none
Disable visually impairing ClearType in WPF?

    Question

  • Hello,

     

    I'm a developer and spend quite a bit of time on the computer.

     

    After upgrading to the latest expression betas, I noticed the expression products got a nice UI overhaul.  They look nice!

     

    However, I wear glasses for viewing objects in the distance because of my myopic vision and I do not use my glasses while working on the computer because I can see things quite clearly up close.

     

    I've tried ClearType technology in the past, and tried various ClearType PowerToy tweak settings and still find that clear type anti-aliases fonts and makes them appear "blurry", "fuzzy" and "soft".  After working with the new expression products with ClearType enabled for about 3 minutes, my eyes begin to tire and I begin to feel a discomfort from using the expression products because of the ClearType blurred text.  Keep in mind, the rest of my system does NOT use ClearType (yet it seems to be programmatically enabled with products using WPF).  I am wondering why in the world would Microsoft PMs and Architects make a design decision to forcibly enable ClearType rendering in WPF apps and NOT respect system wide settings (leaving inconsistent feels between WPF, non-WPF, AND the operating system)......

     

    Anyway, Apps with ClearType turned OFF, I can see ridged edges of fonts displayed on my system, and to me, seeing fonts with ridged edges is a visual aid for my eyes that make me feel my eyes are in focus.  In addition, all characters rendered without ClearType have the same levels of intensities. 

     

    With ClearType turned ON, fonts look “blurry”/"fuzzy"/"soft" and there is nothing my eyes can “hold on to” when focusing, and this is where I feel the discomfort using ClearType.  In addition, it appears that characters with thin vertical strokes (such as lower case L "l" and lower case I "i") have different intensities with neighboring characters when ClearType is turned on.  All these "ClearType" enhancements feel very bad on my eyes because they can't focus on edges.  In addition, the effects look really ugly and looks like something is wrong with the video card.  You can see the effect here:

     

    http://www.directgames.net/temp/cleartype.png

     

    In short, I simply do not want ClearType rendering on my system.  Can this be disabled per-application via a config file?  Disabled at the .NET 3.0 layer via machine.config?  Disabled at the operating system GDI/GDI+ layer via registry?  Or by some far fetched chance disabled at the video driver level?

     

    If Microsoft WPF Avalon team did not provide a way to disable ClearType in WPF, can someone point me to the runtime DLLs for the WPF rendering engine?  Is there any chance at setting API hooks to reject/forward requests for ClearType rendering?  I’d go to great lengths to disable visually impairing and annoying ClearType.  I’ll dive into ring0 and patch system call tables if absolutely I need to.

     

    Thanks,

    Brian

     

    PS.  By searching these forums and google-ing, it seems like I’m not the only one who finds ClearType not very “Clear Type”.  As someone that spends nearly 20 hours a day learning and developing cool stuff, ClearType feels like it would deteriorate my vision more quickly since I'm not able to focus on ridged font edges regularly.

    Wednesday, December 6, 2006 5:19 AM

Answers

  • Theres another thread similar to this http://forums.microsoft.com/msdn/showpost.aspx?postid=2463039&siteid=1&sb=0&d=1&at=7&ft=11&tf=0&pageid=1

     

    the answer is best provided by David's comment below:

     

    Regarding WPF's text --

    • WPF does indeed have its own cleartype font rendering stack
    • WPF does follow the OS' cleartype font rendering settings which are set by the cleartype tuning power toy, so you should definitely try that out and see if it improves your text quality.
    • GDI's cleartype, like WPF's, makes use of the fact that LCD pixels are usually three vertical rectangular sub-pixels (one each for R, G, and B) and that the color ordering is usually the same.  Doing this conceptually triples the horizontal resolution of the display.
    • WPF's cleartype is fundamentally different from that of GDI's in that GDI always snaps each glyph to both vertical and horizontal pixel boundaries.  By doing this, GDI achieves higher glyph contrast at the expense of horizontal glyph alighnment.  To see this in action, open Word and type a series of 'l' characters in a variety of fonts: llllllllllllllllllllllll  -- each l looks the same, but the spacing is erratic.  This is especially noticeable with smaller fonts. (~8 pt)
    • WPF does not pixel-snap glyphs horizontally.  By allowing glyphs to begin on sub-pixel boundaries, WPF positions glyphs much more accurately than GDI, but at the expense of some glyph contrast.  Repeat the previous experiment in a WPF app, like xamlpad.  Note that the 'l' spacing is unfiorm, but the 'l's don't all look the same.
    • We (the WPF team) realize that not everyone prioritizes glyph position over glyph contrast, and we're currently investigating changes that could allow more control here.
    • As always, I can't promise anything, but we definitely do know there has been some mixed sentiment about the way fonts are rendered.

