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ClearType had to go

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I had to ditch ClearType on my machine. A couple of months back I posted that I was trying out ClearType for a while, to see if I would like the supposed improved readability. Right from the start I had misgivings about this experience but I stuck with it for a few months. I did get used to it and I actually enjoyed some of the font faces – especially Consolas for Code editing. ClearType also makes many font interfaces, especially in Web faces look more pleasing, although it completely changes what they look like – take a look at Verdana 10pt Bold with and without ClearType – they look like completely different fornts.


However, over this time period I noticed that my eyes were getting very tired every day and that my proximity my screens was getting shorter and shorter. I run dual screen with my laptop and a large desktop LCD here, but I had to really scrunch up the laptop screen to be able to read small face apps like Outlook or other desktop apps.


My eyes hurt, my contacts were not happy and my eyes in general were giving me a hard time.


So today I switched back. And man what a difference. No more squinting and ‘cramped’ eye muscles and I’ve been able to back up the laptop screen a bit again.


Yeah, ClearType might be nice for casual reading or running applications and making the content look smooth, but man does it suck for working with text over long periods of time. I got used to the readability, but the strain is something that happens on a physical level.


This brings up an interesting point too though – when you develop your applications one way or another with ClearType on or Off you’re actually looking at the applications potentially differently than your users are… For some that try to tweak the look and feel of their apps exactly including the font layouts this might be quite the bummer to have the UI slaughtered by font smoothing (or vice versa).


I also noticed while going through this experience that a lot of applications (especially Visual FoxPro apps) seem to have problems with ClearType fonts in some way. Form redraws often seem to cause semi-bolding of text in what looks like text being rendered slightly out of phase.


Anyway, I’m back to no ClearType and I no longer feel like I need to get my eye sight adjusted…

The Voices of Reason


September 20, 2005

# re: ClearType had to go

Some LCDs have their RGB pixel components in a different order and cleartype needs to be adjusted for this. Have you tried this...


I personaly love cleartype, but to each his own.

Rick Strahl
September 20, 2005

# re: ClearType had to go

Yup did that. As I said, it actually looks fine from a display perspective, but physically my body is telling me otherwise.

September 21, 2005

# re: ClearType had to go

Thanks a lot for such a useful observation!Turned it off and my eyes feel much better now.

Bertrand Le Roy
September 21, 2005

# re: ClearType had to go

Well, an app that's rigidly laid out for a specific font won't be very accessible anyway and will be hard to localize, right?
Web developers got used to not assuming any font size long ago, maybe it's about time desktop developers did the same. Agreed, Winforms have not been a great ally with that so far.

Rick Strahl's Web Log
October 15, 2006

# Clear Type – this is supposed to be better? - Rick Strahl's Web Log

What font do you use for coding? I've been experimenting with different fonts after a nudge to try out the hyped Consolas font that comes with Longhorn and all I came away with is inconsistent font display issues at various resolutions and display settings. For now I'm sticking with the tried and true Courier New, which seems to work pretty consistently at all resolutions and font-smoothing settings.

# DotNetSlackers: ClearType had to go

May 04, 2009

# re: ClearType had to go

Cleartype must die. I hate ClearType.

Steve LeBlanc
October 13, 2009

# re: ClearType had to go

Same problem here. I ran the tuner, checked my settings, tweaked everything, etc... Still gave me massive eyestrain headaches. I'm not certain if it's my glasses or what, but font smoothing just irritates me. It's actually the primary reason I downgraded from Windows 7 to XP Pro - it's nearly impossible to remove anti-aliasing from Windows 7 and the smoothing drove me nuts.

February 09, 2011

# re: ClearType had to go

It is an old thread , I know, but I'm too physically "suffering" from cleartype,
serious eyestrain etc..

I bought a brand new machine with windows 7 , 8gb of ram core i5 etc etc

In short therm "A strong machine to work with", i've tried every possible registry edit to remove it, but cleartype ruined my whole setup..

I'll have to switch back to my old xp setup, I'm even considering to buy a mac!!



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