ClearType Text in IE7


Hello there, I’m Peter Gurevich, one of the many program managers on the IE
team. My primary feature area focus is on the rendering and display in the
browser, including the decoding and display of images and the rendering of
Text. I wanted to briefly chat with you all about a change to the way IE7
renders text.

You may have noticed that after installing IE 7, your fonts in IE and Outlook
Express look different. That is because IE7 has changed our text rendering to
use ClearType. I hope you like the change. If you are not familiar with
ClearType, you can find more information on it using the link below, but
basically it is another method for rendering Text on LCD Monitors.


http://www.microsoft.com/typography/ClearTypeInfo.mspx

Here is an example of the difference you should see.

If you have an LCD monitor, it may not be precisely tuned for Cleartype, so
here are some tools that can help you get it set up.

On-line tuner

http://www.microsoft.com/typography/cleartype/tuner/Step1.aspx

PowerToy tuner:

http://www.microsoft.com/typography/ClearTypePowerToy.mspx

We do realize and have received feedback that not everyone is using an LCD
and that some people may not like ClearType text rendering. So it is important
to us that we provide a way of disabling ClearType. If you do not like
ClearType text rendering on your monitor, you just need to use the option in the
Internet Control Panel to turn it off. Simply uncheck the box.

Now some of you out there may have a few questions. Ill try to answer what
seem to be the most common.

Q1:  Why is IE7 making this change?

A1:  To improve the readability of text on the internet.

The Advanced Reading and Technologies group at Microsoft has conducted
several studies on ClearType on LCD  and CRT monitors. These studies show a
measurable improvement in reading comprehension and performance as well as an
improvement in the perceived user experience (Mostly on LCDs, but even on CRTs)
Because of these studies and the prevalence of LCD monitors in the marketplace,
IE7 will now render text using compatible width Clear type by default.
Compatible width means that, for the most part, the text layout should not
change when using ClearType. ClearType rendering will be turned on independent
of the system ClearType setting but will be group policy enabled for corporate
environments.

Q2: Why don’t we turn on ClearType just for LCD monitors? 

A2: There is no reliable programmatic way to detect whether the monitor on a
system is an LCD or CRT. When that type of detection technology is in place it
is an option that we will consider.

Q3:  Why does text in Outlook Express still look blurry even when I turn off
ClearType?

A3:  This is a bug and it is known issue. We are working closely with the
Outlook Express team to resolve this issue.

Thanks for your interest in the IE7 product and please let us know if you
have any questions or comments.

 – Peter Gurevich, Internet Explorer Program Manager

Comments (198)

  1. Mike Dimmick says:

    Note that a browser restart is required after toggling this setting for all fonts to change. It appears that IE somehow caches the font objects and this cache is not invalidated when the setting is changed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    While I realize it may be impossible to detect if a monitor is an LCD or not, you could have a white list of known LCD monitors, which you can test according to the name of the monitor definition installed on the current display.

    Seems like that would be a good compromise.

    Another option is, during install or configuration, ask the user if they have an LCD display, and whether or not they want to tune it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Odd that this blog entry does not include the now-known registry entry for turning off ClearType in Outlook Express:

    HKCUIdentities{…}SoftwareMicrosoftOutlook Express5.0TridentMainUseClearType

    Create this string value and set it to "no". The "{…}" represents the actual GUID corresponding to the identity for which you want ClearType turned off.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Every comment I’ve read on this blog so far, about clearType in IE7, has complained.

    I agree completely, turn it off by default.

    Notice in your screen capture, how the supposed "10pt" font, is actually rendered wider, when you apply the clear type.

    Thus not only is the blurryness ugly, but you have gone and introduced graphical display differences.

    E.g. If I had a column before, that 200px wide, nicely contained all my sub-text, great. But now, with the wider rendering, it won’t fit. (EVEN THOUGH IT IS THE SAME TEXT!!!)

    Therefore, turn it off by default. Yes, it is a neat technology, but frankly, I’m one of the masses, that hates it. I’ll take crisp over blurry any day.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Please let the user specify this during installation, I do NOT want it enabled on my CRT!

    Thank you.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If you can’t detect whether someone is using an LCD monitor or a CRT monitor how do you know that LCD monitors are so prevalent in the marketplace? What is number and where is the data coming from?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think Cleartype’s the best thing since sliced bread, but seriously, why doesn’t it just use the system-wide setting..

  8. Anonymous says:

    Turn it off by default please, clear type are horrible!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Turn it off by default please, ClearType looks horrible in my CRT monitor!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    "Therefore, turn it off by default."

    Better yet, DON’T CHANGE IT.

    See http://jszen.blogspot.com/2005/04/ie-bold-text-opacity-problem.html if you haven’t already. I won’t install Beta 2 Preview again to check if the bug’s still there; it’s just not beta quality yet.

    That aside, I love ClearType.

  11. Anonymous says:

    IMHO … Great job with the ClearType! The difference when I first saw it was striking. Much easier on my eyes.

    I can understand the desire others have expressed to give them on/off control, although it looks like they have it in the Internet Options – Advanced tab.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why would this be enabled by default? Shouldn’t it respect the system setting?

    I turn it off because the the fonts look blurry

  13. Anonymous says:

    By "DON’T CHANGE IT", I mean "use the system-wide setting" as domovoi said.

    "Change people’s style preferences involuntarily, programs must not." –Yoda*

    *not Yoda

  14. Anonymous says:

    turn it off by default, please, most of us dont use LCD’s.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Someone asked this already, but I’m really curious so I’m going to ask again.

    Why is this a setting in IE 7 and not taken from the system wide setting in display properties?

    It doesn’t make sense to me that only one app (well, two, IE and Outlook Express) should have the option specifically for that app when all apps have the option from the global property. Particularly because this isn’t a setting you would enable a per application basis.

    Clear type is nice and all if you have the right monitor, but come on, this doesn’t make sense.

  16. Anonymous says:

    "It doesn’t make sense to me that only one app (well, two, IE and Outlook Express) should have the option specifically for that app when all apps have the option from the global property. Particularly because this isn’t a setting you would enable a per application basis. "

    Hold on, so IE/OE can do it by themselves? Odd.

    I guess I WILL be installing again to check. I had ClearType on, so I saw no difference.

    I still think it’s wrong to impose your will on others who’d rather not take it. If IE/OE will have their own settings, set them to the Windows defaults first, THEN let us change ’em to our own per-app taste. It just seems right–would you like if someone changed YOUR settings without your permission?

  17. Anonymous says:

    "E.g. If I had a column before, that 200px wide, nicely contained all my sub-text, great. But now, with the wider rendering, it won’t fit. (EVEN THOUGH IT IS THE SAME TEXT!!!) "

    I hope that’s just for a side column, and the rest resizes to the window. I have a 1920×1200 monitor, which would make any Webmaster who *ahem* "optimizes"–I love that word–for 1024×768 or similar cry. Especially sites that align to the left.

    Web sites now really should bend with the wind, or at least change with the window size.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I second (and third) that. Never *ever* ignore system wide settings. I’ve got ClearType turned on. But that’s because *I* want to. IE should respect the user’s settings, and never never never override them, even if it provides a way to turn the override off again. That’s classic misbehavior of arrogant programs.

    If you want to promote ClearType, show an extra wizard at install time to setup ClearType correctly *systemwide*. And unlike XP, provide the tuning options as well. Without tuning Cleartype looks awful. To *me* that is. ClearType tends to look different from user to user.

  19. PatriotB says:

    I have to agree with several of the posters above: This is an unnecessary move. Windows XP already includes ClearType mechanisms across the entire operating system. Why would someone want to enable ClearType just for their web pages and emails, but not for menus, dialog boxes, Notepad, etc.? I like the idea that one poster had that would include a step in the setup wizard that could enable ClearType system-wide.

    People who have ClearType turned off fall into two categories: those who don’t know about it (since it’s off by default in XP), and those who don’t like it. This new setting in IE7 will annoy the latter group, and won’t do anything to educate the former group; if nothing else it will confuse them further. Raising awareness of the OS setting is the correct way to reach out to that first group.

    (And my personal response regarding LCD vs. CRT: ClearType isn’t only appropriate for LCDs–yes, LCDs will probably see the most benefit from ClearType, but I use ClearType on my CRT and it looks great.)

  20. Anonymous says:

    Erm? Why are you trying to second-guess the user? What other preferences are you going to ignore? Is IE7 going to change the screen resolution and run in English as well?

    Please use the Windows setting, and stop messing us around. Word’s "Reading Mode" has a similar problem – it uses Cleartype and provides no obvious way to disable it. By all means, make Vista (as a whole) default to ClearType as that will likely ship with new machines, but don’t be so arrogant as to make your application an island.