    Thanks!
    David

    David Teitlebaum MSFT

     

     

    Friday, March 7, 2008 3:15 PM
    Moderator
  • Thursday, December 7, 2006 4:51 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Thursday, December 7, 2006 4:51 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi LesterLobo,

    I've seen that thread before I posted my problem.

    But I'm not looking for a solution to improve ClearType on my system.  The solution I'm looking for includes completely disabling ClearType rendering in WPF.  Given WPF's inability to respect system wide settings, I don't think it's possible to disable ClearType rendering in the current release of WPF; therefore, I'm looking for a solution that goes beyond WPF into lower rendering code that simply disables ClearType.

     

    Thanks,
    Brian

    PS. For those of you reading this post who can't stand looking at ClearType anti-aliased text, please speak up.  This is the only way we are going to get Microsoft to listen to its customers and developers; in addition to supporting a feature that disables ClearType rendering in WPF.  I think WPF has a lot of potential and a great framework to develop new multimedia apps but I have yet to even think about converting my apps to use WPF because there is no easy way to disable ClearType.

    Wednesday, December 20, 2006 11:23 AM
  • I must admit I'm not a fan of ClearType - I like my fonts to be crisp and to me the visual quality of font rendering in WPF does indeed make them look blurry - particularly small fonts.

    Flash applications suffer from the same problem.  Anti-aliased fonts just dont look as nice in my opinion.  At the very least there should be a way to turn the Cleartype feature off.

    Wednesday, December 20, 2006 11:40 AM
  • ClearType cannot be disabled on wpf.

    Furthermore, to answer your question, I believe the PMs and architects took the decision to enable it by default because a very wide majority of users find it much more comfortable than using normal AA, or worse, no anti-aliasing at all, which I hate as much as you hate cleartype :)

    That said, I agree with you that the Blend and Designer tools have very blurry characters. I believe it's mostly from using SnapToPixel inadequately but that could be just me. All my fonts are very visible with no bad effects on my machine except for these tools, and then again only in the menus.

    Liking ClearType or not is very subjective indeed. But subpixel on Vista / WPF is so much better than the one on MacOSX

    Wednesday, December 20, 2006 11:46 AM
  • True, its a very subjective matter - but thats all the more reason to make ClearType an optional rather than a mandatory setting.
    Wednesday, December 20, 2006 12:31 PM
  • I hate cleartype. I've been using computers for 20 years and that one of the worse *forced* regression I ever had. I am hyperopia and I use a 24" vertical screen. ClearType simply sucks with vertical screen since the "resolution increase" is used in the wrong way. There no way to "fix" ClearType to tell it to increase vertical resolution instead of horizontal resolution. If there was a way to fix, it wouldn't be that much a problem. In fact, GDI could detect it by the monitor resolution, which is 1200x1920 in my case, which is obviously vertical!

    So I am getting used to disable ClearType in every new Microsoft applications, because the standard Microsoft user will love it soo much, but I just stumbled on XPS viewer that also enables ClearType but without any obvious way of disabling it. I agree that probably most of the user likes it, and that's fine. But it's not a reason to set it mandatory! There a system wide setting. Just change it if you think its a good idea. Please stop adding the same setting (enable ClearType) in every application. XPS documents gets opened in IE7. I disabled ClearType in IE7. But the document still shows ClearType-enabled because of the XPS ActiveX that doesn't care about IE7 or system-wide settings.

    Is there something to do to disable cleartype in XPSViewer?

    Thanks

    A desesperate reader.

    Saturday, December 23, 2006 1:32 AM
  • In addition I have to say that WPF's ClearType is very different from the system's ClearType. System's ClearType renders text just fine, but WPF's text appear blurry on all machines I have worked on.

    I work with WPF for money, and I think that the problem with text rendering is the worst problem in the current version of WPF.

    Thanks,

    Eugene.

    Saturday, December 23, 2006 9:29 AM
  • LesterLobo,

     

    I think you’re probably an important person at Microsoft that deals with WPF and I really hope you’re reading this...

