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How to turn off anti aliasing for small text?

Anti aliasing small text tends to make the letters look blurry and indistinct.  I cannot find a way to disable the anti-aliasing of text in WPF and as a result label or button text looks really bad.  Ideally I'd like to disable anti aliasing globally for font sizes below a certain size.  How can I accomplish this?




93 Answers Found


Answer 2

Hi Ryan,

Anti-aliasing cannot be turned off in WPF, but I am quite concerned that small  text sizes  appear blurry  for you. In general our ClearType sub-pixel antialiasing has been show to improve readability at small font  sizes. What font and font size  are you using? Is your monitor resolution set to it's native resolution?




Answer 3

Hi Chris, Thanks for the reply.

If antialiasing really can't be turned off in wpf  thats a huge problem.  While it may be a matter of taste, anti-aliased text  simply doesn't look as good as non-anti-aliased text.  It looks blurry. 

I put up this image quickly so we had an example of what i'm talking about:


The text on the left is WPF text and the text on the right is text from IE.  You can see the gray that is used in the WPF text to soften the edges.  It looks blurry  to me.  The edges of the letters  blend together.  Theres gotta be a way to turn  that off because its seriously straining on the eyes.




Answer 4

Just to add a comment, when I look at your image on my computer, it looks much better with the antialiasing turned on.  I think it's a general issue with ClearType -- it looks different to different people on different hardware. Since it sounds like you can't disable  antialiasing within WPF itself, perhaps you can turn  off ClearType completely or use the ClearType Tuning applet to make it look better on your machine?

Answer 5

Well I actually do have cleartype turned off.  In Display Properties>Appearance>Effects smoothing screen fonts is set to Standard, not to Cleartype.  When I turn  cleartype on my whole system starts anti-aliasing text  everywhere and everything looks blurry, not just WPF.  So it looks like wpf  ignores the system setting and does anti-aliasing  anyway all the time.

I realize some people like the way anti-aliased text looks, one persons blurry  is another person's 'smooth'.  But WPF should not ignore the system setting and insiste on anti-aliasing all text. 




Answer 6

I personnally love ClearType. But not the one that wpf  uses...

On my PC, it seems that WPF does its own ClearType rendering because text  rendered by WPF is *not* the same as text rendered by Windows XP with ClearType.

Here's a screen shot showing what I mean:

To my eyes, Windows XP's ClearType text is smooth. WPF's text is blurry.

And as Ryan mentionned, turning ClearType off in Windows XP's settings does not turn  it off in WPF applications.


Answer 7

I agree, the top text  in the screenshot looks good.  The bottom is done in 'WPF blurry' style.  Theres gotta be a fix to this. 



Answer 8

I would just like to say that I totally, whole-heartedly agree with Ryan in that WPF (running on XP SP2) looks bad.  And I mean bad  (to me anyways).  I just finished installing the WinFX SDK and this is the first thing I noticed. I understand that some people don't have eyes that are bothered by the introduction of color into their black fonts, or that some prefer clear text  at small  font sizes, but the majority of us use LCDs today.  And those LCDs run at resolutions ranging between 800x600 and 1600x1200.  The point is, current hardware technology is nowhere near being supportive enough for these lower font  sizes being cleartyped.  That is the bottom line in my opinion.  I know Microsoft wants us to move into the next generation of scalable vector graphics, just as I do.  But the truth of the matter is this SDK is forcing the matter.  Lower font sizes  do not look good to many people on today's hardware when cleartyped. So, I am reeling from this.  Its clear that the WPF antialiasing/hinting is not as good as Windows XP cleartype, so I would at least like a firm commitment that it is being worked on.  The quality is, in my opinion, noticeably worse.  Also, without any way to not anti-alias text???  What is that about?  I can't set/fix the size  in terms of hardware units even if I wanted to?  That seems a little insulting to be honest.  At this point, I am forced to abandon WPF for standard applications until a suitable answer to this is presented.  I will have to proceed with my current .NET control libraries with a sound layer of abstraction for now, so that if this is ever fixed, I can make a smooth transition. fyi - I have been a loyal MS developer for many years now, supported all of its tools, communities, etc.  I run XP SP2, 3 monitors - 2 19" Sony HS-93 LCD's and a 30" Dell LCD on my primary computer. Best of luck Microsoft with getting us to adopt cleartype.  I for one, am not on board yet.  Please if at all possible, devote resources to supporting fixed size, non-antialiased UI elements for WPF until there is sufficient hardware to fully support 100% cleartype. Best regards, Sean H.  

