General Microsoft Trademark Guidelines

The name Microsoft is synonymous with high-quality computer software and hardware products and services. Microsoft trademarks are extremely valuable because they represent the standards of excellence and consistent quality associated with Microsoft. This page contains detailed information about how to refer to Microsoft trademarks in different scenarios.

Using Microsoft Trademarks in Text

Proper use of Microsoft trademarks is important. You may use Microsoft trademarks or product names to refer to Microsoft products and services provided you follow these guidelines. Your use must not mislead consumers as to any Microsoft sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your company, or of your products or services.

Properly identify Microsoft brand products

When referring to Microsoft software and products, apply the appropriate trademark symbols in accordance with the list of current Microsoft trademarks. View the Microsoft Trademarks List.

Here are some examples of Microsoft brands and their descriptors:

  • Microsoft® software

  • Windows® operating system

  • Encarta® multimedia encyclopedia

  • FrontPage® website creation and management tool

  • MSN® Internet Services

  • Outlook® messaging software

  • PowerPoint® presentation graphics program

  • Xbox® video game system

Set Microsoft Trademarks apart from other words or nouns they modify

The common way to set trademarks apart from other words or nouns is to capitalize the product name and use the appropriate trademark symbol and appropriate descriptor. You may also underlining, italic type, or bold type for the name.

Correct: After you install the Windows® operating system

Incorrect: After installing Windows programs

Use Trademark notices

Include an attribution of Microsoft ownership of the trademark(s) in the credit notice section of your documentation or advertisement—follow this format:

Microsoft, Encarta, MSN, and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

Using appropriate vs. inappropriate descriptors

Microsoft trademarks identify specific products and services. Do not refer to applications, services, or hardware devices that work with Microsoft products incorrectly. For example, do not refer to products or services that work with the Windows operating system as "Windows applications," "Windows services," or "Windows hardware." If necessary, these types of products can be referred to by their relationship to the Windows operating system by inserting the word "based" between the name Windows and the type of product designed to work with Windows.

Correct: SpreadsheetXYZ is a Windows®-based application.

Incorrect: SpreadsheetXYZ is a Windows application.

Using Microsoft Trademarks in the possessive or plural form

Microsoft trademarks should never be used in the possessive or plural form. They should be introduced as a proper adjective followed by an appropriate descriptor.

Correct: This presentation was created using PowerPoint® presentation manager.

Incorrect: Widget Software Company included some PowerPoints in its presentation.

App Guidelines

Your registered publisher name and everything about your app—name, logo, description, screenshots—must be unique and free of Microsoft trademarks unless (1) you’ve secured permission from Microsoft through a license or equivalent (though such licenses are not generally available in this context); or (2) you’re using a Microsoft trademark (not including logos) to describe your app’s features or functionality without suggesting that the app is actually published by Microsoft. The name of your app, however, cannot begin with the Microsoft brand at issue. In addition, Microsoft logos cannot be used as a source identifier for your app, including but not limited to, your launch tile image.

For example, you cannot name your app “MSN” or “Windows Media Player;” however, it would be acceptable to name your app “Reader for MSN” or “Media Player for Windows” as long as you do not use the MSN or Windows or Windows Media Player logos or otherwise suggest that the app is published by Microsoft. Additionally, language like "works with," "designed for," and "optimized for" are all acceptable terms to explain that your product is designed to work in conjunction with a Microsoft product or service.

Social Media Guidelines

The social media guidelines associated with use of Microsoft trademarks are quite similar to the app guidelines included above. Specifically, your social media account names and any and all pages or communities should not include any Microsoft trademarks. Any associated account, page, or community images should not include any Microsoft logos. The only exceptions to these requirements are if (1) you’ve secured permission from Microsoft through a license or equivalent (though such licenses are not generally available in this context); or (2) you’re using a Microsoft trademark (not including logos) to describe the purpose of your account, page, or community without suggesting affiliation with Microsoft. Finally, any social media account should not use the name or likeness of any prominent individuals within Microsoft.

For example, you cannot name your account, page, or community “Skype Forum” or “Microsoft Products.” However, it would be acceptable to name your account, page, or community “Forum for Skype Users” or “Information about Microsoft Products” as long as you do not use the Skype or Microsoft logos or otherwise suggest any affiliation with Microsoft.

Additional Guidelines for Advertising Collateral, Marketing, and Product Packaging

You may use the names of Microsoft products and services on packaging, on websites, and in advertising materials to indicate your product's compatibility with a specific Microsoft product or service, provided the reference complies with the guidelines herein and the specifications below.

Compatibility

Any use of a Microsoft logo to indicate compatibility must be pursuant to a logo license under one of the Microsoft Logo Programs:

  • You may use Microsoft trademarks in referential phrases such as "Works with Windows XP," "Runs on Windows 2000," and "For use with Xbox."