  21. Anonymous says:

    It is so clearly correct to force Cleartype ON for the default. Nothing improves reading on screen so much as ClearType. I’ve spent the last five years turning ClearType on on every system I run across, and my websites have special sections saying "The best way to improve the appearance of this site (and all others) is to turn on ClearType, here’s how:". It sounds like the only whiners are people who make webpages with unchangeable fonts too small for anyone else to read. Any reasonable person would want ClearType ON to make websites look so much better. (The WinXP decision to default ClearType off was, in retrospect, clearly the big error–now fixed in IE7 and Vista.) Big congratulations to the font group.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Dear IE people,

    I remember seeing comments criticising ClearType earlier. I personally love ClearType, even on my CRT monitor, but I certainly understand people who don’t like it, because it’s too blurry and all.

    Why, oh why does the browser meddle with the settings of people’s fonts? Why does it need to be so? It is a Display Preference. It’s most certainly NOT a Browser Preference. It should most certainly NOT be enforced by any user application, including a browser. Applications should take whatever setting there is in the User’s OS for granted and act accordingly, as much as possible.

    Please?

  23. Anonymous says:

    I think a great idea would be to add a "Paste and Go" option to the context menu which pops up when you right-click inside the Address bar. Opera has this and it’s very convenient.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I very much prefer ClearType when I’m on Windows systems, but it just doesn’t make sense for IE to have a local program setting here. Make Windows use ClearType (or better yet, a similar but non-colorful smoothing filter) by default and have IE respect that setting.

    Local overrides to system-wide settings should only be provided and enabled by default when a significant amount of users would reasonably want one program to be different from the other, and I can’t imagine that very many users want font smoothing in IE but not in Notepad or Explorer.

  25. Anonymous says:

    ClearType is great, even on CRTs. That’s my opinion. So just ask the user as IE7 gets installed — don’t enable it without asking and don’t enable it only for IE7 and Outlook Express. If somebody likes it, he surely would want it for all apps. If somebody doesn’t like it, he surely wouldn’t want it for IE7 and OE.

  26. Anonymous says:

    "And unlike XP, provide the tuning options as well. "

    Absolutely. "Lots of shareware packages can do it" or "Try the ActiveX tool at http://www.microsoft.com/typography/cleartype/tuner/Step1.aspx !" is NOT the correct answer.

    Make things easy for people who still use dialup. The Registry settings are in the PC–why not the tuner?

  27. Anonymous says:

    Here’s an idea:

    IE7 CLEARTYPE SETTINGS

    + use my Windows default font smoothing setting

    + force ClearType (even if it’s turned off in Windows)

    + never use ClearType (even if it’s turned on in Windows)

    and make first option DEFAULT!

  28. Anonymous says:

    my link: "ClearType Power Toy"

    …nevermind. I’ll check if IE responds to it.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I like the way it is, the override should stay. Maybe it could ask if you want it or not during install. The reason I really!! need this override is that with ClearType turned on the Comic Sans MS font in MSN Messenger looks really ugly. Some letters (m or r I think but I don’t remember) look really weird.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never really felt the need to comment on this blog, but I would have to agree to please use the system wide font settings. I want it to look like everything else in my computer.

    When first using it, everything looks blurry and is hard to read. It’s something I have to get used to… and that’s hard to do when the rest of my computer uses regular fonts and not ClearType.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Let’s see if I understand this…

    Am I right in that, because it potentially involves device-specific sub-pixel rendering, ClearType is device-specific, so it does IMHO not make sense to enable it on a per-application basis? For example, when you access Windows via Remote Desktop, or on Virtual PC, it is the display features of the local (client) device that determine how ClearType should work, so in theory CT should only be enabled locally. Similarly, you can’t really grab a bitmap with ClearType enabled, because you not only miss part of it, but it will not look as intended on the user’s system (the user may have CD enabled or not, but in any case it will be CT based on the local display).

    But… you grabbed ClearType bitmaps, probably expecting your users to see what you see. And you decided to go the application-specific way. I don’t understand this. Why not just leave it at the XP system-wide level? And, why not make sure that there is better communication and integration between all parts involved in the process (remote rendering, grabbing, etc.)?

  32. Anonymous says:

    I haven’t noticed any mention of how this also affects Visual Studio.NET 2003 (no word yet on express, et. al. of 2005).

    Basically, it would appear that regardless of IE’s setting, during design time of ASP.NET pages and controls, I get the ol’ clear type blurriness. Like others have mentioned, this setting SHOULD respect the system setting at all times.

    Regardless of tuning, I’ve come to loathe ClearType 99.9% of the time. I’d like system wide control to override all apps henceforth. It’d make configuration much easier in the long run.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Please don’t make the web blurry. Let users decide for themselves.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I like it. I like it. But are we going to go through type-wars again, though? The font clarity, readability, and rendering on my laptop is excellent.

    I’ll keep TrueType around for a time though. I dumped my collection of Bit Mapped in 1990; my collection of PostScript in 2001. Question: Do I dump my Mac Adobe Font Folio OpenType disk now, or wait?

    All in all, ClearType is CLEAR. Keep going.

    Michael Thomas Bucci

  35. Xepol says:

    I have what I consider to be a much more signification question.

    XP already has settings to use cleartype, why are you making me turn it off in 2 different places?

    Frankly, whoever came up with Cleartype never wore glasses, because it is DEFINITELY blurry and unpleasant just like when I forget my glasses. Frankly, it was the VERY first thing I tracked down to turn off when I installed IE7.

    Again, if I wanted cleartype, it WOULD ALREADY BE ENABLED. Since it isn’t, I CLEARLY DO NOT WANT IT.

    If, for some bizarre, unexplainable reason IE doesn’t use the clear type rendering already defaulted in winxp, at least cue off the system settings instead. Don’t waste my time tracking down settings in a trillion different applications when there is already a system wide switch.

    And yes, you can bet it was the single feature I hated, and I hate it considerably. It REALLY makes my eyes hurt to look at (as they try to keep refocusing the blurry text). If I hadn’t have found the switch to turn it off, I would have uninstalled IE7 JUST FOR THAT. I really hate it that much.

    So, redundant settings in application bad, centralized settings in XP good, cleartype clearly the work of evil.

    Any questions?

  36. Xepol says:

    Oh, and yes, I do run an LCD, and STILL hate cleartype.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Here are a collection of useful links for those people who wants to

    evaluate IE 7 Beta 2 Preview. Take…

  38. Anonymous says:

    And about the low scroll? The beta2 I installed scrolls pages VERY SLOWER then IE6. Is this a bug? Because I can’t use a browser that scroll slower then the earlier version…

    Right now i’m browsing with Maxthon, because is hard to use the IE7 BETA2.

    Another consideration, is a shortcut to open links in a new tab. Maxthon for exemple has a nice feature to do this. You need just to click and drag outside the link to open it in a new tab… PLEASE CONSIDER THIS… to do Ctrl + click i must use both hands!

    Thanks!

  39. Anonymous says:

    IE7 really needs to use the system-wide ClearType setting. That’s all it comes down to. There is a setting for this in Windows, so use it! Every other program does.

    If you think ClearType is really that beneficial, ask users to activate it system-wide during installation.

  40. Anonymous says:

    And about the low scroll? The beta2 I installed scrolls pages VERY SLOWER then IE6. Is this a bug? Because I can’t use a browser that scroll slower then the earlier version…

    Right now i’m browsing with Maxthon, because is hard to use the IE7 BETA2.

    Another consideration, is a shortcut to open links in a new tab. Maxthon for exemple has a nice feature to do this. You need just to click and drag outside the link to open it in a new tab… PLEASE CONSIDER THIS… to do Ctrl + click i must use both hands!

    Thanks!

  41. Anonymous says:

    I know it’s too late to affect your decision, but really, it annoys me to no end (see, I’m polite) when Microsoft forces some new toy into my face with the cries of "See! See! Pretty, pretty!"

    For example, I *HATE* the reading layout in Word. hate. hate. hate. Some yahoo at MS decided that this was such a cool feature. And then made it quite difficult to find and turn off. Why not ASK ME if I want this change when I install.

    If you’re going to do ClearType because (to YOU) it looks better, why not let ME, the CONSUMER that would pay your salary, either have a say in its default setting, or by ASKING ME whether I want it on.

    Sigh.

    It’s too late. And likely that you’ll just steam on ahead.

    Sigh.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Not that i think it looks ugly, think it looks very good even on my 17" CRT but…

    "I could almost not scroll at all on some pages before I disabled ClearType (yes pretty old computer =)"

    Know lots of people have already said it but, use a system wide setting please. I dont want to waste time to disable it in every app i run!

  43. Anonymous says:

    It does look like we have another war here.

    ClearType + LCD has been the best thing for my eyes in all my computing years. I would never willingly go back to CRT and regular rendering for everyday use.