Answer 9

I think you guys are honestly  splitting hairs here. The difference is hardly perceptable. What resolution are you guys working at?

 I also think hardware will be there or coming into use when they finally release .NET 3.0. We are talking early 2007 at the earliest. Thats a long time in computer hardware.


Answer 10

Can anyone see the difference between these two images?The first was created with WPF from .NET 3.0 June CTP, second with .NET 2.0.http://theimagehosting.info/out.php/i10378_SP3220060718124419.bmphttp://theimagehosting.info/out.php/i10379_SP3220060718124420.bmpI totally back WPF for creating multi-media and brochure applications, but as for real-world apps that require readability - no way.Also, sincerely- no offense, but LCD technology is LCD technology.  There are physics limitations involved that make it difficult to make the cells/pixels smaller then they are.  I'm not saying it's not possible, but we're not going to have significantly smaller cells in the next 2-3 years. What's so difficult in allowing us to fix render our fonts and forms in terms of hardware units?  I think WPF should support it if we wish it. - Just my opinion. I'm currently working at 1600 x 1024.  Should I be working at a higher resolution?

Answer 11

I do agree with you. Anti-aliasing that cannot be turned off is one of the most heavy problems in WPF. I have a system with a 19 inch CRT and a 1024x768 LCD moninor where  anti-aliased small  fonts are a nightmare. Maybe there's better hardware in the future, but at the moment people have their equipment and I cannot tell them to buy the newest hardware just to be able to work with my WPF application.
Sorry, but there's time to think about it at Microsoft. Saying 'Cleartype is better and if you don't like it ... it's your problem....' is not the right way.


Answer 12

How small  text  are we talking. I can read 8 pt text  just fine with no blurring. I have a pair of 17s in potrait layout 1024 by 768. The reason why I think this is rediculious is I don't see it as a problem. I see it as nitpicking and not worth the WPF team's time. I rather see them work towards more interopability with different browsers. Extending WPF-E is astromonically more important than the inperceptable blur you guys are talking about. If it was a week fix for one dev on the team great lets do it. Anymore time than that I feel its a waste of effort.

Software dev is about picking the right battles. Turning Clear Type off/on is not the right battle.


Answer 13

This is not about nitpicking. It is a serious readability problem.

I experimented a bit more with this, and it does not show on all the monitors I've tried. For example, ClearType text  is very blurry  on my Dell E173FP but super crisp on a Toshiba Portege tablet.

So those of you who think we are nitpicking and wasting the wpf  team's time probably have a non problematic monitor. But the fact that you don't see the problem does not mean that it isn't there.

Once again, the important thing to emphasize is that this is not about ClearType in general, but only WPF's implementation of ClearType. Windows XP's ClearType is fine on all the monitors I've tried.


Answer 14

I did a bit more research on this and it seems the entire foundation of ClearType for smaller fonts relies on "hinting".  However, its obvious that NO hinting is being applied to the fonts that are rendered (see images above).

More information can be seen here in this video interview - http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=147814

For those of us who use good LCDs, I think this is really important.  Either provide better hinting for fonts at smaller point sizes  or let us render our controls without builtin "scalability" (meaning, allow us to fix our control/font sizes and render fonts normally).

the ClearType team "clearly" seems to understand that you NEED hinting for this to look decent on LCDs.


Answer 15

Since it appears that you cannot turn  off anti  aliasing globally and if you want to use ClearType, you might try the ClearType tuner from: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/ClearTypePowerToy.mspx

After tuning my system, my fonts look better - though still not as crisp as I'd like.

Just a thought...


Answer 16

The ClearType Tuner tunes the Windows XP ClearType rendering. Text rendered by WPF is not affected by that tuning.

