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Change font smoothing in Windows

How to enable or disable font smoothing and ClearType in Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1

By . Last modified: 2013-08-15.

ClearType is disabled in Windows XP, and enabled in Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1 by default. On different monitors, this has different effect on how clear or readable text on screen is. Generally, ClearType is more useful on LCD monitors.

In Windows XP and Vista, you can turn font smoothing and ClearType on and off; in Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, you can also adjust font smoothing to your own requirements.

Here is how Windows XP looks on my LCD monitor with Standard font smoothing, ClearType font smoothing and no font smoothing:
Windows XP, Standard font smoothing Windows XP, ClearType font smoothing Windows XP, font smoothing turned off

Here are the same examples for Window Vista:
Windows Vista, Standard font smoothing Windows Vista, ClearType font smoothing Windows Vista, font smoothing turned off

And here's Windows 7 with ClearType enabled and disabled:
Windows 7, ClearType font smoothing Windows 7, no font smoothing

Changing font smoothing options in Windows

In Windows XP, right-click an empty area of Desktop and click Properties.
In Windows Vista, right-click an empty area of Desktop and click Personalize.
In Windows 7, open Start menu by clicking Start button or using keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Esc. Type "cleartype" into Start menu search box and click Adjust ClearType text.
In Windows 8 and 8.1, use keyboard shortcut Windows Key+W to open Settings search, type "cleartype" into search box and click Adjust ClearType text.
Touch screen users should swipe in from the right edge of screen and tap Settings first.
Windows XP, Desktop right-click menu. To open Display Properties and change font smoothing options, click Properties. Windows Vista, Desktop right-click menu. Click Personalize to change Windows Vista ClearType settings. Windows 7, Start menu. To turn ClearType off or on, or to adjust its properties, type 'cleartype' into Start menu Search box. Click Adjust ClearType text. Windows 8, Start screen, Settings search. To turn ClearType off or on, or to adjust its properties, type 'cleartype' into Search box. Click Adjust ClearType text. Windows 8, Start screen, Settings search. To turn ClearType off or on, or to adjust its properties, type 'cleartype' into Search box. Click Adjust ClearType text.

In Windows XP, Display Properties window opens. Click to open the Appearance tab and then click the Effects... button.
In Windows Vista, Personalize appearance and sounds window opens. Click the Window Color and Appearance link. This opens Appearance Settings window where you should click the Effects... button.
Windows XP, Display Properties, Appearance tab. To change font smoothing, click Effects. Windows Vista, Appearance Settings. To change font smoothing options, click Effects.

Select ClearType or Standard from the Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts box. To turn text smoothing completely off, clear the check box. Click OK in the Effects window and click Apply in the previous window to see the difference.
Windows XP, Effects. Select Standard or ClearType from Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts box. Then click OK. Windows Vista, Effects. Select either ClearType or Standard from Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts box. Then click OK.

That's it for XP and Vista.

In Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, clear or check the Turn on ClearType check box in the ClearType Text Tuner window. The difference will be visible on screen immediately. Whether you decide to use ClearType or not, you will have to go through four (Windows 7) or five (Windows 8 and 8.1) additional steps in font smoothing adjustment for the changes to take effect, so click Next. Each step offers several text samples to choose from - select the one that looks best to you.
Windows 7, ClearType Text Tuner. If you want to turn ClearType off, clear the Turn on ClearType check box and click Next. If you want to use ClearType, click Next.

After you've made your choices, a summary screen will be displayed. Click Finish.
Windows 7, ClearType Text Tuner, you have finished tuning the text on your monitor. Click Finish.

And that's it for Windows 7 and 8/8.1.

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