    Sounds like you guys will have to push this through via Vista defaults instead 😉

  44. Anonymous says:

    I really like and therefore use Cleartype on CRT and LCD – even now that i got glasses.

    I really admire the folks who invented it, cause they improve the display resolution out of nothing but thin air and mathematics .. 🙂

    I would hate to have to turn it on per application – so please use the existing ONE GLOBAL SYSTEMWIDE switch to turn it on or off – it doesnt make sense at all as an per application setting !!

    In XP that switch is buried in "Display Properties / Appearance / Effects"). Maybe thats buried a little bit too deep to find for some not so nosy users – so in Vista you should bubble it up two levels: add a "font smoothing" tab to "Display Properties", and put the "Cleartype Tuner / Powertoy" into that tab. Provide pre-tuned settings for known CRTs and LCDs. Add Cleartype tuner info (best settings) to the monitor inf files of new monitors.

    In XP <= SP2 that switch is off. Turn it on by default in Vista and maybe XP >= SP3 (it might help to include the Vista C fonts in XP SP3) – but dont forget to tell the user where to turn it off.

    To increase the number of websites out there using Cleartype fonts, provide those fonts as a free download – at least those three to replace Times / Helvetica / Courier.

    And for those who still hate it, let them turn it off with ONE GLOBAL SYSTEMWIDE switch.

    thx

  45. Anonymous says:

    On an offtopic note, click my name, and roll over the right sidebar there.

    CSS bug on the CSS official page? Not very pleasing to them I’m sure. I hope it gets nixed…

  46. Anonymous says:

    The bugs are a 3-pixel resize of the bottom square’s left margin, and a resize of the big square’s bottom margin.

    It’s like one of those http://www.positioniseverything.net bugs.

  47. Anonymous says:

    I agree with one of the posters above that clear type is the best thing since sliced bread – if one has already eaten. And I am looking forward to the advanced version in Vista as well as the new core fonts. I wish web typography were more advanced than it is today, but I given the state it is in, I love clear type.

    I think the MS crew is handling this the right way – rising penetration of LCDs implies a different approach to antialiasing technology. Back in 2001 not too many people owned an LCD screen. Now most people do. So the switch is logical in my book.

  48. Anonymous says:

    It should just automatically detect what font setting windows is running and default to that. Usability for the masses is the key here.

  49. ThomThom says:

    I dont understand this quite. Windows got a setting for turning on ClearType systemwide, so why does IE7 start making independent use of it? I much rather prefer to have ONE global setting for this rather than having to adjust this in each and every program. I understand that at the moment it’s IE7 doing this, but I’m afraid more will follow. I like ClearType, but I don’t like this choice of IE7 rendering ClearType without reflecting the system settings.

  50. Anonymous says:

    There’s a problem with the ClearType tuners. (both the powertoy and the activex) I have to turn on ClearType before tuning it and I don’t want to turn it on systemwide, I just want to use it in IE7. What if I turn it on, tune it and turn it off afterwards? Will it remember the tuning settings?

  51. Anonymous says:

    Re: "The Advanced Reading and Technologies group at Microsoft has conducted several studies…"

    Okay, this one REALLY ticks me off. You are using useless non-facts again* to guide your product decisions.

    This reminds me of the "daytime running lights" we have here in Canada (&elsewhere). The "studies" showed, that more people could see oncomming vehicles better, with the lights on. What they FAILED to do, was separate the FACTS, from the REALITY.

    With the lights on, you can, see the "LIGHTS" much better. Does that mean it makes seeing the car better? NO, does it mean seeing the driver, to make eye contact at a 4 way stop is better? NO.

    The REALITY? Quite simple. If you can not see a vehicle, during daylight hours, without the cars lights turned on, they you should not have a Drivers License. PERIOD.

    So, back to ClearType. Does ClearType improve readability. "kind of".

    by making the text "bolder", and "wider" e.g. "bigger", it makes it easier to read. Does that mean that ClearType is good? NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!

    What it means, is that if "users" find the current font size unreadable, THEY CAN USE THE TEXT ZOOMING FEATURE YOU JUST ADDED!!!! to make it bigger. Or if they have a physical challenge reading regular size type, they will likely have already installed(/be running) a screen magnifier.

    EVERYONE on this blog, is telling you the same thing. Turn it OFF!!!! by default. If the user wants the setting, then fine, they can turn it on themselves, they are not incompetent.

    PS By Off, I mean, keep/sync with the Windows Setting.

    * Again? yes, we all know the skewed "Get The Facts" campaign, so don’t even go there.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Looks like everyone’s agreed: we like it (our creatives *love* it), but we’re not sure about the settings thing. Application-level does make sense. I need crisp fonts for coding, but smoothness in IE.

    I’d like to question the integration of ClearType with the Internet Explorer filters. I know I’m one of only a few people still using these, but I think they’re an excellent gimmick. However, with ClearType and filters, the text antialiases against black (why?), and looks unreadable. Can this be fixed? Please?

    For examples, see http://kenneth.kufluk.com (menu on right) or http://www.opel.ie (exterior colours of any of the cars)

  53. Anonymous says:

    Tiago: – if you have a mouse with a scroll wheel or a middle mouse button, a middle-click will open the link in a new tab.

    Others: If Cleartype looks truly horrible (eg, if the font colouring at the side of the letters is really noticeable in a bad way), two possibilities spring to mind:

    1. If you have an LCD monitor, try the tuner, as it might be a BGR monitor rather than RGB.

    2. You might need glasses 🙂 Seriously, if I don’t have my glasses on or contacts in, the edges of fonts are more noticeably coloured.

  54. Anonymous says:

    If someone with a CRT installs IE7 and sees blurry text, he will uninstall IE7 immediately.

    Providing an option "Use ClearType" doesn’t help in this case, because these users won’t know that this is the very option that controls the "blurry text".

    Suggestion:

    In the setup wizard, add a page with a preview box of ClearTyped text and text sans ClearType. Users can then specify which one they want.

    Thank you

    Roland

    (I love ClearType on my LCD screen, but hate it on my secondary CRT).

  55. Anonymous says:

    Well personally I’m very pleased with ClearType! My girlfriend uses a Mac and I’d always said that the text was much easier to read on her machine, so I’m very pleased to see it on by default in IE7 (which therefore means 99% of people will use it.)

    I’ve still got all my fingers crossed to see IE7 support min/max height/width! PLEASE! 🙂

  56. Anonymous says:

    Please leave ClearType off by default as it doesn’t work correctly on Tablet PCs when rotated (even though there’s a "rotation" registry setting that’s apparently unused).

  57. Anonymous says:

    I second everyone who argues for the use of the system wide setting. Offer to switch the system wide setting on during setup, but don’t introduce an IE specific setting.

    And secondly: If I understand this correctly, then ClearType will be automatically turned on for any third software that hosts the IE7 control, like Outlook, Outlook Express and countless other software, right? Now, that is truely evil. You guys provide a platform level service, namely a rendering engine. The behaviour of that should NOT change in third party apps that use it for two reasons: 1) It might break third party apps. I don’t have a concrete example, but if I program an app and use the IE7 control to render stuff, I don’t want the UI to change due to an IE update. 2) How on earth is any user meant to understand that the IE7 setting is affecting font display in other apps? I don’t like the IE7 specific setting, but if that setting also controls rendering in third party apps (like Outlook), things get really, really messed up.

    So, to make a long story short: Use the system wide setting.

    Cheers,

    David

  58. Anonymous says:

    I agree, use the system wide setting!

  59. Anonymous says:

    I have to go with everyone else.

    USE THE SYSTEM SETTING!

    What is the point of having system wide settings if every program is going to ignore them!

  60. Anonymous says:

    I love it!

  61. Xepol says:

    And there you have it, most people want cleartype to use the system wide setting.

    Why? Not because we either love or hate cleartype (and there are definitely camps a formin’) but because we all hate having to change the same setting over and over.

    I think Jody’s comment sums it up perfectly!

    "What is the point of having system wide settings if every program is going to ignore them!"

    The interesting thing is, it would appear to manually use Cleartype in a single application you have to manually modify the system settings. If a thread switches context during drawing, it seems likely that there would be random rendering artifacts caused in other applications. From a programming point of view, this seems unwise to say the least.

    Use the system setting.

  62. Anonymous says:

    Q1: Why is IE7 making this change?

    A1: To improve the readability of text on the internet.

    Unfortunately, clear type to me is a blur and improving readability is the last thing it does.

  63. Anonymous says:

    "For examples, see http://kenneth.kufluk.com (menu on right) or http://www.opel.ie (exterior colours of any of the cars)"

    Especially on http://www.opel.ie/action/go?page=agila_design&cntryCd=IE&langCd=en&webSiteId=GBPIE#1 – roll over the exterior/interior color chips.

    See why it shouldn’t be imposed yet?

