update the functionality in your app, update the app description to reflect this.

    Accuracy in your description will result in fewer unhappy customers.

  • Stick to the facts; describe what the app does and what it can do for customers.

    Answer the question: What problem does this app solve?

  • If writing isn’t a strong area for you, find someone to assist you.

    Well-written descriptions attract customers. Consider bringing in a professional.

  • Avoid marketing speak and buzz words.

  • Avoid robot speak; consumer friendly words are the most effective for all customers.

Create a simple and direct app name that is no more than 128 characters. Generally speaking, the shorter the name the better, particularly for mail apps. Remember, how much of your app name gets displayed depends in part on how the user sizes the window itself. Include your brand or company name if you believe users will use it to search for your app.

Other guidelines to consider when naming your app:

  • Use title case.

    That is, capitalize the first letter of each word, except articles and prepositions.

    For example: Apartment Search for Contoso.

  • Consider using the following naming pattern:

    App function + for + brand or company name (optional)

    For example: Small Business Invoicing for Contoso

  • Don’t include the Microsoft product your app works with in your app title.

    It’s unnecessary, as the products that your app works with are included elsewhere on your app landing page in the Office Store, and in Office Store search results.

  • Avoid acronyms.

    Potential users might not know what the acronym stands for.

  • Don’t use all uppercase letters in your app name.

    The one exception to this would be if your brand name itself is all uppercase letters.

  • Don’t use the words “free” or “sale” or exclamation points in your app name.

Keep your app name consistent

You specify your app name in two separate places, and each determines how the app name appears in different places:

Use the same app name in both places, to avoid confusion between what the customer sees before and after downloading the app.

A good description makes your app stand out and helps potential customers decide to take action. The short app description you specify should entice the potential user to learn more by going to the app landing page. The long description, displayed on the app landing page, should then give the potential user a fuller picture of your app and its value.

Writing an effective short description

The short app description you supply with your app submission is the text that gets shown to users in Office Store search results, so you want it to be original, engaging, and directed at your target audience. Describe your app, and its value to your target customer, in one or two sentences. For example:

Translate your Word document using Bing translation services.

The short description must be 1,000 characters or less.

Writing an effective long description

The long description of your app is displayed on your app landing page in the Office Store. It should match the description in your app manifest as closely as possible. With a maximum of 4,000 characters, you have room for a more detailed description of your app, including its main features, the problems it was created to solve, and its target audience. Be sure to include popular search keywords you think customers will use when searching for your app. The Office.com search engine will pick these up in search query return sets.

Most users will read between 300 and 500 words. Describe what your app does for customers. To help hone your long description, ask yourself these questions:

  • How does your app benefit its user?

  • What is special about your app?

  • What are different ways someone could use your app?

  • What industries or specialists would use your app?

You may want to list features to aid readers scanning your description. The Seller Dashboard does not allow the use of HTML, so list your features in list form. The Seller Dashboard does allow formatting of bullet point lists, using specialized formatting.

For example, the following feature list:

App Features:

[#LI] First app feature[/#LI]

[#LI] Second app feature[/#LI]

Will render in your Office Store app description as:

App Features:

  • First app feature

  • Second app feature

Use correct Office 2013 product names in your app descriptions

Whether writing the short or long app description, please use the correct product names for any Microsoft products you reference.

  • Access 2013

  • Excel 2013

  • Excel Web App

  • Exchange 2013

  • Exchange Online

  • Exchange Server 2013

  • Lync 2013

  • Lync Online

  • Lync Server 2013

  • Lync Web App

  • Office 2013

  • Office 365

  • Office Web Apps

  • Outlook 2013

  • Outlook Web App

  • Project 2013

  • Project Professional 2013

  • Project Server 2013

  • Project Standard 2013

  • SharePoint 2013

  • SharePoint Foundation 2013

  • SharePoint Online

  • SharePoint Server 2013

  • Word 2013

  • Word Web App

Consider search engine optimization when writing your app descriptions

When writing your app descriptions, you should keep in mind that those descriptions will be indexed by search engines, both for the Office Store, and for general search engines such as Bing.

  • Keep your descriptions as specific and detailed as possible.

  • Use customer keywords in your descriptions. These are the words that your customers might type in the search box to look for your content.

For the basics about search engine optimization (SEO), see the SEOMoz Beginner’s Guide to SEO. For information about Bing search optimization, see Bing help.

While your app name and written description can be powerful tools to draw in potential customers, you also want to present a unified visual identity for your app. For this, the logo you use for your app is very important. There are two files that represent your app logo. To present a consistent app logo, both of these images should be of the same logo or icon. That way, the user is presented with the same app logo for your app, whether in the Office Store or when the app is displayed within Office or SharePoint. However, you should be aware that the two images have different formatting requirements.

When submitting apps for Office, you specify an image in your app manifest file, and also upload one with your app submission in the Seller Dashboard.

For apps for SharePoint, you include an image in your app package, and also upload one with your app submission in the Seller Dashboard. Validation requires these two images to match.

Create a properly formatted icon for your app for Office or app for SharePoint

For apps for Office that you are submitting to the Office Store, you are required to link to an image by using the IconUrl element (OfficeApp complexType) (apps for Office 1.0)in the app manifest. This image is used to represent your app within an Office application; for example, within the Word client UI, or, in the case of mail apps, the Exchange Administration Center.

The formatting requirements for this image differ depending on app type. The following table lists the requirements for the icon image, by app type.

Mail apps

Task pane and content apps

Required?

Required only for apps submitted to the Office Store.

Required only for apps submitted to the Office Store.

Accepted formats

.bmp, .gif, .exif, .jpg, .png, and .tiff

.bmp, .gif, .exif, .jpg, .png, and .tiff

Source location

The image specified must be secured with HTTPS.

The image specified is not required to be secured with HTTPS.

Size

For best appearance, make your app icon 64 by 64 pixels.

While there is no specific size limit, Outlook will resize the icon to 64x64 if necessary. This may result in a less-than-optimal icon display.

Must be 32 by 32 pixels.

Display location

Exchange Administration Center

Office client interface.

For example, the Insertion dialog, MRU list, or context box.

Localization

IconUrl element (OfficeApp complexType) (apps for Office 1.0) supports culture-specific images in the manifest.

IconUrl element (OfficeApp complexType) (apps for Office 1.0) supports culture-specific images in the manifest.

For apps for SharePoint, you are required to include an icon in the app’s package. The image included must be 96 pixels by 96 pixels. You must also specify this same image when submitting your SharePoint app through the Seller Dashboard.

Create a matching app logo for use in the Office Store

When you submit your app to the Office Store through the Seller Dashboard, you are required to submit another image that represents your app logo or icon. This image is used to represent the app within the Office Store.

The requirements for this image are summarized in the table below.

Accepted formats

.png, .jpg, .jpeg, or .gif

Location

Image is uploaded via Seller Dashboard, and stored in the Office Store.

Size

Must be 96 by 96 pixels, and less than 250 kb in size.

Display location

Office Store

Additional app for SharePoint validation

The image included in your app for SharePoint package must match the image that you submit through the Seller Dashboard.

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