Improve your Windows experience with the 2023 winners of the Microsoft Store App Awards

Microsoft Store
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft Store App Awards have become a staple of the annual Microsoft Build Conference.
  • Two award groups are recognized: Community Choice which is nominated by the community and Editor's Choice which is chosen by Microsoft.
  • Winners span multiple categories, including productivity, creativity, and entertainment.
  • Sketchable+, Mozilla Firefox, and Torrex were among the winners.

The Microsoft Store App Awards, a staple celebration that encourages app users and developers alike to come together as a community, is among the most anticipated events during the annual Microsoft Build conference. Prior to the event a community of app enthusiasts banded together to nominate their favorite apps in the Windows Store for a variety of different categories. The awards are broken down into two categories, including the Community Choice Awards as well as the Editor's Choice Awards which are chosen by Microsoft.

According to Microsoft, 2023 was a record year for app nominations, many of which showcased the best of what Microsoft's app store has to offer consumers.  The teams behind the nominees varied widely including individual developers, open-source and distributed projects alike, as well as app products from larger companies. According to Microsoft this demonstrates that "remarkable, stunning, and practical apps can be created by any team, regardless of their scale or type."

There were 5 categories among the Community Choice Awards.  In the Utilities & Tools Category the community chose the app Torrex, a free and lightweight torrent client from Finebits. For productivity the top app was deemed to be Mozilla Firefox. The open-source, cross-form media player VLC (formerly known as VideoLAN Client) was the popular choice, which was hardly a surprise as it also topped our very own list of the best music player apps for PCs. Sketchable+, a favorite among digital artists, easily ran away with the creativity category.  The last category for the Community Choice Awards was personalization which the free and open-source app Lively Wallpaper won after having previously placed as a runner up during the 2022 Microsoft Store App Awards.

Sketchable+ app on Microsoft Store

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Alongside the Community Choice Awards, Microsoft chose Editor's Choice Awards across the categories of Creativity, Entertainment, Productivity, and Best Integration with Windows. The editors responsible for choosing the winner of these specific awards chose from the collection of top-rated apps in the Microsoft Store on Windows with the winners ultimately being selected based on their user experience, design, innovation, creativity, and overall quality as well the value they provide to customers.

The Editor's Choice Award for creativity was awarded to Descript, an accessibility-minded editor that allows users to instantly transcribe an audio or video file to text with automatic speaker detection. A free version is available, but the pro version allows additional features including live collaboration and multi-track editing. In the Entertainment category Microsoft's editors chose Amazon Prime Video. Prime Video has recently added support for Arm64 which helps prolong the battery life of portable devices while streaming an array of available content. 

Concepts was a clear winner in the productivity category for 2023. The app offers a smooth pen experience suitable for note taking and illustration alike. You can read our previous review of Concepts here. When it comes to Integration with Windows, the Microsoft editors decided that it was WhatsApp that really pushed the limits in its most recent version. The latest release of WhatsApp is a full rewrite that offers a faster and more appealing experience with new features like Picture-in-Picture thrown in for good measure. WhatsApp now offers support for 8-person video calls and 32-person audio calls, as well.

WhatsApp running on Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

There was one final category awarded by Microsoft's editors, and this one was designated as Special Recognition. This particular award was intended to recognize an app that had made strides in contributing toward greater accessibility. Ava Accessibility—a free app capable of live captioning conversations, classrooms, and business meetings—received the Special Recognition award for their dedication in empowering and supporting users who were Deaf or hard of hearing with an intuitive and user-friendly interface.

Available on: Microsoft Store


Sketchable+ offers a clean and easy to use interface for digital artists to let their imaginations run wild. Easily scribble notes or create elaborate illustrations that you can share with friends and family.

Available on: Microsoft Store

Available on: Microsoft Store

Amazon Prime Video for Windows

Stream your favorite TV shows and movies from the comfort of your favorite Windows device.

Available on: Microsoft Store

Cole Martin

Cole is the resident Call of Duty know-it-all and indie game enthusiast for Windows Central. She's a lifelong artist with two decades of experience in digital painting, and she will happily talk your ear off about budget pen displays.