  64. Anonymous says:

    Above link broken. Copy and paste the entire URL.

  65. Anonymous says:

    Finally, make an account on http://www.digg.com/ and then "digg" a story on the main page. Notice how the numbers get a black outline with ClearType.

  66. Anonymous says:

    I think Microsoft should provide an update to the latest, or a later version of cleartype for XP. I’m sure there are many improvements in later versions, and if it is going to be enabled by default, why not update it? Vista’s cleartype looks wonderful, even when not using its new fonts!

  67. Anonymous says:

    I disagree with making clear type a choice during setup/installation. The great majority of users will have no clue what it is….what kind of a choice is that? I also think it should be off by default. Let’s stop deciding what other people want.

  68. Anonymous says:

    I’m with everyone here. It took me a bit to figure out why everything looked so weird and why i was getting a headache when i first installed ie7. After i turned it off my user experience became much nicer. and I’m using an LCD monitor.

  69. Anonymous says:

    I have to agree with everyone who wants IE to respect the system-wide setting. I personally like ClearType, but I know many people who do not. There is absolutely no reason that IE should not, BY DEFAULT, use the system settings for ClearType. If you want to leave the option in to en/disable for IE alone, that’s fine, but the default should be inherited from the system.

  70. Anonymous says:

    In some cases, using the Clear Type feature actually blurs instead of keeping the intregity of the font being used. For example,Go to any site that has a marquee script running…chances are it may be blurred. Once the feature is diabled it keeps to original format.

  71. Anonymous says:

    This was the first thing I turned off. My collegues were upset, too – so I showed them where to turn this junk off.

  72. Anonymous says:

    To those who commented on the ClearType text being rendered wider in the sample – actually, no, you’ll note that the ClearType example has a wider left margin and shallower right margin. The width is exactly the same.

    There are actually multiple different types of ClearType; the kind we are using – "compatible-width ClearType" – explicitly DOES NOT change the widths of glyphs, so the layout is precisely the same as with non-ClearType text.

  73. Anonymous says:

    I don’t understand why this is an option in the browser? ClearType is an OS-level thing and I really don’t see any benefit in adding the option to specific programs. In fact it will only lead to confusion.

    I can’t see why anyone with an LCD wouldn’t want it enabled but I can see why most CRT users would hate it. Only a few can make use of it and you have to carefully callibrate them first.

    Given that most new PCs come with an LCD screen these days, and laptop sales are very high because people don’t want big towers anymore, I think it would be a much more sensible option to leave the ClearType setting somewhere in the Control Panel and just leave it on by default in Vista. Most people are going to get Vista when they buy a new PC and those who want to buy a copy and install it on old machines (either home users or corporates) will need to do all sorts of configuring, so disabling ClearType for their CRTs will be a minor addition.

    I think it’s a shame when you see a shop full of XP laptops on display without ClearType enabled because it really doesn’t show off the scrren to its potential so with Vista it’s about time it was on by default – but that’s none of IE7’s concern. IE should render as the OS dictates.

  74. Anonymous says:

    I don’t understand why so many are upset by this.

    This blog made me enable ClearType on my XP (without IE7) and I really loved it, even when looking at code in Visual Studio.

    I wouldn’t have enabled it if I hadn’t read this blog since the feature is too well-hidden (a choice in a combo-box in display effects – and it was already enabled with a ‘standard’-setting).

    Enabling the system-setting the first time IE7 is run (with confirmation from the user) would be an alternative – it is better than having it as part of the installation.

    And for the record: I wear glasses, think sliced bread is overrated, and studies show that always driving with your lights on reduce collisions between cars (and motorcycles).

  75. Xepol says:

    Lesse, we hate cleartype because we find the fonts already used to be crisp and clear. We find Cleartype to be blurry.

    Why? Simple, Cleartype *IS* blurry. It uses a routine called anti-aliasing which SPECIFICALLY blurs the edges to reduce "jaggies". Frankly, I prefer the crisp edge of non-cleartype.

    I do, however use the "standard" setting for font smoothing, and I find that it works quite acceptably for my preference. If I had no choice I would still probably go mental however.

    Now, perhaps it is worth injecting at this point that there are several grades of LCD monitor display. The first is DVI/VGA analog signal. If you are running DVI, the signal is digital and can accurately target every pixel on the screen. If the signal is analog, you have ramdacs on both ends putting the signal onto an analog wave and taking it off on the other end, and then circuitry trys to convert it back to a 1:1 address. Unfortunately with analog, this is never possible due to signal variance (and the quality of your display, resolution, refresh rate will ALL dictate how well this is done – you can get close to crystal clear of DVI all the way to a hideous unreadable blue). ALready LCDs using analog are "anti-aliasing" the signal simply by misinterpreting it.

    Further quality changes occur when you run your LCD display at non-native resoltions (if you don’t know, LCD displays are designed for ONE and ONLY ONE resolution, anything else they either pad with black, chop the edges off or "scale" the image). If you are using a non-native resolution and your display is scaling, then your quality is probably already crap. Thanks to poor scaling routines, the anti-aliasing in Cleartype can help (slighty). I’ve never seen a LCD let you run higher than native resolution so all the scaling is actually "stretching" instead of squishing. Antialiasing will hide the worst sins of this process.

    If you are running an LCD on a high quality DVI connection, you likely do NOT like Cleartype. Everything is already clear and crisp.

    Why is cleartype not for CRTs? Simple. There is no 1:1 pixel to phosphore ratio. A pixel will usually span multiple pixels, overlapping with other pixels causing natural anti-aliasing. If you are running beyond the recommended resolution (where it gets closest to 1 pixel/phosphore), you will get multiple pixels per phosphore causing severe blur and unreadability.

    Cleartype is really just a simulation of a substandard monitor running at the wrong resolution under the demented concept that it should IMPROVE readability somehow.

    Chances are, if it does improve your readability, you are either running low to medium quality hardware or you are running at the wrong resolution.

    Join the rest of us, buy some quality hardware and run it at the right resolution and dump cleartype in the garbage where it belongs.

    I think that pretty much sums it up. (or put succinctly, blurry text for cheap hardware is just blurry on good hardware and in no way improves quality or readability)

  76. gorm_b@hotmail.com says:

    Personally, I don’t like ClearType. I feel that it makes the text more geometric (rounder). This, while increasing eligibility, decreases readability for adults (I know children can read ClearType better with black text on white background).

    I don’t like it. The ability to enable system-wide ClearType in setup is a good one.

  77. Anonymous says:

    > We find Cleartype to be blurry.

    >

    > Why? Simple, Cleartype *IS* blurry. It uses a

    > routine called anti-aliasing which

    > SPECIFICALLY blurs the edges to reduce

    > "jaggies". Frankly, I prefer the crisp edge

    > of non-cleartype.

    >

    > Bla, bla, bla.

    >

    > Chances are, if it does improve your

    > readability, you are either running low to

    > medium quality hardware or you are running at

    > the wrong resolution.

    Funny guy, but far from being accurate. Anti-aliasing is not blurriness neither by concept nor by practise. And bad hardware does not implement anti-aliasing. Maybe you should just try the ClearType Tuning Tool and customize your settings. But stop fantasizing.

  78. Xepol says:

    >Funny guy, but far from being accurate. Anti-aliasing is not blurriness neither by concept nor by practise. And bad hardware does not implement

    >anti-aliasing. Maybe you should just try the ClearType Tuning Tool and customize your settings. But stop fantasizing

    Actually, the same matrix operation that is used to anti-alias is identical to the operation used to blur images. A blur is the result of a point source casting a larger image. This is what anti-aliasing does mathmatically. Colors are mixed naturally in the real world by overlapping light reflections, colors are mixed in anti-aliasing as function of the math. Anti-alasing IS bluring – don’t believe me? Go look up some graphics programming math. I’m not being a smart ass, I am stating a simple mathmatical fact. We merely define anti-aliasing as a "desirable" degree of blur.

    Does cheap/bad hardware implement anti-aliasing? Technically no, since the bluring is not an actual effect the hardware strives for, but rather a side effect of the processes. In this case, the bluring is an artifact. If you don’t push the envelope too far, the result is IDENTICAL to anti-aliasing, only performed in analog via light sources (the electron beam stimulating overlapping phosphors) instead of digitally via math.

    Personally, I consider the result to be equally undesirable. However, if your monitor produces extra jaggies through a poorly implemented stretch, cleartype could, conceivably take off the rough edges. Again, just running at the right resolution on quality equpiment would work better.

    And if you REALLY feel like arguing, you might want to research matricies transformation filters as they relate to graphics image manipulation first. (LView pro has an excellent low-level implementation of this).

