A Comprehensive Look at the New Microsoft (Vista) Fonts

With every new version of Windows or Office, Microsoft Corporation seems to generally like to package a couple of small freebies that make it a sweeter deal, after all, as they say: it’s the little things that count. Windows Vista and Office 2007 are no exception: not only is Microsoft apparently trying to make up for lost years (almost 6 for Vista, and four for Office), and it is doing a great job! At NeoSmart we’ve only had praise for the Office team, and we feel that the Microsoft Typography team is at the very least on-par with them, if not even higher… Once you’ve read this review, we’re sure you’ll agree.

The following are examples of 10 new Vista/Office 2007 fonts, taken in Office 2007 at 11 pts. Although Microsoft has made quite a few more new ones, these are the primarily Latin-based scripts that ship with every install, regardless of regional options. Notice that the majority of the fonts are sas-serif (at stark contrast with the theoretically more legible serif scripts for longer articles), and that, for some inexplicably odd reason, too many of them start with the letter C! (Not that we have anything against the letter C, but again, why?!)

All of these fonts have been optimized for screen-readability by the experts at the Microsoft Typography Labs; and for the first time in history, it is possible to have fonts that display great on the screen and look just as well on paper, thanks to the advanced ani-aliasing features and OpenType libraries employed.

Click each font to view a larger screen capture with a wider variety of letters, numbers, and characters.

This is Calibri. Calibri is the new default font for Office 2007, poised to take Times New Roman out of its traditional alpha-male location. For the first time, MS Word users will have a sas-serif font by default. It looks professional, but not at the cost of aesthetics.

Cambria is a really nice new font that ships with Office 2007, and is primarily meant for titles, though it works great for other stuff too. It’s not a true serif font, but then again, it certainly isn’t sas-serif, but an interesting mix. Extremely well-formed characters with excellent spacing lend themselves to giving Cambria a very unique feel, and making it an ideal font to kick-start Office 12 with.

Candara is a new “exquisite” font, for lack of a better word. It’s nice, flowing, shapely design doesn’t leave much to be desired, and adds a lot to any logo (think taglines!). It’s well-spaced and embraces a new “thin-style” typography.

Consolas is the new Lucida Console, following the “Vista-trend” it’s a sans-serif font with the same rounded appeal, but nevertheless retains the traditional “code” feel, with monospaced characters and a “boxy” look.

Constantia is slightly reminiscent of the old-fashioned typefaces, but with a new twist that makes it perfect for essays and articles (pay attention to the ‘y,’ ‘j,’ and the ‘f’). Just like Cambria, it’s a mix between sans-serif and serif, and makes for an excellent display and a fresh look.

Corbel is also a new font that comes with Vista. It’s thin, spidery letters make a nice contrast on a wordy page. It’s yet another sans-serif font (also “thin-style”), and well-suited for both logo work and articles.

Nyala is a nice font, especially for art designs. It feels a bit like Candara, but it’s different enough to make it special. Great for logos and ID kits, Nyala preserves the true art of calligraphy and mixes it with technology of today. With a smaller pixel-size it may not be the ideal “essay font” but it does a great job nevertheless.

Segoe UI is a much-controversial and very popular new font first introduced in Windows Vista builds, and then made its way to Office 2007. Sleek and well-formed, Segoe UI is the new default for captions and titles in Vista, hence the slightly larger pixel-size, and the distancing between letters; as such it’s ill-suited for anything else (e.g. essays).

Along with the Segoe Family comes Segoe Print, a very nice font with easy-to-read informal characters. While being well-formed, it retains a “friendly” feel, and is excellent for certain dialogs in programs – and the notepad sidebar gadget!

[images in greyscale] [digg this] [this article in spanish] [microsoft typography] [weft iii]

149 thoughts on “A Comprehensive Look at the New Microsoft (Vista) Fonts

  1. What works a lot better?

    You can argue that these Vista fonts look even better on Linux than they do on Windows thanks to GTK’s better “cleartype” engine; but if you’re saying that “open source” fonts look nicer than “closed source” fonts… then you’ll have to be a bit more specific than that.

