Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Font Smoothing

In Windows XP there are two types of font smoothing - Standard and ClearType.
Standard font smoothing does not change the width of a glyph nor does it change its height. The smoothing effect is created by adding lighter colored pixels around a glyph. These smoothing pixels are all within the glyph box and therefore do not increase the glyph's width. In windows XP, standard font smoothing is applied starting from 18px when using the Times New Roman typeface.
ClearType font smoothing also does not change the width and height of glyphs, thus it has no effect on line height. ClearType is in effect from 10px itself. It works by adding red, green or blue sub-pixels around a glyph to make it look smoother. It only works on LCD monitors.
Internet Explorer 7 and Safari 3 use ClearType font smoothing by default on Windows.

The picture below shows how font smoothing looks when magnified.

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