Windows 7 tip: fine tune your ClearType!

I was helping a colleague set up his brand-new Dell workstation running Windows 7, and kept wondering whether something was wrong with his top-of-the-line 24″ Ultrasharp display. Given the generally positive reviews I had seen, I expected a, well, “sharper” picture…

Then I remembered. Windows 7 allows you to fine-tune the ClearType subpixel rendering engine; just open the Control Panel, choose “Appearence and Personalization,” and click on “Adjust ClearType text” from the Fonts category. Make sure that the “Turn on ClearType” box is checked, then follow the instructions. You will be presented with a sequence of screens showing different styles of font rendering; in each screen, you select the one that looks best to you, and click Next. When you get to the last screen, click Finish, and you’re done.

The idea is that the ClearType algorithms have adjustable parameters. The best way to render text depends in part on the kind of LCD display you have; perhaps more importantly, “best” is subjective. For instance, as I guided my colleague through the process, we agreed on most choices, but not all. He is happy now, so I guess I was right not to interfere!

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