Overview of publishing an app to the Windows Store
Publishing your app to the Windows Store puts your work in front of millions of potential customers. Here's a brief overview of the end-to-end process of getting your app into the Windows Store, from signing up through launch.
Note Your developer account also lets you publish apps to the Windows Phone Store. That process is described here.
The exact steps you follow will vary depending on how you've configured your business operations and what types of apps you want to develop. See Account types, locations, and fees for more information about the difference between individual and company accounts.
Note The process is a bit different for an enterprise developer creating line-of-business apps, or a developer working directly with an OEM. See Deploying enterprise apps and Working with OEMs for more info.
Take a few moments to look over our App Developer Agreement and App certification requirements for the Windows Store. These documents define the relationship between you and Microsoft, and the criteria your app needs to meet to be eligible for listing in the Windows Store. You might even want to look at how to avoid some of the common certification failures so you can get through the certification process as quickly as possible.
Your Microsoft account is what you use to access your Windows Store Dashboard. Review our information on keeping your account secure and picking a Microsoft account. You can sign up for a free Microsoft account when you go to the registration page.
Once you've signed in with your Microsoft account, you can open a developer account. Review the information on account types, locations, and fees to determine whether to you'll need an individual or a company account and to find out the annual registration fee in your location. The registration process takes only a few minutes to complete.
You can reserve app names at any time, whether you have an existing app that you think is ready to go or you haven’t written a single line of code. Don’t forget to make sure that your app name is unique, and to consider additional names for your app in foreign languages if you plan to sell your app internationally.
Note When you reserve an app name, that name will also be available for you to use in the Windows Phone Store.
You must give your app an age rating when you submit it to the Windows Store. You may also need to create a GDF file and upload a ratings certificate from one of the supported rating boards. Be sure to think through not just the intended use for your app but also your app’s capabilities in general. For example, apps that allow unrestricted access to the Internet or that use hardware features like webcams and microphones generally need to be rated for ages 12 and older, even if their content is appropriate for a younger audience.
Next, think about your business model. The Windows Store supports free apps as well as a variety of price tiers. You can monetize your apps in many ways, including offering trial versions, using ads, selling in-app purchases, or even using a third-party commerce system. After your app's in the Store, you can use analytic reports to track your app’s sales and performance, and make changes to your business model over time.
Take a look at the many markets and languages that the Windows Store supports, and choose the ones that make the most sense for you and your app. Be sure to check out our guidelines for globalizing your app.
Your app’s description is a key factor in encouraging users to download your app. If you’re selling your app internationally, remember that you’ll have to translate your description into the different languages your app supports. Also, don’t forget to inform potential customers of functions that your app supports but that aren’t immediately obvious—for example, in-app purchases.
When your app is getting close to being finished, make sure to download the Windows App Certification Kit. You can use this kit to test your app and identify potential problems with your app before you submit it to the Windows Store.
Once your developer account is in place, you’ve reserved your app name, and the app has passed the tests in the Windows App Certification Kit, you're ready to submit your app to the Windows Store! Review our app submission checklist, which describes the different stages of our certification process. Also keep an eye on your Windows Store Dashboard, so you can track the status of your app during certification. And if your app fails certification the first time? Don't worry—we have resources that can help you identify and fix the problem as quickly as possible.