Windows Platform Features

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last updated: 2017-03

Developing Xamarin.Forms applications for Windows platforms requires Visual Studio. The requirements page contains more information about the pre-requisites.

Platform Support

The Xamarin.Forms templates available in Visual Studio contain one Windows project by default:

  • Universal Windows Platform Apps - Xamarin.Forms apps can also be optimized for Windows 10. Universal (UWP) apps can run on phone, tablet, and desktop devices.

If you have installed the correct development options in Visual Studio, it's also possible to add these project types to support older versions of Windows:

  • Windows 8.1 - You can deploy Xamarin.Forms apps to tablet and desktop form-factors as a Windows 8.1 app project using WinRT controls.
  • Windows Phone 8.1 - Xamarin.Forms has full support for the Windows Phone 8.1 platform using WinRT. The look and feel of apps using Windows Phone 8.1 support may be different to your earlier Xamarin.Forms Windows Phone apps that were based on Silverlight.

Note: Xamarin.Forms 1.x and 2.x support Windows Phone 8 Silverlight application development, however this project type has been deprecated.

Getting Started

Go to File > New > Project in Visual Studio and choose one of the Cross-Platform > Blank App (Xamarin.Forms) templates to get started.

Older Xamarin.Forms solutions, or those created on macOS, will not have all the Windows projects listed above (but they need to be manually added). If the Windows platform you wish to target isn't already in your solution, vist the setup instructions to add the desired Windows project type/s.


All the samples for Charles Petzold's book Creating Mobile Apps with Xamarin.Forms include Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Universal Windows Platform (for Windows 10) projects.

The "Scott Hanselman" demo app is available separately, and also includes Apple Watch and Android Wear projects (using Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android respectively, Xamarin.Forms does not run on those platforms).

Xamarin Workbook

If it's not already installed, install the Xamarin Workbooks app first. The workbook file should download automatically, but if it doesn't, just click to start the workbook download manually.