Windows XP tip: Enable ClearType
What is ClearType?
ClearType is a nifty feature that a surprising number of users do not use. With the proliferation of LCDs during the past few years, this is a feature that no LCD owners should leave off – this includes laptop and notebook owners! Note: this feature is most beneficial to LCD users running on a DVI (digital) connection. If you are using analog or a CRT, go ahead and give this a try anyway – who knows, you may be able to see benefits. If you don’t like it, just turn it off.
Before we start, let’s make clear what ClearType actually DOES: ClearType is an anti-aliasing algorithm that actually blurs the edges of the screen text. Before you think that it sounds counter-productive, take a look at the image below. Note especially the diagonal lines on the letters N, w, x.
1. Right-click on your desktop. Select Properties.
2. From the Display Properties box, click on the Appearance tab.
3. Select the Effects button.
4. From the second pull-down menu, select Cleartype.
5. Hit OK 2 or 3 times, until you get to the Desktop.
Your changes have now been applied and you should be able to see a difference.
*Note: those with strong eyesight may find Cleartype to have adverse effects.
Read on to learn how to to fine-tune Cleartype for even better results!
Now that you have had a chance to see the benefits of ClearType, let’s take it a step further by actually improving the results of ClearType!
Even lesser-known than the ClearType feature itself, is the online ClearType Tuner provided by Microsoft. You will be able to adjust several settings, including RGB/BGR and contrast. When you first access the above link inside Internet Explorer, it will ask you for permission to install the tuner’s ActiveX controls – you should answer YES or RUN in order to proceed.
Keep in mind that Internet Explorer is a must for the online tuner. If you do not wish to use IE or prefer a downloadable component, use the ClearType Powertoy tuner instead. It’s only a 2.5mb download.
1. The first screen, shown below, includes a handy check box that shows the benefits of having ClearType ON. If you’re one of those who turned ClearType ON but see no improvement, or even worse — it looks as if quality has degraded — then stop. Look no further, the rest of this article is not for you (unfortunately!).
2. The second screen allows adjustments for RGB vs. BGR monitors. The majority of monitors will look better with RGB, so select the option on the LEFT (make sure a blue square is highlighting the option), and click next.
3. Here you can adjust the contrast settings. Out of the 6 boxes, select one that looks best on YOUR monitor. Click "Next" to save your settings. The final screen will show a preview of the text with your previously selected settings, which can always be adjusted, so feel free to play around to find the most comfortable contrast on your monitor.
4. The final preview of your text settings.
That concludes the article on ClearType. Hopefully your text has become much cleaner and easier to read. If you’ve found this article useful, please leave a comment!