ClearType: frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some common questions about ClearType.

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What is ClearType?

ClearType is a technology for displaying computer fonts so that they appear clear and smooth. ClearType makes on-screen text more detailed and, therefore, easier to read over long periods of time without experiencing eye strain or mental fatigue. It works especially well with LCD devices, including flat-panel monitors, laptops, and smaller hand-held devices.

How do I get ClearType?

ClearType is turned on by default in Windows. If it's turned off for any reason, you can turn it back on.

To turn on ClearType

  1. Open the ClearType Text Tuner by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type cleartype, and then click Adjust ClearType text.

  2. Select the Turn on ClearType check box, click Next, and then follow the steps to tune your text.

  3. On the last page of the tuner, click Finish. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Note

  • For ClearType to be effective, you should have a video card and monitor that support a color setting of at least 256 colors. You'll get the best results with High color (24-bit) or Highest color (32-bit) support.

How does it work?

To understand how ClearType works, you should first understand a little bit about on-screen graphics. Screen displays consist of pixels. Pixels also make up the different letter styles in each font.

Every pixel has three parts: Red, blue, and green.

ClearType improves resolution by turning on and off each of the colors in the pixel. Before ClearType, the entire pixel was turned on and off. This tighter control over the red, blue, and green parts of a pixel can increase the clarity on an LCD monitor by up to 300 percent. For more information about screen resolution, see Change your screen resolution.

Do I need an LCD or CRT monitor to use ClearType?

You can use either type of monitor. You'll get the most benefit from an LCD monitor because ClearType was made to work with LCD technology, which keeps specific pixels in specific places. ClearType takes advantage of pixels being in a fixed place by turning fractions of the pixel on and off. A CRT monitor doesn’t work in the same way with ClearType because it uses an electron beam to excite, or move around, pixels, instead of keeping them stationary.

Still, you might experience some improvement in clarity when you use ClearType on a CRT monitor because ClearType smooths jagged font edges. This is called antialiasing.

Can I tune ClearType?

Yes. You can use the ClearType Text Tuner to adjust the legibility of on-screen text.

Open the ClearType Text Tuner by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type cleartype, and then click Adjust ClearType text.

Are some fonts optimized for ClearType?

Yes. This version of Windows features new fonts designed to work with ClearType, including Constantia, Cambria, Corbel, Candara, Calibri, and Consolas.

These fonts are located in Fonts in Control Panel.

Open Fonts by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, and then clicking Fonts.