Cleartype Tuner

This little Windows PowerToy is probably one of XP’s best-kept secrets. If you have an LCD monitor (just about guaranteed at this point) then you absolutely need it. And you probably don’t even know it.

Look at the text on your screen. Notice how pixelated it looks, with all those little corners and jagged edges? This is because you are really just seeing black pixels surrounded by white pixels, and those pixels are all square. It looks hideous! Cleartype tuner adds some blending in the surrounding pixels to round out and smoothen your text, making your reading experience much, much better.

So, here’s how to make it go:

First, click here to get a direct link to the Microsoft download (via the PowerToy homepage). Save the file and double-click it when it finishes downloading (shouldn’t take long). Go through the install, and at the end it will ask you if you want to launch the program. Do it.

Now go ahead and click the “Advanced” tab. Believe me, you don’t need any tech savvy for this, and you have much more control here than by using the Wizard. Click the little box next to “Enable Font Smoothing.” Just for fun, click and unclick this as you look at the sample text in the box. Notice the difference when Cleartype is on? To fine-tune it to your eye’s desire, slide the little slider at the bottom and watch the sample text. You’ll notice it get bolder or lighter. After you’ve settled on something, click Apply and now all of your text is readable!

If you ever want to change your Cleartype settings, you can get back to it from your Control Panel (Go to Start -> Control Panel -> Cleartype Tuner).

Happy reading (and reduced eye strain)!

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