Tahoma is a humanist sans-serif typeface that Matthew Carter designed for Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft first distributed it, along with Carter’s Verdana, as a standard font in the initial release of Windows 95.
While similar to Verdana, Tahoma has a narrower body, smaller counters, much tighter letter spacing, and a more complete Unicode character set. Carter first designed Tahoma as a bitmap font, then “carefully wrapped” TrueType outlines around those bitmaps.
Tahoma is often compared with 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.
Tahoma was an official font supplied with Office 97, Office 2000, and Office XP, and was freely distributed with 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.