I was a hard sell, but…

… I finally came to see the light about this whole “ClearType” thing. I had tried turning it on when I first started using an XP machine regularly, and it seemed to make things blurry, rather than more readable. So, back off it went.


But Raymond talked about monitor refresh woes on his blog recently – something I have more firsthand experience with. So, when someone brought up ClearType in the comments, I paid attention. He even included a link to this VERY handy tool, which lets you compare ClearType vs. … well, not ClearType … right on screen, and lets you fine-tune the settings. Ten minutes later, I was hooked – now my work machines (which run Windows 2003) and my home machines (which run XP) are all using ClearType font smoothing, and my eyes are very happy eyes.


If you don’t know what I’m talking about, or if you do but haven’t given ClearType a proper test drive before, you owe it to yourself (especially your ocular input devices) to give the tuning wizard a try: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/cleartype/cleartypeactivate.htm


Be sure to keep it on for at least an hour or so before you make a final judgement – my eyes were still pretending it was blurry at first, but after awhile, the differences really started to set in. I can’t imagine going back, now.

Comments (1)

  1. Chris says:

    I can see why people might think that.

    However, there are a couple of reasons why little things like this ClearType tuner aren’t always common knowledge, even internally.

    1) I’m not in the Windows division. I imagine people over there (‘over there’ logically speaking – more on that in a bit) have more insight into the various features in current, previous, and upcoming OS releases. Font smoothing isn’t really something that comes up directly when discussing developer tools, you know?

    Like I said, I knew about ClearType, just not that it was tune-able and thus more flexible than the Desktop Properties screen would lead you to believe.

    2) I’m sorta new here. I’ve only been with Microsoft for a little over a year (well, almost a 18 months now). I imagine I might know more about the particular features of XP (as compared to 2000 or 98) had I been around when XP was launched.

    3) I’m not on Campus. Our group is located in Raleigh, North Carolina. I don’t get out to Redmond all that often, either, so the opportunity to soak in the daily goings-on of other groups is reduced. This relates back to #1, to some extent.

    Having said that, I still probably get exposed to more of the various other products’ inner workings than an otherwise-comparable non-Microsoftie. We dogfood pre-releases of various products, so we get to see the features in new versions sooner. We probably use Remote Desktop more than a typical company, because we test against lots of configurations, believe in automated testing (which requires dedicated machines), and have distributed workers sharing resources.