Visual Studio project#

Briefcase supports creating a full Visual Studio project for a Windows App. This project can then be used to build the stub app binary with the briefcase build command, or directly from Visual Studio.

Building the Visual Studio project requires that you install Visual Studio 2022 or later. Visual Studio 2022 Community Edition can be downloaded for free from Microsoft. You can also use the Professional or Enterprise versions if you have them.

Briefcase will auto-detect the location of your Visual Studio installation, provided one of the following three things are true:

  1. You install Visual Studio in the standard location in your Program Files folder.

  2. MSBuild.exe is on your path.

  3. You define the environment variable MSBUILD that points at the location of your MSBuild.exe executable

When you install Visual Studio, there are many optional components. You should ensure that you have installed the following:

  • .NET Desktop Development - All default packages

  • Desktop Development with C++ - All default packages - C++/CLI support for v143 build tools

Briefcase uses the WiX Toolset to build an MSI installer for a Windows App. WiX, in turn, requires that .NET Framework 3.5 is enabled. To ensure .NET Framework 3.5 is enabled:

  1. Open the Windows Control Panel

  2. Traverse to Programs -> Programs and Features

  3. Select “Turn Windows features On or Off”

  4. Ensure that “.NET framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0)” is selected.

Icon format#

Windows apps installers use multiformat .ico icons; these icons should contain images in the following sizes:

  • 16x16

  • 32x32

  • 48x48

  • 64x64

  • 256x256

Splash Image format#

Windows Apps do not support splash screens or installer images.

Application configuration#

The following options can be added to the<appname>.windows section of your pyproject.toml file.


Controls whether the app will be installed as a per-user or per-machine app. Per-machine apps are “system” apps, and require admin permissions to run the installer; however, they are installed once and shared between all users on a computer.

If true the installer will attempt to install the app as a per-machine app, available to all users. If false, the installer will install as a per-user app. If undefined the installer will ask the user for their preference.


Python and Briefcase allow any valid PEP440 version number as a version specifier. However, MSI installers require a strict integer triple version number. Many PEP440-compliant version numbers, such as “1.2”, “1.2.3b3”, and “”, are invalid for MSI installers.

Briefcase will attempt to convert your version into a valid MSI value by extracting the first three parts of the main series version number (excluding pre, post and dev version indicators), padding with zeros if necessary:

  • 1.2 becomes 1.2.0

  • 1.2b4 becomes 1.2.0

  • 1.2.3b3 becomes 1.2.3

  • becomes 1.2.3.

However, if you need to override this default value, you can define version_triple in your app settings. If provided, this value will be used in the MSI configuration file instead of the auto-generated value.