Tahoma is a humanist sans-serif
typeface A typeface is the design of lettering that can include variations, such as extra bold, bold, regular, light, italic, condensed, extended, etc. Each of these variations of the typeface is a font. There are thousands of different typefaces in ex ...
that Matthew Carter designed for
Microsoft Corporation Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports, and sells Software, computer software, consumer electroni ...
. Microsoft first distributed it, along with Carter's Verdana, as a standard font in the initial release of
Windows 95 Windows 95 is a consumer-oriented operating system An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware, computer software, software resources, and provides common daemon (computing), services for computer programs. T ...
. While similar to Verdana, Tahoma has a narrower body, smaller counters, much tighter letter spacing, and a more complete
Unicode Unicode is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's writing systems. The standard is mai ...
character set. Carter first designed Tahoma as a bitmap font, then "carefully wrapped" TrueType outlines around those bitmaps. Carter based the bold weight on a double pixel width, rendering it closer to a heavy or black weight. In contrast with some other sans-serif typefaces, including Arial, the uppercase "I" (eye) is distinguishable from lowercase "l" (ell), which is especially important in technical publications. Since 2010, Ascender Corporation has offered italic and small caps versions of Tahoma. Tahoma is often compared with Frutiger (typeface), Frutiger, another humanist sans-serif typeface. In an interview by Daniel Will-Harris, Carter acknowledged that Tahoma has some similarities with his earlier Bell Centennial typeface. The Tahoma typeface family was named after the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Native American name for the stratovolcano Mount Rainier (Mount Tahoma), which is a prominent feature of the southern landscape around the Seattle metropolitan area.


Tahoma was an official font supplied with Microsoft Office 97, Office 97, Microsoft Office 2000, Office 2000, and Microsoft Office XP, Office XP, and was freely distributed with Microsoft Word Viewer, Word Viewer 97. Tahoma was the default screen font used by Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 (replacing MS Sans Serif) and was also used for Skype and Sega's Dreamcast packaging and promotional material. Bundled in the font library of Windows, the typeface was widely used as an alternative to Arial. In 2007, Apple Inc., Apple announced that Tahoma would be bundled with the next version of Mac OS X v10.5 ("Leopard"). Leopard also shipped with several other previously Microsoft-only fonts, including MS Sans Serif, Microsoft Sans Serif, Arial Unicode, and Wingdings. As of 2016, Tahoma is still widely in use as a standard in multiple applications and programming environments. For example, a new Delphi (IDE), Delphi Visual Component Library, VCL application uses Tahoma as its default font.

Free replacement

The Wine (software), Wine project includes the Free and open-source software, free and open-source fonts ''Wine Tahoma Regular'' and ''Wine Tahoma Bold'' released under GNU Lesser General Public License designed to have identical Typographic measurement, metrics to the Tahoma font.As of Wine version 0.9.4
Version 0.9.47 release announcement
''WineHQ.org'', retrieved May 22, 2009.
This was done because Tahoma is available by default on Windows, and many applications expect the font to be available. Before Wine included a Tahoma replacement font, some applications, such as Steam (service), Steam, would not display any text at all, rendering them nearly unusable.

See also

* Verdana


External links

Microsoft typography information on Tahoma
{{DEFAULTSORT:Tahoma (Typeface) Humanist sans-serif typefaces Microsoft typefaces Windows XP typefaces Typefaces and fonts introduced in 1994 Typefaces designed by Matthew Carter IPA typefaces