Answer 17

I have researched this issue for quite some time now. anti-aliasing  in WPF applications is horrible and very blurry  to my eyes. I prefer the crisp text  of aliased fonts in Windows XP. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely turn  off anti-aliasing. Due to MS's responses to this problem I got the impression that they are not interested in resolving this issue for those people who don't like anti-aliasing (or the version used by WPF).

I am reluctantly switching to other platforms that allow me to alter font  rendering the way I want to. Also, the consistency in Windows Vista is just appalling. When you turn off anti-aliasing some applications still use it. Even worse, some applications mix aliased and anti-aliased text. I wish MS would sort out this problem but they don't seem to be interested at all.


Answer 18

After trying Windows-XP ClearType anti-aliasing  with ClearType tuner (see notes from Chris Han) it seemed that I can live with this issue. Tturning on ClearType just tells WPF to use colored dots for ant-aliasing instead of gray scales. Color(ClearType on) is better but It's simple on /off and there's no way to control the amount of anti-aliasing. After turning ClearType on, I had problems reading the "Courier New" font  in Visual Studio. So I had the choice to either switch ClearType on to have a good wpf  display and OFF to read the source code the VS editor. Next I've download the Consolas font for VS (this font is only readable WITH ClearType) but I've learned that I don't like fuzzy fonts for editing source code. Finally, I switched ClearType off again, returned to Courier New and ... the blurry  WPF fonts - a very frustrating story.
I hope, Microsoft will find  a solution...


Answer 19

Thanks for the input WolfgangB and others.  However, I highly doubt Microsoft has a solution for this.  I am sure they looked at this when designing wpf  and dismissed it because "Who would ever not use a Microsoft technology (ClearType)?".

It's unfortunate that the majority of all users don't use Cleartype.  Myself included.  (There is a reason for this.)  I can't lower my standards to adhere to a fundamentally flawed SDK (Avalon).  Everyone will have to make their own decision, but as for me, I'm sticking with WinForms and creating my own Presentation Framework.

I've tried the solution that Chris Han recommended, but I have to say, I still don't like the way my user interfaces look.  This isn't a problem with the fonts, it's a problem with not being able to disable  ClearType.

Has anyone seen the example GUIs based on Avalon (especially end-user GUIs)?  They all look bad  if you have to use any sort of medium or small  sized text.  Brochure, 3D, and large font  apps look great.  But normal applications look bad, in my opinion.  Just look at some of these samples - some of which are Microsoft's.  Note the large font sizes  depite already not looking sharp.  If you don't mind them so much, that's fine, but many of us do.


So, what is my solution?  I recommend having an option to not use ClearType.  I recommend redering fonts exactly as we do now - using the same conceptual functionality as Win32 API, but ported to native .NET of course.  It's not that hard.  And if you really want to get fancy, then Microsoft can detect when a font reaches a certain size, then enable ClearType for that font.  The main point is - UI's look bad when using font point sizes of 14 or less in WPF.

Frankly I don't like ClearType.  That's probably because I have good vision.  I'm sure if I were 80 years old, I wouldn't be posting here, a concerned, Microsoft-invested engineer.

Thank you,



Answer 20

Sean, Wolfgang, and others,   I'm sorry you're finding WPF rendered ClearType text  to be more difficult to read in these situations. We very much appreciate the feedback and want to improve your reading experience. Unfortunately at this point in the release cycle, we cannot change the core text rendering code for this version. We are however looking into how we can improve text rendering for future versions and are reading your feedback. 1) I am very interested if you can provide specific font  family names that look especially bad  for you. This will help us diagnosis any issues with our text rendering. From Sean's screenshots, it looks like Microsoft San Serif on WinXP and Segoe UI are two that look poorly to Sean at small  sizes. 2) As Wolfgang mentioned, the Windows XP ClearType tuner PowerToy does affect WPF ClearType rendering. Though our rendering engines are different, WPF respects the global OS settings that the PowerToy changes. However, WPF cannot render aliased text, we can only render with greyscale anti-aliasing. This is due in large part to our architecture for having resolution independent layout. Here are some compiled tips for improving your reading experience:-Make sure your monitor is set to its native resolution. -Use the ClearType tuner PowerToy: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/ClearTypePowerToy.mspx . This adjusts the system's ClearType settings which will affect WPF text rendering even though the WPF text rendering engine is different. -There are a few new WPF ClearType settings that may help improve your experience. At the moment these can only be tuned via registry keys, we do have future plans to update the ClearType tuner to include these additional settings in a GUI: Under:HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsof\Avalon.Graphics\<displayName>\(<displayName> is typically 'DISPLAY1', you can adjust things independently if you have multiple monitors) ClearTypeLevel (DWORD with valid base 10 values between 0 and 100)This adjusts the amount of color used in ClearType antialiasing, default value is 100. TextContrastLevel (DWORD with valid base 10 values between 0 and 6)This allows you to enhance the amount of contrast you see in text, the default value is 1. These keys and more details will be published in an upcoming SDK documentation release. Hope this helps,Chris Han      

