Windows XP ClearType

Posted 10 years ago by Evan Tishuk

If you aren't familiar, ClearType is a little known display effect in Windows that smooths fonts. If you're on a Windows XP machine, you can easily test this out:

  • Right click the desktop
  • Select "Properties"
  • Click on the "Appearance" tab
  • Click on the "Effects" button
  • Find the dropdown labelled, "use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts"
  • Select "ClearType"
  • Click "Ok"
  • Click "Apply"

Here's a quick visual for the reading impaired:
Clear Type Windows XP

If it's working, you'll see that your text is smoother and, perhaps, easier to read. Of course, being a web designer I can't actually use this because I have to take into account that most users do NOT have this turned on. I wonder why?

From Microsoft Help & Support

Because a standard cathode-ray tube (CRT) screen uses an electron beam to excite pixels, and does not have specific pixels at a specific location, you do not experience the same benefits that you experience on an LCD screen when you use a CRT screen. However, because ClearType still includes antialiasing support, you may see some improvement when you enable ClearType on a CRT screen.

Huh. Strikes me as lazy because there's this nifty tool out there called ClearTweak that allows you to tune the contrast and "fuzziness" of the smoothing. It seems to solve the problem on both my LCD and CRT screens. I guess when XP was being rolled out this was a low priority and they needed an excuse to leave it unfinished. My guess is that in the next generation of Windows they'll have this all figured out.

Please give a show of hands if you're already using ClearType.

6 Comments

nobrainer ~ 10 years ago

Right here, I've got it enabled, but I can't for the life of me remember enabling it.

Adam Gautsch ~ 10 years ago

Me too. Clear type was set by default on my laptop. I guess since it is an LCD screen they figured what the heck we'll make it the default setting.

tom sherman ~ 10 years ago

Use it and really like it.

Bobby ~ 10 years ago

Just learned about it, changed it on my work computer and will change it at home when I get there. Good looking out son.

olivier blanchard ~ 10 years ago

Um... How do you do that on a Mac?

(Kidding.)

nobrainer ~ 10 years ago

I just got it changed on my home desktop. So, uh, thanks for the, uh, tip.

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