     

    I believe most of Microsoft’s effort to push ClearType technology stems from the fact that they’ve spent a lot of money on ClearType and they’ve done research and their research has lead them to the conclusion that “ClearType generally increases user productivity.”  This mentality has started to permeate throughout the minds of Microsoft Project Mangers and their developers; thus, ClearType finding its way into the latest bits recently pumped out of Microsoft.

     

    You can find some of the studies by University of Texas here:

     

    http://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~ct/

     

    If you take a look at the studies/experiments these three Ph.Ds performed, (in section “2.1 & 4.1 Participants”), you’ll find the following:

     

    All participants [of the ClearType Readability Study] met the following criteria:

     -- Age 18 or Older,

     -- English as a first language

     -- Self-Reported familiarity using Internet Explorer

     -- Self-Reported as having 20/20, standard, or corrected vision

     -- Self-Reported as having no reading disabilities or color blindness

     

    I’m not sure how many had “corrected vision” (hyperopic and myopic) users in their study.  But their results show, general performance improvements for the masses; and that’s really what Microsoft cares about (and possibly incorrectly assumed general improvements for users with visual disabilities).  Only when Microsoft is confronted with a lawsuit from a disabilities rights organization by people complaining of head aches, discomfort, and further degraded vision by using their new ClearType enabled Vista OS and WPF-ized products, will we probably ever see applications and a feature that respect the SYSTEM WIDE settings to disable ClearType totally and entirely.  And only then will Microsoft learn that the design choice for not respecting system wide settings in WPF was a mistake (and will probably cost more to implement such a feature later than now as the WPF rendering engine continues to become more and more complex).

     

    Now, don’t get me wrong... I love .NET and C# with all my little programming heart (I’d say with all my soul too, but I already dedicated that to Jesus).  I eat, sleep, drink, think, breath, and smell like C#, in the garage here where I program my nights away, I’m a very devoted and dedicated Microsoft Developer, and responsible for convincing several companies to switchover, and embrace .NET and use Microsoft technology.  But what I think Microsoft is doing with WPF, by not respecting system-wide settings, was a rushed decision and not well thought out by the PMs (and there's probably some technical hurdles the WPF team would have to overcome to support NON-ClearType rendered text, but with all the talented people at MS, Im sure WPF can find a way).  I understand Microsoft sees benefits and an increase in user productivity by using ClearType for the general masses, but I hope Microsoft also sees ClearType is, like Dudley said, a very subjective matter (especially by users with visual disabilities), and should make ClearType an optional setting rather than a mandatory one.

     

    Simply put, ClearType alters the visual appearance of text.  And anytime you mess with the visual appearance with anything, you need to leave a way for compatibility if the visual change fundamentally changes the experience of the user.  Ignoring a system wide setting, causes inconsistencies between the OS, other apps, and WPF.

     

    Mr. Lester Lobo, I looked at your blog post titled “Time to shoot feature request” for WPF found here:

     

    http://blogs.msdn.com/llobo/archive/2006/09/20/763846.aspx

     

    You’ll notice that “someone” posted a comment on Oct. 18, 2006 for a feature request for the ability to turn off ClearType optionally.  And “someone”’s comment also adds:

     

              “This is what is keeping many developers I know off WPF. ClearType DOESNT look good on CRTs.”

     

    I don’t even know the guy/girl and he/she’s dead on right, it’s keeping ME off WPF too.

     

    Mr. Lester Lobo, google “disable cleartype” and you’ll find users who hate ClearType with a passion.  Thankfully, Office 2007 team took note of this and optionally supports disabling ClearType via DWORD value in the registry named “RespectSystemFontSmooth”

     

    http://pointerx.net/blogs/glozano/archive/2006/11/14/How-to_3A00_-disable-ClearType-for-2007-Office-System.aspx

     

    I plead and beg you to support a feature to optionally disable ClearType in WPF.  Please.  Or at least, send a link to this topic to someone at Microsoft who has the power to disable ClearType in WPF.

     

    These are your customers speaking,

    A very dedicated MS fanboy,

    & speaking for those who haven’t yet complained,

     

    Brian Chavez

     

    PS.  I’m just glad Vista is shipping with the Classic theme and ClearType (in classic mode) can be disabled.  Otherwise, my Microsoft days would be numbered. ;)  arrr... i need to get some sleep, sorry for the grammar errors and typos. =P

    Tuesday, December 26, 2006 12:20 PM
  • Wow! Just saw this thread and I can't believe it! Please MS listen to Brian Chavez!