  79. Jam City USA says:

    I use a Microsoft Inetllimouse exployer, and with IE7 all of the custom button programing of the buttons do not work. When power surfing the web I set my right click button to the Close function, so when a new window opens all I have to do is right click to close the window. This a whole lot quicker than moving the mouse to X to close a window. Some of the functions of my mouse do not reconize IE7. If you never had or tryed a five button programable mouse you should it can cuts back on hand and arm movement big time and is so much faster. I would hate to loose these functions with IE7.

  80. Anonymous says:

    > Chances are, if it does improve your

    > readability, you are either running low to

    > medium quality hardware or you are running

    > at the wrong resolution.

    I guess that means my laptop (running at its native resolution of 1280×800) must be low to medium quality hardware, then, since I can see a measurable improvement in readability.

    So much so that when I use a computer without ClearType, the characters look considerably more blurry and almost unreadable.

    Or maybe what you mean by "hardware" is people’s vision…

  81. Anonymous says:

    It is beyond me why anyone would choose aliased crispness over anti-aliasing. While digitization clearly means applying the Gutenberg principle to each and every bit, fonts originally did not consist of pixels, they were anti-aliased by their analogue nature. Now aliased fonts may have certain applications, but aliasing remains a consequence of screens running at a resolution that is far inferior to print. Now I suppose one day, all screens will have e-ink/print-like resolutions and 96bit colour resolution, while being able to retain a non-changed image without continous application of electric impulses. Then we probably won’t need anti-aliasing anymore. The physical resolution will be sufficient. But until that day, I don’t see why anyone would willingly force their eyes to read text at a lower resolution (isn’t that what sub-pixel hinting is in essence? a "kind-of" tripling of the font-resolution?) than is technically possible, particularly if it does not incur additional costs.

    BTW, thinking about the accessibility and the semanitc web – how many image replacement navigation elements will be done with pure text, once it is apparent that anti-aliasing is sufficiently supported? I think the number will be quite important. This is clearly a step in the right direction.

    As I said, apart from the question whether there should be an option to turn it on or off for IE or the entire system during the IE installation, I don’t see why anyone would choose not to install clear type. I’m sorry, but I don’t get it.

  82. Anonymous says:

    Why is it that IE should use a seperate setting for ClearType? I haven’t messed around with it too much, but is the setting in the Display control panel only for Explorer.exe? (I don’t think so…) What is the deal? Shouldn’t this be a system-wide setting only? This seems completely ridiculous and retarted. Out of all the things you need to do with IE, this is the last thing you guys need to worry about. CAN YOU SAY WASTE OF TIME?

    Other than that, I can say that I like much of the progress made with the second beta milestone. Page rendering on my machine is a bit quicker than with IE6, but not as fast as Opera. I’m still with Opera until the release, hopefully you will release a product that is worth switching back to.

  83. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been using ClearType in all of Windows for years so I don’t even notce that IE7 has it.

    ClearType makes smoother and easier-to-read text on every single monitor I have ever seen. Everyone who says it sucks is just whining.

  84. Anonymous says:

    Ian Armstrong,

    Yes I agree… IE7 should not have any special features that aren’t leveraged off of the OS.

    The rediculous skin is another example. IE7 needs to use standards across the board, from it’s skin, to it’s CSS & HTML rendering engine, to it’s font anti-aliasing.

    It makes no sence to have application-unique features like this because if people want ClearType, they will turn it on system-wide.

    If MSFT just *has* to have ClearType, then release the next patch of WindowsUpdate to set this existing feature to ON.

    FTR, to enable clearType, just go to Display Properties > Appearance tab > Effects button > Smooth Edges of Screen Fonts

  85. Anonymous says:

    "What they FAILED to do, was separate the FACTS, from the REALITY"

    Great example, but not for the reason you think.  The problem is that you’ve failed to recognize the difference between your idea of "reality" and actual reality.  

    There’s a reason that insurance companies provide discounts for daytime running lights– Namely, it’s been a proven FACT that you’re less likely to get into an accident if you have daytime running lights.  

    You can whine about it all you want, because it might not make sense to you, but that whining fails to change the facts.

  86. Anonymous says:

    I tried IE7 beta2 preview and on my CRT monitor everything is ok. I don’t see blur effect.

  87. Anonymous says:

    Ah, let ClearType alone; let it be as it have turned out. There are a lot more important issues in IE that demand developer’s attention. Where is :before, :after, display: table-*? Where is support for application/xhtml+xml? Where are data URLs? I wonder why IE team emphasizes issues of secondary importance and misses things that are really significant.

  88. Anonymous says:

    > Actually, the same matrix operation that is used to anti-alias is identical to the operation used to blur images.

    No.

    http://design-noir.de/Bilder/Vermischtes/cleartype.png

    By the way, I’m using a WSXGA display (1680*1050 px).

  89. Anonymous says:

    Everyone who posts on this blog will know how to turn it off, so if you guys don’t like it I don’t really care.

    But my grandmother’s computer will automatically turn it on and for her it would probably be a nice improvement. She won’t know that it happened but it could make her experience better subtly, and I think that’s great.

    Plus the text in IE is read a lot more often than toolbars and menus, so it makes sense that it be more readable.

    Just another step closer to forcing it on for everyone. Make it difficult to turn off but permanent, so that the techies in here can turn it off but most people will get past it and move on.

  90. Anonymous says:

    First of all, I make it clear that I really appreciate the efforts made by author to improve our internet experience.

    This said I would like to point out that WITHOUT CLEARTYPE IS EASIER to read text on monitor. Cleartype brings too much informations with letters and as consequence, it takes more time to quickly identify letters on screen. Moreover the text is blurry, even if at a glance it looks elegant.

  91. Anonymous says:

    First of all, I make it clear that I really appreciate the efforts made by author to improve our internet experience.

    This said I would like to point out that WITHOUT CLEARTYPE IS EASIER to read text on monitor. Cleartype brings too much informations with letters and as consequence, it takes more time to quickly identify letters on screen. Moreover the text is blurry, even if at a glance it looks elegant.

  92. Anonymous says:

    > Everyone who posts on this blog will know how

    > to turn it off, so if you guys don’t like it

    > I don’t really care.

    They don’t want to turn it off again if they already did this on the OS side.

    > But my grandmother’s computer will

    > automatically turn it on and for her it would

    > probably be a nice improvement. She won’t

    > know that it happened but it could make her

    > experience better subtly, and I think that’s

    > great.

    Probably, but that does not mean that you shouldn’t give her a choise. An image with cleartyped and non-cleartyped text will do.

    Additionally, it’s nonsense to "make her experience better" for one app only.

    > Plus the text in IE is read a lot more often

    > than toolbars and menus, so it makes sense

    > that it be more readable.

    Even if this is true (I doubt it), why should only the most often read text be more readable?

    > Just another step closer to forcing it on for everyone.

    What the …?

    > This said I would like to point out that

    > WITHOUT CLEARTYPE IS EASIER to read text on

    > monitor.

    You may point this out from your point of view, seriously not as a basic principle.

    > Cleartype brings too much informations with

    > letters and as consequence, it takes more

    > time to quickly identify letters on screen.

    That is nonsense again. One does not recognize letters by adding each pixel as "one piece of information". What do you think how much information is in a printed letter?

  93. Anonymous says:

    I would prefer this turned off by default.

  94. Anonymous says:

    I did not like Clear Type at first, but now I love it. I could not go back to blocky un-aa typefaces.

  95. Anonymous says:

    Q4: Why is IE not using the system wide setting as default and is also overwriting it

    A4: [Please Peter, add a short answer why. Our users and clients will ask US TECHIES, so please give us a hand.]

    My personal asumption is, that this has something to do with corporate clients and their needs to seperate the local user experience (system default) with the browsing experience (new group policy option). But i can not think of a good case for this… (enforce ergonomic!?)

    Or you want to check out on a larger user base if ClearType get’s accepted without making third party software vendors angry. Their hotlines would probably get a stampede with calls like "Instantly all my fonts in SAP are so blurry…" if an IE7 installation would influence the system wide setting. But probably the "Microsoft Live" Team said: "Hey, enable clear type so that all our Live services and Avalon Express apps look like they are supposed to do" – so Microsoft decided for a compromise…? Come on… tell us… before everybody starts conspiracy theories like this… 😉

  96. Anonymous says:

    ClearType doesn’t look good at all on my CRT monitor, so I wasn’t happy with the text rendering on my computer after installing IE 7 beta. In fact, I didn’t even know it was ClearType that was the culprit at first.  I figured it was just a glitch with IE 7.

    If the final version of IE 7 is going to use ClearType by default, without user permission, or without copying previous display settings, you’re going to have millions of people complain about this. These users won’t understand why their screen text suddenly looks distorted and blurry.  Not everybody reads this blog, you know.  I feel the IE 7 setup program should ask you whether you want this feature enabled, instead of doing it by default.