  2. I have these on a new Dell notebook w/Vista & Office 2007. On my XP desktop, however, I have Office 2003 but I also installed OneNote 2007 stand-alone. That gave my XP machine most but not all of the new typefaces; it is missing the Nyala, Segoe Print, and Segoe Script. Oddly enough I wanted to try the Script just for the heck of it. Have to wait till tomorrow when I fire up the notebook again!

    I wonder why they excluded those few from OneNote 2007? Beyond that, I wonder if they aren’t actually on the installation CD for ON 2007 but not loaded with the “Typical” setup – MS has a habit of doing that a lot.

    Personally I really like Calibri, the new default for Office. I’ve made that the default in Office 2003 as well!

  3. Something usefull? i still dont like Microsoft and their products, they should try to make their os run better and much more stable!!

  4. The big advantage of Consolas from a programming perspective is that 1 (one) I (capital i) and l (lower case l) are all clearly different as well as zero being crossed. There are very few fonts that enable clear distinction to be made in all these areas.

    Proggy (http://www.proggyfonts.com/index.php?menu=download) is another font family that does that but is limited in appeal as it is designed to be used at one size. It is also available for X-windows and Macs

    Rgrds

    F

  5. Great article… But what font will be shown on a website for users, who don’t have Vista installed? If I use one of this fonts on my website, will it be also shown for non-Vista users???

  6. That all depends on your CSS code. You specify the fonts to show in the order they should be tested. If the first one (a Vista font) doesn’t exist on the users’ computer, the next one will be tried, and so on and so forth.

  7. I like the fonts, but cleartype gives em a headache. On TFT’s nothing looks better than non antialiased pixel perfection. That my opinion anyway. Cleartype is nasty.

  8. The big advantage of Consolas from a programming perspective is that 1 (one) I (capital i) and l (lower case l) are all clearly different as well as zero being crossed. There are very few fonts that enable clear distinction to be made in all these areas.

    Censored by NST

  9. Is there a way to show this fonts also for visitors of my site, which don’t have vista or the vista fonts installed?

    Could it for example be offered for automatic download when someone visits my site?

    Or is it only viewable for people with vista installed?

  10. Hello, I always have a problem with new fonts. When I use them on my website I can see them but the visitors of the site don´t. Do they have to have installed the same fonts on their PC?

  11. Please learn the difference between ?it?s? and ?its?. It?s really simple, and leads to better quality writing.

  12. Why do some of the letters in the new Microsoft Office appear to colors in them. Example: An “L” reflects red and/or green on the screen.

  13. Diana, this is an effect of the ClearType font smoothing subsystem that makes fonts look less pixely and more natural on LCD screens. These particular samples were optimized for my own screen (where they don’t appear to be colorful) and may not look exactly the same when viewed on another monitor.

  14. Thank you so much. Me and one other co-worker received the new installation of Office and were trying to determine how it came about. I had not actually noticed at first look, but it apparent the more you look at it. Thanks for replying.

  15. Great, I really appreciate the information and forwarded it to our IT Department and will take care of my setup. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your help. Thanks.

  16. Instead of having to download that file, there is a way to set the cleartype in windows xp manually? Thanks, Diana

  17. I was wondering if the Vista fonts were supported by the new Windows 7. I couldn’t find the answer. After reading some of the most recent posts I have found the answer to this question. The answer is yes. Thanks, Juan

  18. although there are many awesome fonds around i am also still using verdana for most of my websites. widely accepted and good to read…

  19. how do I get the Segoe font over to my XP machine if I doesn’t exist? Does Segoe come get installed by apps such as the latest Windows Explorer?

  20. Hallo aus Deutschland! Hello from Germany!

    Hallo aus Krefeld, ich bin die Nicole und war heute Nacht ein wenig im Internet unterwegs. Da mir diese Seite sehr gut gefallen hat musste ich einfach einen Kommentar hinterlassen. Ich freue mich auf einen Gegenbesuch auf meiner Seite.
    Hello from Krefeld, this night I was a bit around in the internet. Because I liked this site very much I was not able to go without writing a comment. I am happy if you take a look at my site too.

    Gruss Nicole. Geetings Nicole.

  21. Segoe UI is a great successor for Comic Sans :)) … Ugly the same way, but proves to be very poplar with ocasional designer that look for an easy print design …

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