    Eli

    Tuesday, December 26, 2006 2:08 PM
  • I may be a Microsoft customer, but I'm first and foremost a businessman with a business to run. If a client ask me for which technology to go with, I look at it from a gain / cost perspective. At the moment the gain/cost is still on the winforms side, but only because of lack of trained people at the client's side, and the lack of designers that some developers require to be productive.

    From a technological perspective, WPF's value proposition is large enough for cleartype not being seriously considered a blocking factor to the framework's adoption. Even with fonts that are, I agree with many on here, more blurry than on a gdi clearType drawing.

    That said, before judging i'll wait to see the result of clearType through shaders as supported by DirectX10  before starting to voice my opinion.

    Thursday, December 28, 2006 9:58 AM
  •  SerialSeb wrote:

    From a technological perspective, WPF's value proposition is large enough for cleartype not being seriously considered a blocking factor to the framework's adoption.

    From your wording, It sounds as if you're making an objective statement, but of course it's very subjective. For other businesses, the forced and faulty ClearType can obviously be a showstopper.

    And I can't see what DX10 could change, really. Most of us have a majority of customers that probably won't upgrade to Vista the next 3-5 years. Are you arguing a solution to the blurring problem could be to tell customers to get a new computer in order to read the text in our apps?

    Thursday, December 28, 2006 10:34 AM
  • In some case it happens, as with the project i'm currently working on. In most case however, you can't expect that from your clients, and I'll agree with you on that point.

    My point here is that if the value of adopting WPF is high enough in the context of a project, blurry text in small font sizes is often a minor annoyance that is more than anything subjective.

    I'd also add that for people that have poor vision that seem to be the most impacted by these problems, increasing the font size can result in a much more comfortable experience.

    That said there's no denying that the rendering of text at small font sizes, because of subpixel positionning. If anything I'd advocate asking microsoft to deactivate subpixel positionning for very smal font sizes.

    I'll stand by my position that if your project requires wpf, it is because your scope is much larger than what winforms offer right now, and in that case saying that clartype is a showstopper is probably very subjective. I don't see wpf as a general replacement for gdi or winforms for this version for most lob applications.

    Tuesday, January 9, 2007 4:21 PM
  • I think it would be a good if we developers had some control over where, when and how ClearType is used in our WPF apps.  Accessibility (and usability for everyone) is largely about making UIs more adjustable.  The main idea of WPF's layout features (like flow layout) and scalable fonts is to not force users to view the content in one fixed way.  (I'm so sick of looking at fixed size 800x600 pixel web pages with unscalable text that is microscopically small on my 1600x1200 monitor).  Shouldn't WPF's customizability extend to something as fundamental as when and where text anti-aliasing is used?

    It is ironic how WPF is held up as a model for Accessibility design (and in many ways it is), and yet for some of us it is actually a step backward in Accessibility ;-).

    Here is another issue related to text fuzziness and ClearType: http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1184105&SiteID=1&mode=1

    The related "general blurriness of WPF" issue:
    I personally am not so bothered by ClearType in general as I am by the irritatingly fuzzy, out-of-focus look of some WPF apps.  For example, the icons used in Expression Blend's own UI have always appeared annoyingly blurry to me.  See: http://www.flickr.com/photos/52602162@N00/377764319/   It would be nice if there was a "crispness" switch I could turn on.  The existing SnapsToDevicePixels property is a step in the right direction.

    Part of this may be caused by the fact that I run XP with larger than normal text.  My 1600x1200 monitor is 94 dpi physically, but I run with a 154 dpi setting because the "normal" 96 dpi setting makes the text way too small for me at 1600x1200.

    Alex

    Friday, February 2, 2007 10:33 PM
  • Aargh - I hate these new fonts too...

     

    I'm not clever enough to know what is going on, but I did run a graphic design company for 5 years and know when the fonts on my monitor are fuzzy...

    My PC died yesterday from a virus, our IT dept reinstalled from scratch and now my screen is out of whack. fonts in the bottom corner are ok, but not ok in other areas of the screen - I have tried all manner of setting tweaks, but the simple fact remains that the fonts are all blurred.

    I can see RGB outlines next to letters, as if the letter hasn't been 'coloured in' properly. My colleagues computer doesn't have the same problem - what's with that?

    I am running at 1280 x 1024 and have had to boost the DPI to 110% just to be able to read.