  97. Anonymous says:

    <i>You may have noticed that after installing IE 7, your fonts in IE and Outlook Express look different. That is because IE7 has changed our text rendering to use ClearType. I hope you like the change. </i>

    How should put this; I don’t. ClearType just makes text even harder to read. It doesn’t do any good to text, but make it more difficult to read. Why is a WebBrowser using this?

    <i>Q1:  Why is IE7 making this change?

    A1:  To improve the readability of text on the internet.</i>

    What have you all been smoking? It does quite the opposite. Reguardless of monitor, it just makes text harder to read. Take a normal font at 8pt. and then ClearType it and tell me which one you can read better?

    Font smoothing should never be used on any fonts under the size of 12pt and even some 14pt font shouldn’t have it.

  98. Anonymous says:

    Let me clerify a few points from above (as it would also seem <i> tag isn’t accepted–oops).

    Your survey, I feel, is flawed as most general on the street users do not understand the difference between "easier to read" and "easier to notice".

    ClearType does not make text easier to read. Why? Simple sckematic of fonts: ClearType builds the font using anti-aliasing, creating an illusion of a bold font. Bold faced fonts are, by nature, easier to spot.

    Then you add in that ClearType spaces the fonts out, making them wider. It’s a common tactic to add to letter spacing to make text easier to read. Bolding, on top of letter spacing gives the illusion of easier reading.

    The biggest issue comes into play with the smaller fonts on higher resolution screens. Higher the resoultion; smaller the font. "ClearTyped" fonts can’t scale down appropriately vs a nonanti-aliased font.

    On the internet, downsizing is vital, especially now that many sites are using 6-8pt font sizes. The font face you use here, on this site, is concidered "large" for most sites I vist.

    Then, you throw into the other issue, that many have pointed out here; why are you overwritting an already built in setting into XP? As somebody mentioned above: this change only aims to confuse the user: (1) if they don’t already know the settings, it makes no attempt to point it out to them. (2) Users that have turned this off will be confused as to why IE/OE have this on.

  99. Anonymous says:

    > But my grandmother’s computer will automatically turn

    > it on and for her it would probably be a nice

    > improvement. She won’t know that it happened but it

    > could make her experience better subtly, and I think

    > that’s great.

    If that’s so true, then why don’t they automatically turn on the system-wide cleartype setting so your grandmother can enjoy cleartype in every program instead of just ie.

    My mother uses a CRT monitor, if she installs IE7 and finds the text is hard to read, she cannot turn it off by herself because the setting is hidden away.

    Cleartype is clearly meant for LCD monitors, it uses subpixel antialiasing, while for CRT monitors you should use normal antialiasing to smooth edges.

  100. Anonymous says:

    > ClearType builds the font using anti-aliasing, creating an illusion of a bold font.

    With the ClearType tuner, you can make the text "darker" and "lighter".

    > "ClearTyped" fonts can’t scale down appropriately vs a nonanti-aliased font.

    This is false, since ClearType uses subpixels.

  101. Anonymous says:

    Personally I love CLearType, the difference it makes on an LCD is astounding.

    Although I’ve been using IE6 for ages and I’ve noticed that cleartype was used in IE6 for ages, at least on Windows XP. Does IE just include it for everybody?

  102. Anonymous says:

    Very good, I’d like ClearType very much, but I can understand people using CRT, in this case, ClearType is not a good idea…

  103. Anonymous says:

    This is a scam by MSFT to make people think that IE7 is superior to other browsers.

    Old people with bad eyes will be like WOWOMFG! I love reading text on IE7 better than FF!!1!

    Ironically, they already have the old people market, and everyone else will be driven away from IE7, not because it looks better or worse, but because MSFT should respect their system-wide settings.

    Microsoft, you have to realize that YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL.  In computers there are NO exceptions that are exceptional enough to be an exception of the rule.  That goes for your ghay-as$ skin too–RESPECT THE SYSTEM SETTINGS.

    And for god’s sake, use web standards

  104. Anonymous says:

    Umm, i don’t know what kinds of POS CRT monitors you guys are using, but I’ve used windows on many hundreds of CRT monitors and one of the first things i do is enable ClearType from Display Properties.

    It simply looks better.  The same as anti-aliasing looks better in games no matter what monitor you are viewing.  There is only a "blur" on some of the crapiest pieces of crap monitors that have the max res capped at like 800×600.

    "how it looks" is not the reason why i don’t want it in IE7…… The reason is, as I said above, MS should respect system-wide standards.

    If you really just HAVE to have ClearType, release a patch for windows that turns it on system-wide.

    No, the only reason you are doing this is because you want noobs to think that IE7 has some sort of advantage over FF, even tho FF is respecting your settings.

  105. Wraith Daquell says:

    I would also like IE7 to follow the system settings.

    Have you ever noticed how childish web developers are, though? Cursing and whining about features… tsk tsk

  106. Anonymous says:

    cleartype is alot better you just need some time getting use to it… even on my crt its nice but better on lcd widescreen

    anyway i welcome cleartype iv been using it in xp for over a year now and cant go back to stadard…

  107. Anonymous says:

    you can turn on cleartype in XP and have it in FF …

  108. Anonymous says:

    Much better with Cleartype. Isn’t it possible to use it in the whole system?

  109. Anonymous says:

    Personally I adore Microsoft’s ClearType and Apple’s Quartz – silky smooth fonts are far nicer than pixelated 1980s text.  I tend to find people over-react that the text is "blurry" when infact it is being smoothed out, generally people will get used to it and never want to go back.

    …REGARDLESS…

    You DO NOT override system settings.  There is already an operating system setting to turn ClearType on and off – it is not the application’s responsibility to decide "hey screw the Windows setting, I’m going to have my own setting of the same thing"… let alone the outrageous situation of "hey the operating system has it OFF yet I will have my own stupidly independant setting for the same thing ON"…

    If Internet Explorer MUST have its own setting for this, which I repeat is STUPID, it should default to whatever the operating system was.

  110. Anonymous says:

    I adore ClearType as well.  In fact, I wish you would do full on anti-aliasing for everything like OS X does instead of the ClearType half way method.

    It’s not always clear cut where it looks best.  I’ve seen it on LCDs where it looks good and I’ve seen it on LCDs where it looked too colorful and thus turned it off.  I like it on CRTs simply for being closer to real anti-aliasing and other people I know have as well.  I have it turned on on my home computer, which is an LCD but rotated into portrait mode, so the desired effect doesn’t even happen because the pixels are rotated.  Again, it’s still better because it’s closer to real anti-aliasing.

    The best differences are in italics, as shown, but also in Roman fonts because they actually look Roman, with different line widths and all, instead of yet another Arialish font with a few extra pixels for serifs.

    Anyway, I do have to agree that you should respect the system wide setting and not have a separate one just for IE.  Isn’t ClearType going to be turned on by default for Vista anyway?

  111. Anonymous says:

    Ditto to everything in "Sunday, February 05, 2006 7:58 PM by Chris".  Beautiful, but will confuse and enrage if it’s the default against people’s–and Windows’s–wishes.

    Just don’t do it.

  112. Anonymous says:

    Another font-related (if not ClearType) bug: http://us2.metamath.org:8888/mpeuni/axnegex.html shows small black boxes instead of angle brackets (see http://us2.metamath.org:8888/mpegif/axnegex.html ), even with a Unicode font installed, if the Web Page Font is set to Times New Roman as usual.

    If set to a Unicode font (Arial Unicode MS, etc.), the thin angle brackets show correctly.

    Apparently Times New Roman is specifying improper (as opposed to empty) glyphs–in which case that’s probably for Microsoft Typography, as opposed to the IE Team, to deal with…

  113. Anonymous says:

    Just wanted to say GOOD JOB STEELERS. And I can post post this here because that is what is going on in MY life. Thanks Microsoft!

  114. Anonymous says:

    "Apparently Times New Roman is specifying improper (as opposed to empty) glyphs–in which case that’s probably for Microsoft Typography, as opposed to the IE Team, to deal with…"

    No, scratch that.  TNR has no glyph there.

    For now downloading a font with only missing symbols seems to work, and makes IE use TNR for normal alphabet characters.

  115. Anonymous says:

    –but for now, PLEASE find a way to replace those empty glyphs with "good" ones correctly.

  116. Anonymous says:

    The glyphs in question are 〈, U+2329, and 〉, U+232A by the way.  Sorry I’m posting so much but it’s just odd that it doesn’t fly here, when other browsers can just…do it.

  117. Anonymous says:

    I got a 19" widescreen LCD at 1440×900

    And in IE7, the text appear with fuzzy psychedalic red, green and blue outlines and some fonts appear all meshed up, a ‘S’ will appear like ‘8’

    The webpages looked like pages off 3D glasses children’s storybooks.

    The epileptic seizure-inducing colors become more apparent when I’m scrolling webpages.

