So I'm plugging away at my database design and get to a point where I need to work on the UX (or UI for you old[er] peeps). I have a guide from Microsoft that I refer to very often called the UX Guide.

I have all of my forms setup to use the "Segoe UI" font because in the UX Guide it states (emphasis added by me):

Segoe UI is optimized for ClearType, which is on by default in Windows. With ClearType enabled, Segoe UI is an elegant, readable font. Without ClearType enabled, Segoe UI is only marginally acceptable. This factor determines when you should use Segoe UI.

Since Microsoft has already spent millions of dollars on user research and what works best, why should I doubt it?

So anyway, I'm going along and need to reference something else in the UX Guide, and as I'm looking, I stop in the same section the quote above is from and see this:

To license Segoe UI and other Microsoft fonts for distribution with a Windows-based program, contact Ascender.

So....is this font, even though it is included in the menu to select a font, off limits without a license?

I mean...If I have the font installed on my development machine, and I indicate to use that font, but I don't include the font for distribution on my CD (or whatever) and an end user installs my application and already has that font on their system....is that a violation? I didn't distribute the font, just use it if the end user already has it installed.

Has anyone who distributes software publicly ever heard of anything like this?

I'm assuming if the user doesn't have Segoe UI installed, the OS will default to whatever the system font is but I don't know for sure.

Maybe I should contact this Ascender place and ask.

Here's the entire article from the guide:

Users interact with text more than with any other element in Microsoft® Windows®. Segoe UI (pronounced "SEE-go") is the Windows system font. The standard font size has been increased to 9 point.

(Illistration of Segoe UI font)
The Segoe UI font.

Segoe UI and Segoe are not the same font. Segoe UI is the Windows font intended for user interface text strings. Segoe is a branding font used by Microsoft and partners to produce material for print and advertising.

Segoe UI is an approachable, open, and friendly typeface, and as a result has better readability than Tahoma, Microsoft Sans Serif, and Arial. It has the characteristics of a humanist sans serif: the varying widths of its capitals (narrow E and S, for instance, compared with Helvetica, where the widths are more alike, fairly wide); the stress and letterforms of its lowercase; and its true italic (rather than an "oblique" or slanted roman, like many industrial-looking sans serifs). The typeface is meant to give the same visual effect on screen and in print. It was designed to be a humanist sans serif with no strong character or distracting quirkiness.

Segoe UI is optimized for ClearType, which is on by default in Windows. With ClearType enabled, Segoe UI is an elegant, readable font. Without ClearType enabled, Segoe UI is only marginally acceptable. This factor determines when you should use Segoe UI.

Segoe UI includes Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, and Arabic characters. There are new fonts, also optimized for ClearType, created for other character sets and uses. These include Meiryo for Japanese, Malgun Gothic for Korean, Microsoft JhengHei for Chinese (Traditional), Microsoft YaHei for Chinese (Simplified), Gisha for Hebrew, and Leelawadee for Thai, and the ClearType Collection fonts designed for document use.
Meiryo includes Latin characters based on Verdana. Malgun Gothic, Microsoft JhengHei, and Microsoft YaHei use a customized Segoe UI. Use of italic versions of these fonts is not recommended. Malgun Gothic, Microsoft JhengHei, and Microsoft YaHei are supplied in regular and bold styles only, meaning italic characters are synthesized by slanting the upright styles. Although Meiryo includes true italic and bold italics, these styles only apply to the Latin characters—the Japanese characters remain upright when italic styling is applied.

A variation of Meiryo, called Meiryo UI, is preferred in the ribbon command user interface.

To support locales using these character sets, Segoe UI is replaced with the correct fonts depending on each locale during the localization process.

To license Segoe UI and other Microsoft fonts for distribution with a Windows-based program, contact Ascender.

Note: Guidelines related to style and tone and user interface text are presented in separate articles.

You only need to license it if you are going to distribute it (which is what it says).

True, just wanted to make sure. :)

Edit: Why would anyone need to license it then? C# is a managed language and needs .NET to operate. Unless I missed something, .NET only installs on Windows, and if Windows comes with the font...who would ever need to license it?

Edited 5 Years Ago by zachattack05: n/a

Edit: Why would anyone need to license it then? C# is a managed language and needs .NET to operate. Unless I missed something, .NET only installs on Windows, and if Windows comes with the font...who would ever need to license it?

I have no idea. Maybe it doesn't come with Windows XP.

I have no idea. Maybe it doesn't come with Windows XP.

Hmmm...I never thought about that...

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