Fonts and LCD Screens and ClearType

 

By Merle Nicholson, Tampa PC Users Group

merle@merlenicholson.com


 

If you have an LCD screen – and you should! – there is a font technology that you should know about. It’s called ClearType; it’s made expressly for LCDs, and it’s already on your computer if you have Windows XP.

 

You can read about ClearType at:

http://www.microsoft.com/typography/WhatIsClearType.mspx.

 

The following is taken from the web page:

 

“ClearType is a software technology developed by Microsoft that improves the readability of text on existing LCDs (Liquid Crystal Displays), such as laptop screens, Pocket PC screens and flat panel monitors. With ClearType font technology, the words on your computer screen look almost as sharp and clear as those printed on a piece of paper.”

 

“ClearType font technology works with current displays. Readability on CRT monitors will be improved somewhat, but it will be dramatically improved on color LCD monitors, such as those found in laptops and high-quality flat desktop displays.”

 

 

 

So we know what it’s for, how do we use it? Go to Control Panel, Display Properties, Appearance tab, Effects and choose ClearType.

 

Then click OK, OK. But we’re not done yet. We need the Cleartype PowerToy Wizard. It’s a free download from Microsoft. You can find it at:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx

 

On the right of the page, the “ClearType Tuner PowerToy” Setup.exe is what you want. Save it to a folder on your computer and run it to install. It’ll put an item in Control Panel called “ClearType Tuning.” Run that, and here’s what we get:

 

 

 

And on the Advanced tab :

 

 

You can make adjustments to pick the clearest looking font with this wizard.

 

One thing I should mention. On your LCD screen, you have an “Auto” button. This runs a program in the monitor to optimize the screen for your PC’s video signal. Be sure to use that, and then perhaps go back to the ClearType PowerToy and re-run it.

 

You can make a dramatic difference in the appearance and usability of your screen in just a few minutes. Don’t forget it’s available on Windows Pocket PCs, too! Give it a try!  u