  118. Anonymous says:

    ClearType looks nice on my 15′ CRT at 800×600. 🙂

    http://www.winguides.com/registry/display.php/782/

  119. Anonymous says:

    I’ve found out that, even if I have disabled ClearType in Internet Explorer and Outlook Express, it’s still enabled in other applications, such as Norton Antivirus!

  120. Anonymous says:

    turn it off by default, use the system-wide setting, please

  121. Anonymous says:

    I like the rendering, alas there’s a bug: special characters like &ouml; or &bdquo; get a wrong letter-spacing when you zoom text to 110% or larger.

    Space appears before and after the characters. Unless you select the words, then the spacing is correct in the marked words, except that then some spacing appears before and after the selection.

  122. Anonymous says:

    Use the system wide settings guys!

    I love ClearType at work on the laptop and LCD 2nd screen, but on my home LCD I’ve tried BGR and RGB but it always looks distinctly blurry. It’s obviously the monitor but I’m not the only one that has the problem.

  123. Anonymous says:

    Dao said:

    "That is nonsense again. One does not recognize letters by adding each pixel as "one piece of information". What do you think how much information is in a printed letter?"

    Every medium has its own rules, reading text on screen and on paper is quite different. The question ‘aliasing or not’ doesn’t exist for printing. I’m a user not a technician, what I wrote is ‘my opinion’, of course.

  124. Anonymous says:

    Mike, let’s say more pixels meant more information and harder to recognize (which is obviously not true, since bigger font means easier reading) — isn’t even then text with CT easier to read, because the reader doesn’t notice the single pixels anymore?

  125. Anonymous says:

    I personally do not like it at normal font sizes, but do at large (headline sized) font sizes. For smaller than normal, it just makes things even harder to read. On my 19 inch CRT running 1400×1050 resolution, I prefer the "Standard" font smoothing over ClearType, but I prefer disabling it entirely other either of them.

    When I installed the IE7 beta 2 preview, I felt like I had to rub my eyes. Everything was blurry. The fonts, despite the claims that they are all the same, immediately seemed "wider" to me too (or maybe they’re just shorter?). Either way, the fonts did not look the same as before plus blurry, they seemed to be an actual different shape or possibly a different font entirely. The fonts looked different than they do in FF or Opera (which both match each other) when compared side-by-side.

    Combine that with the fact that it made everything so slow, and I was in a rush to figure out where to turn it off. Once I found the setting and disabled it, everything went back to normal and it was usable.

    To the person that said an 8pt font on a high res monitor is smaller than on a low res, I don’t think that should be the case if your OS is running at the proper DPI. An 8pt font should be the same (physical) size on any size monitor running at any resolution. Web designers and software designers that use pixel-specific sizes for things are getting it all wrong.

    Go to Display Properties -> Settings -> Advanced -> DPI Setting -> Custom Setting, and get out a ruler. Stretch the on-screen ruler until it lines up with the real life one (if your screen is not flat, you may consider drawing the inch lines on a piece of paper and holding the paper flat to the surface of the screen). You’ll need to reboot after making this change. Everything will probably look horrible after that 🙂 Depending on how far from the correct size you’ve been at, it may be a shock to your system when the fonts become way smaller or way larger than you’re used to.

  126. Anonymous says:

    Dao,

    bigger is the letter, bigger is the area on which the letter lies and consequently a higher number of informations can be displayed distinctly. At the opposite, lower is the space lower is the number of informations available (see pixelart and pixelfonts). Perhaps all this is matter of resolution – which is lower on screen, and of perception – we know that a font must be well conceived first. Or perhaps it simply depends by our attitude for reading with or not the CT.

  127. Anonymous says:

    I love it. In fact this is the first think that I saw testing IE7. But, if I agree with the other people requesting to propose an option to install it or not, please make sure that a "normal" user will understand the implication showing them an example as you did in this post and warning them on the potential negative effects.

    Good job !

  128. Anonymous says:

    Sweet mother of all that is good and pure, can we get some support favicons that appear to the left of url’s in the address bar?

    Pardon the off-topic comment; I love the direction IE 7, but I’m a nerdy CSS designer who wants some love.

    Danke.

  129. Anonymous says:

    Is anyone from Microsoft going to respond to the comments on this entry?

  130. ieblog says:

    JP,

    Are you not seeing Favicons to the left in the addressbar? They are there.

    "One of the masses",

    Peter will be responding to some but, if you look over the last few posts, we have many hundreds of comments. We cannot reply to them all. Be assured that all are read (they are actually e-mailed to me and a few others) and we forward them to appropriate members of the IE team.

    – Al Billings [MSFT]

  131. Anonymous says:

    Thank you all for the interest in ClearType and IE.  We appreciate your feedback and are looking at the issues you have brought up.  Let me briefly comment on what seems to be the main question/concern

    Q4: Why is IE not using the system wide setting as default and why is it overwriting it?

    A4: We believe strongly that this feature will enhance the user experience of a many users and believe that the best way to bring it to users is to turn it on by default independent of the system setting.  

    From experience we know that it is far easier to get user who dislike a feature that they are aware of to turn it off than it is to get users to turn on a new feature that they are not aware of.  It is also a question of user flexibility.  We want to provide the option for users to enable ClearType in their browser without having to turn it on in all their apps.  We realize that some of our users may not agree with this decision or philosophy, but we also know that there is no way for us to please 100% of our users.  We try to make the best decision to maximize the benefit to our customers.  I hope this helps, and I look forward to reading your responses.

  132. Anonymous says:

    Well, Peter, a lot of software writers might "strongly believe" that some little feature might "enhance the user experience". But this is no justification for turning on Cleartype by default. As someone else commented, if every application behaved like this, then why bother having system-wide settings?

    If you’re going to force this on people, why not run the Cleartype tuning wizard when IE is installed? Or render a page half in cleartype, half without cleartype, and let the USER choose.

  133. Anonymous says:

    In my view it is fairly obvious that fonts should look the same in all applications. Yes, people read a lot on the web – but they do so in other applications too. For instance when using word processors they stare at type for hours.

    Apart from that I think ClearType would be OK if web optimized fonts like Verdana and Georgia weren’t so great in normal mode. They have very pleasing readability on screen – without the blurriness. So you could do users and designers an even bigger favor by developing more web fonts.

  134. Anonymous says:

    What exactly is new about this?  The ability to control CT independently of the OS?  Because I’ve had ClearType in IE since I got XP (although not over RDP) along with the rest of the OS.

    And I concur with those who don’t want IE to do CT independently of the OS; it winds up being yet another setting that can get out of synch with the rest of the system and results in a bit of ambiguity as to which setting will take hold (or even ambiguity in the sense that common users won’t know which setting is the "real" one)

  135. Anonymous says:

    Generally speaking, I think ClearType is easier on the eyes.  Though I’ve often criticized Apple for taking text smoothing in Mac OS X too far.

    What I’m far less amiable to, however, is yet another cursed checkbox buried in the labyrinthine depths of the Internet Explorer Options dialog.  Have mercy on us (and pity to poor souls that have to walk grandparents though it over the phone).

    Please!  Move this new checkbox (and a huge percentage of the other stuff in the IE Options dialog) to a "Tweak IE" control panel, or make a usability testing backed decision and stick to your guns.

    Yes it sounds draconian, but when I compare the preferences dialog of Safari or even Firefox with IE’s (or, heaven forbid, Outlook’s), I can appreciate that an excess of freedom really is slavery to choice.

  136. Anonymous says:

    Nick (and all), Thanks for the feedback.  We are looking into how we can incorporate the ClearType tuning into the first run experience of IE7.  Hopefully this should resolve many of your(collective)concerns and issues.

  137. Anonymous says:

    >> "We believe strongly that this feature will enhance the user experience of a many users and believe that the best way to bring it to users is to turn it on by default independent of the system setting"

    So what you’re saying is that the final release of IE7 may automatically flush my toilet every 5 minutes because you believe it will enhance the flow of water through my sewerage pipes, despite that not being your responsibility what-so-ever?

    If you’re going to give Internet Explorer it’s own setting for ClearType then can we please have the following:

    * The close button to now display a dialog saying "sorry we don’t think that would be the best user experience"

    * IE to have it’s own Start button in the toolbar, nevermind that it is already in the taskbar

    * IE to have it’s own speed controls for the mouse, independant of the operating system mouse controls

    * IE to have it’s own keyboard shortcuts, different from that used elsewhere in the operating system (eg let’s start using CTRL+L for copy instead of CTRL+C)

    * IE to have a shutdown option that shuts down the entire operating system, who cares that you normally do that in Windows itself

    * IE to have a tree as a mouse pointer, regardless what mouse pointer the user has set in the operating system

  138. ThomThom says:

    So ClearType won’t be enabled by default in Vista? And that’s why you want IE to use it by default?

