Poor Font Rendering on MBP - Is it OS X?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Smoothie, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. Smoothie macrumors 6502

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    Jun 23, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #1
    I don't know if this is an OS X thing or a MBP LCD thing, but after coming from my Windows machines it seems that the fonts shown on many web pages don't render very accurately on the MBP. In fact, certain letters seem to be completely distorted. It's especially true of small sizes. Here's an example of a portion of a web page. The letters seem clipped in places. Look at the "H." The legs are different lengths. The cross-bar on the "A" is not shaped correctly. This is true whether using Safari or Firefox. The font smoothing option doesn't make any difference. On my Windows machines, the letters are formed correctly. What's going on here?
     

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  2. psycoswimmer macrumors 65816

    psycoswimmer

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    I've had this happen too. Could be the screen resolution?

    Go to that page and press Apple (Command) + Plus (on the keypad on the right of your keyboard). This should increase the font size. Does it look normal now?
     
  3. apfhex macrumors 68030

    apfhex

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Northern California
    #3
    First of all, the text there isn't getting anti aliased. Perhaps because it's point size is below the minimum that OS X will AA by default. You can change the setting in System Preferences -> Appearance, it goes as low as 4 point.

    Also, it's possible that the site designer chose a poor font for such a small size or they chose a font that Windows comes with that OS X does not, so that Safari/whatever would substitute another.

    Or, it could be that you have some font issue on your MBP causing the text to look bad. If you could post a link to that website, it might be helpful.
     
  4. Smoothie thread starter macrumors 6502

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    California
    #4
  5. Smoothie thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Yes. One tap on the plus sign fixed it. That doesn't seem to change the screen resolution, but it enlarged the font on the browser portion of the screen.

    Even when enlarged, the fonts don't seem as nicely rendered as on my Windows machines. I wonder whether it's also the LCD panel. I've got a Samsung.
     
  6. psycoswimmer macrumors 65816

    psycoswimmer

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    Sep 27, 2006
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    USA
    #6
    Looks like size 6, maybe 7, Ariel. I find that anything below 8 (and that's pushing it) has that affect on my iMac.
     
  7. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    VA
    #7
    I changed my AA setting to "Turn off text smoothing for font sizes 4 and smaller" and that fixed it. Well, made it look better at least.

    That's found in the Appearance pane in System Preferences.
     
  8. Smoothie thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jun 23, 2007
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    California
    #8
    Thanks, aquajet! That substantially improved it.
     
  9. SuperSnake2012 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    NY
    #9
    FWIW, I've only noticed that issue in Camino/Firefox. Has something to do with Gecko I believe, because I don't have this problem in Safari.
     
  10. killerrobot macrumors 68020

    killerrobot

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    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #10
    Windows uses a different font renderer, Cleartype, than OSX and there are differences noticeable when switching between the two. A lot of people say Windows does a better job (clearer, easier to read), others swear by OSX's capability (it's more true to the real look). Either one has pros/cons and it's all beside the point.

    What is the point is that you'll definitely notice all the differences the more you go back and forth between both operating systems and you'll just have to accept that it's different looking in OSX than in Windows. So, there's nothing to worry about because there's nothing wrong with your MBP or your version of OSX.
     
  11. kolax macrumors G3

    kolax

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    #11
    OSX uses AA to smooth out fonts making them easier to read on the eyes.

    Compare the same font and size with that on Windows, and Windows is really really sharp - doesn't blend well so isn't the best to read.
     
  12. supremus macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    #12

    I really struggled with Fonts on OSX for a while before I found SILK. Do a google search for "Silk for mac" and download it. Once installed go to System Pref > Other > Silk - under Global / Application settings disable everything on the options - and reboot /logout.

    That helped me a lot I know :) -- hope that helps.
     
  13. warstrekkid macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    #13
    I read a very interesting post about just this in Coding Horror a couple weeks ago.
    http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000884.html
    http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000885.html
    You can read them, but the big point he makes here is this
     
  14. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #14
    Just for reference, iBook G4 / 800 / 12" screen, Safari 2, default fonts set to Times 13 and Courier 12 (probably not relevant), "never use font sizes smaller than 10", and font smoothing turned off below 8 pts, looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    With the never use... setting turned off, it looks like your post.

    I personally find that "never use ..." (under Safari Prefs -> Advanced) to be the most useful thing... I don't know what obsesses people with using 4 point fonts on their sites, but it makes the web experience much nicer for me, and the rest of the page doesn't get blown out excessively. You can play around with the number to your liking, but I find 10 pt on my 12" screen to be plenty small.
     

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