    Can anyone suggest any tricks to help a non-techy turn my monitor back into a functional tool???

    Thanks,

     

    Nelson.

    Wednesday, February 7, 2007 10:59 AM
  • Did you try the ClearType tuner thing?
    http://www.microsoft.com/typography/cleartype/tuner/Step1.aspx

    Is your monitor an LCD or a traditional "tube" type?

    Alex

    Wednesday, February 7, 2007 8:49 PM
  • Yep - all six of those example panels in the last stage were the same blurry type on all the other documents...

    I have a HP L1706 LCD, but I tried it with a CRT monitor which seemed to be better, but it's way too big for my desk. I also tried an Apple monitor, but the same thing happens on that - blurry fonts.

    I'm getting headaches because of this now - both from frustration and the strain on my eyes.

    An additional weird thing that keeps happening is the system changes the sizes of fonts in different windows... not sure if that's connected.

    N.

    ps - what does WPF stand for?

    Thursday, February 8, 2007 2:27 PM
  • Hi Nelson,

    >What does WPF stand for?

    WPF = Windows Presentation Foundation.
    (Not to be confused with WTF = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WTF)

    You said you are running your HP L1706 LCD at 1280 x 1024 resolution, which I think is the native resolution for that monitor?  (Running at less than native resolution makes LCD monitors blurry).

    >My colleagues computer doesn't have the same problem
    Can you try your colleague's monitor on your computer?  Is the problem still there?

    Also, you said that the text was NOT blurry on some parts of your screen, but WAS blurry on others?  I've never heard of that on an LCD monitor before.

    Alex

    Thursday, February 8, 2007 10:14 PM
  • Here is another blog thread titled "WPF: Why is my text so blurry?".  It has no magic solutions (go back to pre-WPF XP?), but does demonstrate that other people are finding the WPF-text-fuzziness to be a problem.

    http://www.paulstovell.net/blog/index.php/wpf-why-is-my-text-so-blurry/

    Alex
    Thursday, February 8, 2007 10:43 PM
  • I find that most problems are encountered on high reverse contrasts and small font sizes, so I think the subpixel cleartype rendering is definitly causing some issues to some people in some conditions.

    As said before, deactivating cleartype will switch back to antialias mode, which is by far more blurry than having cleartype activated. Try to develop your applications with larger fonts (a 9 instead of an 8pt segoe does wonders), and try to minimize 8pt gray text on black (<hint> for the expression team) and most issues with users go away.

    Friday, February 9, 2007 2:02 PM
  • I just installed the Expression Web trial and am similarly dismayed to discover no apparent way to disable ClearType. Despite periodic experiments over the past few months with it and the ClearType tuner, I have never got it to improve the display on my Dell 1280x1024 LCD screen, and always run with it off. It seems crazy to me that Expression web forces me to use it; I find it most unpleasant. For the record, my vision is good so long as I have my glasses on. This will quite likely be a show-stopper for me purchasing the product after the trial expires.
    Wednesday, March 21, 2007 12:03 PM
  • Where's the solution?  This thread says the answer is to turn on ClearType and use one of the useless tweakers.  Wrong!  The answer is to disable ClearType font rendering.  It looks horrible.  I just opened up a WPF application int VS 2008 for the first time and was appalled.  The properties dialog looks terrible as does the application itself.

    ClearType is awful.  I just don't understand how people can look at that fuzzy, blurry, out-of-focus text and say it looks better than crisp, clean, standard font rendering.

    Just had to put in another vote against ClearType.
    Tuesday, January 22, 2008 3:22 PM
  • I am so glad to see that I am not the only person that hates ClearType.

    I have 20/20 vision and prefer ClearType to be off. ClearType makes my eyes tired and gives me headaches aswell.
    I am also a programmer and spend minimum of 12 hours a day behind a computer screen.

    The biggest reason I swapped over to a LCD screen back in the days when CRTs where still the norm, was because
    everything looked crisp and clear...specifically text! ClearType looks the same to me as viewing text on a CRT.

    For a long time I have been wondering whether I am the only person having a problem with ClearType. This came about
    when everybody around me upgraded to IE 7 (which goes and turns ClearType back on), and the new Office, none of them noticed that there text looks different. Everyday I get e-mail from people using the new Office, and there text looks really
    bad when ClearType is disabled. So does Microsoft expect me to enable ClearType just so that I can read what people are sending me via e-mail?