  • Do not use any Microsoft trademarks as your product name, service name, or company name.

  • Do not use product, service, or company names that could be confused with any Microsoft trademark.

  • Do not mimic or copy Microsoft product packaging, advertising, or trade dress.

  • Do not use Microsoft trademarks more prominently than your product or service name. You should maintain a visual distinction between your company and product name and any Microsoft trademark.

  • Do not create or use any logos that include a Microsoft trademark unless your use is pursuant to a license from Microsoft (for example, do not create your own Windows compatibility logo).

Logos

Do not use the Microsoft Corporate logo, Windows logo, or any other Microsoft logos, symbols, or icons on or in connection with products, packaging, manuals, promotional, or advertising materials, or websites for any purpose except pursuant to an express written trademark license from Microsoft.

The Microsoft corporate logo may be used only in limited situations to refer to Microsoft Corporation. Review the Microsoft corporate logo guidelines.

Link Logos

You may place a text link to a Microsoft Web page on your site if the text link is not a prominent feature on the site and is not used in a way that could confuse or mislead consumers. You may refer to the Microsoft company name or Microsoft product and service names in a plain text font and format, provided this use follows the general Microsoft trademark guidelines and you include appropriate wording such as, "This way to Microsoft.com."

Websites

You may use Microsoft product, service, and technology names on your website to indicate that your website runs on, or is compatible with, the referenced Microsoft product or technology, provided the reference complies with the guidelines herein. Do not use any Microsoft trademark in the title of your website or as a second-level domain name. You may not use any Microsoft logo without a license or written specifications from Microsoft.

Publications, Seminars, and Conferences

You may refer to Microsoft product, service, and technology names on the cover of magazines and periodicals, and in the title of seminars and conferences, provided you comply with the guidelines herein and the following specifications:

  • The publication, seminar, or conference should relate to the specific Microsoft product, service, or technology referenced.

  • Your name and logo should appear more prominently than the Microsoft word mark on all printed materials related to the magazine, periodical, seminar, or conference.

  • A disclaimer of sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement by Microsoft, similar to the example below, should be included on the publication and in all related printed materials:

    "(Title) is an independent (publication) and is not affiliated with, nor has it been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation."

  • You should include a trademark attribution according to the notice format provided in the Use Trademark Notices section of this page.

  • Do not use a Microsoft trademark as the leading word or most prominent element in your magazine, periodical, seminar, or conference title. You may use Microsoft trademarks in a referential manner such as "XYZ MAGAZINE for the Windows operating system." Use outside this referential manner (such as "Windows Magazine") requires a license from Microsoft Corporation.

  • Do not use the Microsoft Corporate logo, Windows logo, or any other Microsoft logo on or in the publication, or on any materials related to the publication, seminar, or conference. Special circumstances may merit a license from Microsoft.

  • Do not use a Microsoft trademark in any manner that suggests Microsoft affiliation with, sponsorship of, or certification of the magazine, periodical, seminar, or conference.

Box Shots, Screenshots, and Icons

Box shots, screenshots, and some icons may be used pursuant to Microsoft guidelines for these items. Learn more about using box shots, screenshots, and icons.

Company, Product, Service, and Domain Names

Do not use or register any Microsoft trademark, including Microsoft logos, symbols, icons, or any potentially confusing variation thereof, as part of your company name, trade name, product name, service name, or domain name. Do not place your company name, trademarks, service marks, or product names next to, or combine them with, a Microsoft product name.

Endorsement or Sponsorship

Do not use any Microsoft trademark in any manner that expresses or implies Microsoft affiliation, sponsorship, endorsement, certification, or approval. Do not use any Microsoft trademark in such a manner that it appears Microsoft is legally associated with your company. You must display your company name more prominently than any Microsoft trademark on all materials.

Merchandise Items

Do not manufacture, sell, or give away merchandise items, such as T-shirts or mugs, that bear any Microsoft trademark, including logos, except pursuant to an express written trademark license from Microsoft.

Trade Dress and Advertising Elements

Do not imitate Microsoft logos, logotypes, trade dress, or other elements of Microsoft product packaging and websites in any of your materials, including but not limited to advertising, product packaging, websites, and promotional materials.

Slogans and Taglines

Do not use or imitate any Microsoft tagline, including but not limited to
"Your Potential. Our Passion.TM"

Company, Product, Service, and Domain Names

Do not use or register any Microsoft trademark, including Microsoft logos, symbols, icons, or any potentially confusing variation thereof, as part of your company name, trade name, product name, service name, or domain name. Do not place your company name, trademarks, service marks, or product names next to, or combine them with, a Microsoft product name.