  139. Anonymous says:

    In our team we have Dell’s monitors with BGR. It needs tuning to looks satisfactory. Without tuning it looks awful (as screenshot on top of this page do, BTW). Anyway I don’t like it much. Why can’t we just respect system settings?

  140. Anonymous says:

    I found the new change to be a hinderance to my user experience and therefore I am a member of what seems to be a majority of testers unsatisfied with Cleartype as a default setting.

    Having to log on to the internet to find the proper solution to turn this effect off, I have wasted around 6 minutes of working time.

    I am appreciative of all humorous comments made at the expense of Microsoft (I’m looking at you Chris.)

  141. Anonymous says:

    "From experience we know that it is far easier to get user who dislike a feature that they are aware of to turn it off than it is to get users to turn on a new feature that they are not aware of."

    Should actually read:

    "From experience we know that it is far easier to simply annoy users into turning off unnecessary features we think are cool. It’s easier this way because we don’t have to think as much. Let them eat cake."

    The fact that user’s have already made this choice in system-wide preferences is no matter, you’ll just do our own thing and give them even more cludge to deal with?

    And Bill wonders why the Media Centre remote has so many buttons…

    If you are so sold on making ClearType more popular then invoke a system wizard on install,

    instead of just making people think IE7 got a whole lot better by over ruling their settings.

    The mantra goes and grows

    STAND-ALONE! SYSTEM-WIDE! STAND-ALONE! SYSTEM-WIDE! STAND-ALONE! SYSTEM-WIDE! STAND-ALONE! SYSTEM-WIDE! etc etc

  142. Anonymous says:

    Peter, thanks for your answer on "Q4" 🙂

    Although i personally dislike ClearType (in favor of Standard Smooth) on my LCD it might be the right thing for others. Or it’s just that i am getting old and dislike everything new *g*

    Honestly i still run XP and Vista in Windows Classic Theme, Classic Startmenu and Windows Classic Folders. Actually i spent the first hour of a new Windows installation on more or less inverting all defaults (show file extensions, show hidden folders, folders in explorer, detailed lists, etc).

    With all that Microsoft Live / IE7 stuff in the making, is there a chance you could implement a feature to store my windows settings with my passport account and i can simply apply it to a local machine? That would really help after a new installation or especially in internet cafes.

  143. PatriotB says:

    I’d like to quote some comments made by Dave Massy in reply to another blog entry. (http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2006/02/03/524256.aspx#524530) However I will make a few changes to the quote, in brackets.

    "If at release most websites [have blurry text in] IE7 then this will block adoption of the browser." … "Users who are not technically savvy such as some members of my family will install the new browser and say to themselves "[it looks bad]" because many websites will [look bad]. They will then uninstall the new version of the browser and tell their friends it doesn’t work. It doesn’t make any difference that [ClearType can be turned off], as far as the user is concerned IE7 is broken and they will refuse to install it."

    The reasoning for turning on ClearType in IE is to help the reading experience of those who wouldn’t otherwise know about ClearType, such as a (stereotypically non-computer-savvy) grandmother.  But what about the case where ClearType looks bad on her monitor?  Then she has a terrible out-of-box experience, she uninstalls IE7, and IE7 upgrades are hindered.

    I don’t see much difference between Dave’s explanation regarding useragent string changes and this ClearType situation.  This choice has the potential to hurt IE7 adoption.

    I urge you to either have the IE7 setup wizard ask the user whether to turn on ClearType system-wide, or to change the IE option into a radio button choice between "Use OS setting" (make this the default!), "Always use ClearType", "Never use ClearType".

  144. Anonymous says:

    I wonder why the microsoft ClearType make fonts look moired, as it is not the case with the Apple Mac.

  145. Anonymous says:

    How about use a system wide-setting by default, but also allow a seperate browser setting as well? Also, you can add it as a extra step to the installer/upgrader.

    —————————————–

    Would you like to enable ClearType?

    [Description]

    [option] [Preview with it on] | [option] [Preview with it off]

    [Checkbox to enable/disable only within IE]

    —————————————–

    Etc.

  146. Anonymous says:

    I want to agree to micksam7 and enhance his suggestion:

    (I left out the description because the images should be self-explaining)

    ,————————————————

    | Would you like to enable ClearType?

    |

    | (x) Yes. {image}

    | (_) No. {image}

    |

    | Apply this setting to:

    |

    | (x) All applications.

    | (_) Internet Explorer only.

    |

    | [ Ok ] [ Pass over and keep system defaults ]

    `————————————————

    So everybody will be happy.

  147. Anonymous says:

    WTF? Why oh why should IE be the only program to suddenly start using ClearType (and Office of course)? When it’s a SYSTEM OPTION for crying out loud.

    I’m really getting irritated by the "let’s make our programs better by forcing (insert reinvented wheel here) on users, ignoring any SYSTEM WIDE SETTINGS OR DEFAULTS." It seems that this is some kind of MS mantra, but I starting to get agitated. Just respect the system settings. Period.

    If you’re so enamoured with ClearType–I know I am, but at least I recognise not everyone agrees–then turn it on SYSTEM WIDE. IE is not special. Repeat after me: IE is NOT special.

    BEHAVE! RESPECT THE USER! DON’T OVERRIDE SYSTEM SETTINGS. BEHAVE!

    But despite the perfectly reasonable and rational pleas that are going on from comment to comment, you’ve already made up your mind: we’re going to get this buggy opt-out option that won’t work (e.g., hosted browser windows), and already annoys the heck out of people before you’ve even gone to RTM. The worst of all worlds. Infuriatingly arrogant.

  148. Anonymous says:

    Intergrating Clear Type into IE7 is awesome great work!!!!!!!!!!

  149. Anonymous says:

    Cleartype totally sucks. There is absolutely no real reason to have it with the exception of the Microsoft engineering geeks who want to show off what they are capable of. Get with the program Microsoft Engineers! Do what your Beta Community is telling you. Or else your market share will erode even more.

    Cheers

    Oliver

  150. Anonymous says:

    If IE7 was released on earlier versions of Windows without ClearType, then I can see how this would be useful.

  151. Anonymous says:

    This Cleartype feature that makes people dizzy and causes headache could be the tipping point which will start the exodus of IE users to Mozilla.

    I am sure you think you know better, but remember this comment.

  152. Anonymous says:

    IMO the basic problem with ClearType is that it’s better than standard antialiasing, but most of the fonts in Windows at normal sizes don’t use standard antialiasing! They have been specially hinted to look good at those small sizes as if they were bitmap fonts. This is one of the things I like about Microsoft’s fonts and Windows font rendering – they’ve put a lot of effort into hinting them properly and it shows.

    The problem comes in because ClearType enables its antialiasing for ALL font sizes, even those that aren’t normally antialiased (TrueType fonts have a setting in the file to specify at which size the antialiasing should kick in – ClearType completely ignores this). You go from crisp, high-contrast bitmap-quality fonts to fonts that have a lower contrast (because of the gray shades). If there was a way to enable ClearType only for font sizes that already use standard antialiasing, I would happily enable it, because the standard antialiasing looks terrible on an LCD, especially for fonts that turn it on even at small sizes. But the addition of ClearType’s antialiasing to fonts at sizes that don’t need it (and in fact specify that there should be no antialiasing at that size) makes it not worth it to me.

  153. Anonymous says:

    Clearly, cleartype fonts need much more work, plus i don’t understand why the need for change, Opentype seems clear enough and easy on the eyes.

    However I was hoping IE7 would introduce extra fonts to the ones already present Arial, Courier, Verdana, times etc….

  154. Anonymous says:

    ClearType is like fastfood: don’t use quality products but just add extra fat and MSG.

    CT makes fonts look blurred and foggy. On my monitor it even causes a kind of chromatic shift, all the straight lines get an extra red line next to it. Took me some time to figure out that IE7 was overriding my system settings. Microsoft: shame on you!  

  155. Anonymous says:

    Cleartype is not even good for us LCD users whom use DVI with native resolutions.

    Cleartype is only good for cheap analog LCD monitors running at resolutions other than the native resolution.

    Cleartype should be turned off by default.  It looks ugly on a CRT, and ugly on any LCD using native resolution.

  156. Anonymous says:

    As someone else stated.  If I want cleartype turned on, I will turn it on in the system settings for everything.  There is no need for IE to have it’s own cleartype settings.

    P.S.  I can’t believe that this is even an issue.  I guess microsoft only provides their programmers crappy analog monitors that cant display crisp fonts.  

    Running a monitor at a non-native resolution will make choppy fonts.  Cleartype helps blur the choppy fonts to make them look nice.  

  157. Anonymous says:

    关于如何开启ClearType。效果很明显,嘿嘿,看网页爽啦~ 爱护你的眼睛!