    I am also a big fan of C# and .NET and recently started playing around with WPF. It came as a massive shock to me
    after installing VS2008 to see that ClearType is being used in WPF. So first thing I do is google to see how to disable it...guess what, the biggest shock ever! You can't disable it. So now I am being forced to use something that I don't want to.
    You guys might be saying, no one is forcing you, you always have a choice. Well that is maybe relevant for the next year or so. But we all know, those who don't adapt and learn to use the technologies, are the ones sitting on the street with a cardboard around there neck.

    I hate ClearType so much, that I went back to XP just because disabling ClearType and Segoe UI in Vista took me more than an hour, and every now and then there is still some application/window using blurry fonts!

    I think Microsoft should definetly spend more time researching this issue. It is no coincidence that so many people have a problem with this.
    Friday, February 29, 2008 6:48 PM
  • Theres another thread similar to this http://forums.microsoft.com/msdn/showpost.aspx?postid=2463039&siteid=1&sb=0&d=1&at=7&ft=11&tf=0&pageid=1

     

    the answer is best provided by David's comment below:

     

    Regarding WPF's text --

    • WPF does indeed have its own cleartype font rendering stack
    • WPF does follow the OS' cleartype font rendering settings which are set by the cleartype tuning power toy, so you should definitely try that out and see if it improves your text quality.
    • GDI's cleartype, like WPF's, makes use of the fact that LCD pixels are usually three vertical rectangular sub-pixels (one each for R, G, and B) and that the color ordering is usually the same.  Doing this conceptually triples the horizontal resolution of the display.
    • WPF's cleartype is fundamentally different from that of GDI's in that GDI always snaps each glyph to both vertical and horizontal pixel boundaries.  By doing this, GDI achieves higher glyph contrast at the expense of horizontal glyph alighnment.  To see this in action, open Word and type a series of 'l' characters in a variety of fonts: llllllllllllllllllllllll  -- each l looks the same, but the spacing is erratic.  This is especially noticeable with smaller fonts. (~8 pt)
    • WPF does not pixel-snap glyphs horizontally.  By allowing glyphs to begin on sub-pixel boundaries, WPF positions glyphs much more accurately than GDI, but at the expense of some glyph contrast.  Repeat the previous experiment in a WPF app, like xamlpad.  Note that the 'l' spacing is unfiorm, but the 'l's don't all look the same.
    • We (the WPF team) realize that not everyone prioritizes glyph position over glyph contrast, and we're currently investigating changes that could allow more control here.
    • As always, I can't promise anything, but we definitely do know there has been some mixed sentiment about the way fonts are rendered.

    Thanks!
    David

    David Teitlebaum MSFT

     

     

    Friday, March 7, 2008 3:15 PM
    Moderator
  • You know what... none of the tech talk and complex explanations matter. MS have created a product with a serious design flaw, where a very high percentage of users have experienced a negative impact from an expensive upgrade. Like buying a 2008 BMW with 1996 Datsun wheels.

     

    Doesn't take a geek to spot the problem. Make it an option, for everyone's sake.

     

    Don't say it is an option either... I've spent the last two hours trying every hack I can find. The Turn Off ClearShite button in Office does absolutely nothing. The registry hack also does nothing.

     

    In short, my friends, ClearType is the single worst invention and waste of time in modern computing (apologies to Linux, a clear and close second). Nobody asked for it, needed it, or wanted to pay for it.

     

    I will be doing all I can to undo my error of judgement and go back to good ole Office 2003.  

    Friday, March 21, 2008 6:31 AM
  • It's been how many years since devleopers and users have complained about this "feature" ?

     

    I've been struggling over this issue for the past 2 weeks. I'm currently developing a public application for use in chinese-speaking countries. Chinese characters come out looking very non-uniform and varies widely in intensity. Black characters show up as a combination of varying gray/dark gray. In particular, east-asian type come out with far greater variation in intensity than latin script. I'm using 12 point font, and I cannot go any larger because that just feels wrong. I'm not the NYT reader.

     

    This was using default fonts. I then made a composite font of Segoe and SimSun for non-latin unicode ranges. I found that with SimSun, chinese characters come out far more even and readable but still not optimal. This was all on an en/us OS where I'm doing development. Today, I installed the app on a chinese XP system, and I was horrified to notice that the type again do not look the same. I am noticing a big difference between the test desktop's lcd panel and my laptop lcd. How can WPF's proclaimed next-gen device-independent font rendering system not render the same across two devices? I mean, fine, I'll take your cleartype if you must force it on me, but give me the same cleartype across different devices!

