Group MSIX Shortcuts in Folders in the Start Menu

Until recently, there was no possibility to group your applications (formerly known as shortcuts) under a Start Menu folder for MSIX Packages. This feature was requested by many people and Microsoft released a preview of it recently.

In this article we are going to have a look on how you can achieve this using Microsoft MSIX Packaging Tool. As an example, we are going to take VLC Media Player, which I did an article on it on how you can add shortcut arguments in MSIX.

Requirements

First of all, this feature is currently only available to test on Windows 10 builds which are distributed through the Dev Ring of the Windows Insider program, and you will need at least build 20257 to enable this feature. I am currently on build 21322 so I pass the first condition.

The second requirement is that your MSIX package contains one or more <Application> entries. This is an obvious requirement because without those, we wouldn’t have any shortcuts in the Start Menu to begin with. In our previously created VLC Media Player package, we have 3 <Application> entries.

The last requirement is that the uap3 namespace is declared in the <Package> node of the manifest:

Grouping shortcuts

If all the requirements are met you can now start to group your shortcuts into folders. The way we do this is by using the VisualGroup property which was added for the VisualElements item, and it makes sense, because the way you show your applications (shortcuts) in the Start Menu it’s only a visual thing, that is it.

The VisualElements item is nothing new in the manifest, in fact, a lot of other things are configured here. For example, in the VisualElements item you declare the DisplayName of your application (shortcut), the logos which appear in the start menu, the BackgroundColor of the shortcut and so on.

What we must understand is that each <Application> contains a <VisualElements> item, so if we want to group them in a folder, the following changes must be applied for all <Application> elements:

  1. Put uap3: in front of the VisualElements. If you have something like <uap:VisualElements> like I have in my previous screenshots, just put <uap3:VisualElements>. Don’t forget that you must also put uap3: at the element closure ( </uap3:VisualElements>)

2. Add the VisualGroup attribute in the <VisualElements> item. Basically, at the end of the <VisualElements> item, just place VisualGroup=”MyFolder” (change with the desired folder name).

Voila

And that is it. You can save the manifest, install your MSIX package and now you will have your applications (shortcuts) grouped under one folder in the Start Menu.

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