Microsoft has a free “powertoy” that improves the readability of screen fonts called Clear Type Tuner. Comments usability expert Jakob Nielsen,

PCs do not need to be commodities: a focus on quality can differentiate both products and services. Software has great potential for getting better, as shown by an under-appreciated feature in Windows XP that can save users $2,000 per year…


…Much has been made of the flat-panel display on the new iMac, but the use of anti-aliased typefaces in Windows XP is the true revolution in screen design this year. The new ClearType technology that is included in XP probably increases reading speed by somewhere between 10% and 15% for users with flat screens. Going beyond simple anti-aliasing (which has been available for a few years), ClearType provides approximately three times the rated monitor resolution by directly addressing the sub-pixels for each of the three colors.

ClearType is off by default, but you can turn it on by going to the Windows XP Control Panel and clicking Display, and then Appearance, and then Effects. Tick the checkbox for smooth edges of screen fonts and make sure that ClearType and not standard is selected. Then use the Tuner PowerToy to fine tune how it displays text.


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