     

    This is not about preference between aliased and anti-aliased fonts, it's a matter of readability. This, I believe, is a far greater problem than some non-uniform glyph spacing that WPF tries to address over GDI. GDI may be ugly in your eyes, but it's at least the same ugly, and crisp ugly at that.

     

    What can I do to get around this issue? If there's no fallback font rendering system, can we somehow bootstrap text rendering? Yes, I can embed winforms, but I might as well use winforms if I had to do that.

     

    If you're still with me all the way down here, you either share in my frustration or are on the wpf text team. If anyone has any inkling of a workaround, please post it somewhere! Please don't tell me to use any cleartype powertoys or registry hacks. One they don't work, and second I can't tell my users to do the same.

     

    I love a lot of things about WPF (xaml, resource management, styles), but this is a show-stopper. I dropped Adobe AIR in favor of WPF's more native feel on windows, and my original inclination was that microsoft's platform must be more native than third-parties? I am using Microsoft's OWN technology to develop on Microsoft's OWN platform, yet I am getting a distinctly non-native feel for my application -- go figure.

     

    BTW, I'm not even talking about the blurry image icons i have all over my application. Some icons appear crip others blurry. I've tried snapstodevicepixels, odd / even sized containers etc. None work. WPF just does what it wants. This however, is not a priority issue for me because they do not impact the app's readability.

     

    Phew...

     

    Thanks,

    Mike

     

    I'm hoping...but will this be on the list of updates for the summer 3.5 update?

    Saturday, March 29, 2008 8:25 AM
  • Well, it's been almost a year since the last post, so this is a nudge.

    Is there any resolution to this yet?  If not, is there anything in the works?

    Mike
    Thursday, February 26, 2009 6:51 PM
  • Here's another user who finds ClearType highly problematic. I really wanted to like it, but I've spent hours playing with the Tuner, fiddling with my resolution, etc... all to no avail. Something about ClearType make my eyes feel strained and looking at it for more than a few minutes gives me a terrible headache. Same thing with WPF rendering. For what it's worth, I'm nearsighted have mild astigmatism. I also use my glasses at the computer, though I don't need or wear reading glasses. Also, my issues with ClearType seem to apply regardless of the monitor (CRT, LCD, etc...). My significant other uses ClearType and her computer bugs me too.
    Tuesday, April 28, 2009 5:28 PM
  • I also would like a global option to turn off cleartype. I would like to point out a few things about this image from the cleartype tuner:

    http://img503.imageshack.us/img503/1198/57858566.png

    First, notice that italic font is used to exaggerate the need for anti-aliasing under the text selections. If you look at the non-italic portion where it displays the text label "Black and White" you can see that it is very crisp. Compare that to the text label for "ClearType" and you can see that the font size is increased and that it is gray. By using these "tricks" to demonstrate cleartype, the devs are showing that they know there is a problem with it. I also find that there is no difference in the cleartype quality between XP, Vista, or Windows 7 RC. It is equally terrible on each version. Please someone from MS address this and let your loyal users know when you will be fixing this terrible "feature". Thank you
    • Edited by CRrep Wednesday, May 13, 2009 8:54 PM formatting
    Wednesday, May 13, 2009 8:53 PM
  • This whole clear type thing causes serious performance issues as well. This really needs to be fixed soon. When you scroll through are program with the cleartype on it takes forever to paint the screen but with it off it is nice and smooth. There needs to be a way to change this.

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:02 PM
  • There is a lot of information regarding our text work for .Net 4.0 here.

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/wpf/thread/5289ee56-6d06-4f66-84f2-69865b6dc401

    As far as the ClearType specific discussion, I'm not sure I understand the issue.  If ClearType text is less readable to you then you can turn it off in your system's Display Settings.  WPF respects these global OS settings and will only render with ClearType if it's enabled by the operating system.

    Wednesday, June 17, 2009 9:06 PM
  • So many problems would be solved, so much aggravation would be prevented, so many people made much happier, and so much money would be saved on optometrists and glasses, if only ClearType was made OPTIONAL. As in: whoever wants it, be my guest. Whoever does not, can TURN IT OFF.

