The Joel on Software Discussion Group (CLOSED)

A place to discuss Joel on Software. Now closed.

This community works best when people use their real names. Please register for a free account.

Other Groups:
Joel on Software
Business of Software
Design of Software (CLOSED)
.NET Questions (CLOSED)
Fog Creek Copilot

The Old Forum

Your hosts:
Albert D. Kallal
Li-Fan Chen
Stephen Jones

ClearType - do you use it?

I used to be a fervent user, even installed the Microsoft ClearType Tuner, but there was always a nagging sensation of "blurry".

I've disabled it, as an experiment, a few hours ago. So far, text seems *more* readable, though the pixels look "huge".

Also, there is no decent programming font. With ClearType, Consolas looks great, but without... Courier?
Mr. Powers Send private email
Sunday, April 30, 2006
I can't stand ClearType. It always looks blurry to me.

As for programming fonts, google for "sheldon" and "proggy". Those are my two favorites, though I still use Courier in Eclipse because it seems to get confused by other fonts.
BenjiSmith Send private email
Sunday, April 30, 2006
I really like the look of ClearType, but I have it turned off right now because it taxes my computer too much. Scrolling through a Word document is very jerky. I wish it would display the text normally (without ClearType) at first and then render ClearType in a separate thread.
DHofmann Send private email
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Yes. I feel your pain. I gave ClearType a spin when I first got an LCD monitor at work, and I just couldn't stop being distracted by the coloured fringes around all the text. Maddening! (This is probably just down to the smaller font sizes you need for coding, because the coloured fringes become a large percentage of the total width of each line. But once I'd noticed it, I'd noticed it, and even larger text was affected.)

For decent coding fonts, go here:
Sunday, April 30, 2006
You need this to configure it property:

The default setting is just not suitable for anyone.
AqD Send private email
Sunday, April 30, 2006
BTW from what I can see ClearType is much superior than OS/X's and freetype2.
AqD Send private email
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Yes. I use cleartype.

I recently installed two new laptops and just couldn't figure out why the displays looked so crappy. Then I finally remembered that I hadn't turned on truetype. Now I'm happy again.

It is all about what you are used to. Once you are used to cleartype everything else just seems wrong.
Sunday, April 30, 2006
I have always loved ClearType on LCD monitors.

As for a codeing font, I was always fine with whatever the default was until I tried out ProFont.
--Josh Send private email
Sunday, April 30, 2006
I use ClearType on my home computer and it looks great but on my work computer ClearType is blurry and hard to read. The odd thing is that the LCD monitors are nearly identical.

James Newton-King Send private email
Sunday, April 30, 2006
ClearType is awesome on the right monitor.  I use it with my home monitor and couldn't imagine being with it.  On the other hand, on a crappy monitor like what they give us at work, it's awful and just gives a colored blur to text (even after attempts to configure it with the ClearType utility).
SomeBody Send private email
Sunday, April 30, 2006
This is one feauture that I like in XP over 2000.
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Re: ClearType is blurry and hard to read

Try the PowerToy for adjusting ClearType. If it doesn't help, you might be experiencing electrical interference on your VGA cable. They (display makers) don't bundle well-shielded cables like they used to; so you may be well-served by purchasing a thicker one from a local store. I took my own advice last week and what used to be distinctively blurry in the top left quarter of my 19" Acer 1916W is now crystal clear. But at the cost of an over-priced USD$25 cable and the creation of unnecessary trash (remember we still got the old cable lying around doing nothing). If you want to avoid buying an replacement cable, try keeping your VGA cable runs as far away as the cable runs and switch boxes at your workstation. But as always, your mileage may vary. Good luck :-)
Li-fan Chen Send private email
Sunday, April 30, 2006
I read more than I write, by a large margin. What I read is usually at default size, where as I can always zoom in at 200% in Word. So it pays to turn ClearType on since it brings out the typography just a tad bit more--making the reading material more esthetically pleasing... If you need clarity, turn it off. But I think it's pretty decent to leave on for most day to day work.

Traditional anti-aliasing is different though and I am not too big a fan of that. Just too blurry. If only Photoshop could be married with ClearType!! :-)
Li-fan Chen Send private email
Sunday, April 30, 2006
I also use it on some monitors but not the others due to the blurry colour haze effect on some monitors, even with all that tuning done.

Also try ProFont for Windows at 9pt - there is no going back :)
Monday, May 01, 2006
This whole discussion got me to turn it on for my laptop - looks nice. I think I will leave ClearType on for now.
Steve Wiseman Send private email
Monday, May 01, 2006
Jakob Neilson says it'll save you 2K per year!

I was going to make a smart-alecky comment, but after turning it on, I can somewhat see what he's getting at. I hate it when my thunder is stolen like that. :)
Crimson Send private email
Monday, May 01, 2006
I just used the online ClearType tuner and it still looks too blurry.  I use a Dell laptop with 15", 1400x1050 display.  Perhaps the fact that the display is already pretty high resolution makes it not work for me.

I occasionally turn on ClearType just to see what the buzz is about, but I like the non-ClearType text.

The next thing I'll do after sending this reply is to turn it back off.  This time, it will stay off.
Karl Perry Send private email
Monday, May 01, 2006
"I occasionally turn on ClearType just to see what the buzz is about, but I like the non-ClearType text."

LOL. Me too.

Every so often, I'll think to myself "ClearType is very popular. Maybe I should give it another try."

I just tried it out again tonight.

I still don't like it.

It's not so much that it's blurry. But turning ClearType on makes all of the text on my screen look so much heavier. It's like everything is in bold.
BenjiSmith Send private email
Monday, May 01, 2006
Has anyone tried exporting a worksheet as HTML from Excel with ClearType turned on?

On my PC at work, this results in any text on the charts appearing in uber-double-bold mode, making them unreadable.

Turn of ClearType and the charts are exported and readable.

Just an observation. I wonder what other applications ClearType messes up?
Charley Farley
Monday, May 01, 2006
As far as I know, clear type works by manipulating the individual colour LED's that make up an LCD. It therefore is a fair assumption that if you are colour blind, cleartype would be wonderful. If you have very good colour separation, you probably find it blurry.

I'm somewhere in the middle and if it is configured correctly I quite like it. I find the default settings horrible.
Monday, May 01, 2006
Hell yeah I use it. I think it looks much better than no anti-aliasing at all. It's important to put ClearType on the setting that looks best to you. Some of the settings will look pretty ridiculous, depending on what kind of display you have.
Monday, May 01, 2006
There's a lot of variation in (non-laptop) monitor setup, using the monitor's own setup buttons.

It seems to work best to turn off ClearType, fine-tune the monitor settings, then turn ClearType back on.

Though personally, once the monitor is adjusted, I like to leave ClearType off...
rkj Send private email
Monday, May 01, 2006
Nope, I don't use it.  The text on my old 19" CRT looks blurry enough already.
Monday, May 01, 2006
Thanks all. I should say I've disabled it for two days now and, although superficially the text looks "worse", I have almost no eyestrain. And "regular" font rendering really is an acquired taste.
Mr. Powers Send private email
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
I love ClearType. It makes character lines a little thicker and so I can see them easily in high resolutions.

This "demi-bold" effect is what I like about it.

For me, ClearType reduces eyestrain quite a bit. It's one of the first things I activate when getting a new computer.

I also use it on my Pocket PC PDA - unfortunately, for some reason, it's enablable on an app-by-app basis, so I have to enable it in lots of apps. :)
Newsminator - tech news headlines Send private email
Tuesday, May 02, 2006

This topic is archived. No further replies will be accepted.

Other recent topics Other recent topics
Powered by FogBugz