    I just installed Internet Explorer 9 and found out that ClearType cannot be turned off in it. I kicked this Internet Explorer so hard out off my computer that it's probably still airborne, on its way back to Redmond.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011 4:51 AM
  • I just installed Internet Explorer 9 and found out that ClearType cannot be turned off in it. I kicked this Internet Explorer so hard out off my computer that it's probably still airborne, on its way back to Redmond.

    I must say I was very hopeful of Internet Explorer 9 and looking forward to switch back from Chrome but I just can’t stand ClearType! The fonts look as if someone spread butter over my monitor (26 inch). I was very frustrated when I couldn’t find the option to disable it. Initially I thought the option was renamed or moved somewhere else, but after a short while searching on the net it turned out ClearType settings are forced on the users, cannot be adjusted and naturally they appear in all applications that use Internet Explorer 9 rendering engine. How aggravating! I feel cheated by Microsoft.

    After an hour’s use I am going back to good old Chrome. Maybe IE 10 will have a chance.
    Friday, March 18, 2011 5:10 AM
  • This topic is high on the list when Googling ClearType issues. It has been rumbling on since 2006. Two things can be learnt from this:

    • Clearly, it is still an issue for many people
    • Clearly, Microsoft (represented here by members of the MSFT) still have not solved this issue and probably never will as they don't consider it important enough

    Brendan, you wrote (nearly 2 years ago): "As far as the ClearType specific discussion, I'm not sure I understand the issue."

    Well, is it not about time you and your colleagues did try and understand the issue? You wrote: "If ClearType text is less readable to you then you can turn it off in your system's Display Settings.".

    This only turns off ClearType in some areas of the system/installed software. Still leaves some areas of the system ignoring this setting.

    Case in point (and easy for you to reproduce, should you wish to take some time trying to understand this issue):

    • Install Windows 7.
    • Look at the Taskbar: Fuzzy ClearType text used.
    • Change Display setting to turn off ClearType.
    • Restart your system.
    • Look at the Taskbar: Fuzzy ClearType text still being used.

    And the problem is not just restricted to the Taskbar. There are many other areas of the system where the ClearType setting is ignored (or appears to be).

    Now, I've tried MANY changes to stop ClearType, including:

    • Changing the system fonts from Segui to Tahoma
    • Remapping the Segui font to Tahoma in the registry
    • Changing the Fonts used in my applications (Visual Studio, Office, Expression etc) to avoid ClearType fonts (Segui, Consolas etc)

    Yet still MS refuses to fully co-operate with it's own system settings and policy on ClearType.

    I recently moved to Visual Studio 2010. Guess what? Yep, extensive use of ClearType despite the system settings..

    I recently installed Expression Studio. Guess what? Yep, extensive use of ClearType despite the system settings.

    Office - Yep, extensive use of ClearType despite the system settings etc etc etc blah blah blah

    And I'm sure there's still many other MS products out there, or due out, that will still show the same blantant disregard.

    Personally, I consider this an Accessibility issue, and MS is NOT proactively fixing the bugs in their own software which ignores the system settings and affects paying users who have eyesight issues or corrective lenses (and some without).

    Microsoft just keeps punting the lines:

    • Don't see what the issue is
    • Have you tried the ClearType tuner?
    • Just disable ClearType
    • WCF respects the system setting

    I am lost for words. In terms of respecting customers eyesight and health, Microsoft have shown that they are not willing to invest any time and effort into fixing this issue.

    Sunday, March 27, 2011 11:06 AM
  • There is a lot of information regarding our text work for .Net 4.0 here.

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/wpf/thread/5289ee56-6d06-4f66-84f2-69865b6dc401

    As far as the ClearType specific discussion, I'm not sure I understand the issue.  If ClearType text is less readable to you then you can turn it off in your system's Display Settings.  WPF respects these global OS settings and will only render with ClearType if it's enabled by the operating system.

    Whether it's called Cleartype or anti-aliased text is not the point - and for a user it's hard to tell which one of the antialiasing effects that is the actual cause – in any case the effect is that fonts in small sizes look blurry in WPF applications, especially on lower resolutions (e.g. on a 1024*768 LCD monitor), despite the fact that ClearType is turned off.
    You can however explicitly set a couple of properties to get rid of the blur effects:

    TextOptions.TextFormattingMode="Display"

    TextOptions.TextRenderingMode="Aliased"

    These properties can be set for textblocks and other objects in the WPF XAML code. Have a look at:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/text/archive/2009/08/24/wpf-4-0-text-stack-improvements.aspx

    ... for more information about these settings.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011 1:12 PM