Answer 21

What frustrates me is that people have been complaining about this all along and now we're late in the release cycle and people will just have to live with it for another half year at least. Also, I just can't understand how someone can come up with the idea that the ClearTyping should look different than the OS native ClearType. So, one app looks sharp, the other blurry... that's really great for consistency and I already hear my customers asking why my application looks so blurry  and that it's hard on the eye when you work with it the whole day. As far as the registry adjustments and PowerToys go, I think it's really unacceptable that I have to tell my customers "well, there are some registry settings that you can try to hack and improve the visual appearance". This is supposed to just work, no excuse for that. Another point is that people want the ability to turn  off ClearType. Let's say you host a WPF control in a WinForms application ... great consistency once again and nothing the programmer can do about it. Regards, Tom

Answer 22

I decided to reply to this last post "generically," although others following this thread may be able to address my question. I am only slightly off topic, by bringing up how type looks now in my browser.

Today I downloaded IE 7.0 (RC1), onto my Tablet PC, and found that text  ON the web pages is "smoothed" even tho' the type in the menu bar, toolbars, and tabs is not. I am not a developer, so, I'm not embarrassed to ask, in sheer ignorance, "How can this BE?" So my current OS is controlling the menus, but the application has its own overriding priorities?

I cannot find  any way to turn  it off. I thought I was going to purely love having a tablet PC ink-based blog running online for my students, using Windows Live Writer, but I can hardly stand to look at the "live" text rendered by the new browser.

I'm a graphics instructor. Over the years, I've learned a lot about every variation of font  smoothing, anti-aliasing, sub-pixel rendering, MS ClearType, Adobe CoolType, etc., etc. and I can tell you more than just about anybody wants to hear about typography on the computer   (... ask my students!).

I really HATE this feature/function at small  type sizes, almost regardless of font, and almost regardless of monitor/ display. Higher-res display doesn't do much to improve this on LCD, altho' the glow is smaller, so is the type.

I only recently came to understand that what is a huge problem for me is actually _not_ an issue at all for some. Somebody I trust just convinced me that he really cannot see what I see -- that "neon" affect.

For those of us bothered by the colored glow and "sparkles" around small type, it is analagous to having very acute hearing and picking up on a high-pitched whine made by some device we cannot turn off. It is visual "static," and it interferes with readability and, I believe, may contribute to some people's reluctance to move further towards a "paperless" world for text-heavy documents, e-books, etc. To me, the single worst feature of .lit format documents on MS Reader is that _all_ the ClearType fine tuning options are bad, unless the type is _at least_ 14 point, and I want to opt out.

All my evidence is anecdotal, but I'm sure I can read 30% faster, and stay with it longer, with no smoothing.

So is there no way to turn off this anti-aliasing  in IE from now on? If I switch to a different browser in Vista, what then?



Answer 23

In IE 7.0 (RC1), under Tools -- internet options -- advanced -- settings -- multimedia -- there's a checkmark for "always use ClearType in HTML." But I still want to know: will I be able to turn  it off in Vista?

Answer 24

Yes, you can still turn  off ClearType on a system wide setting on Vista by right clicking on your desktop -->Personalize-->Windows Color and Appearance-->Effects-->and unchecking the font  smoothing combobox. GDI and WinForms based apps will render aliased text, but as mentioned above for WPF apps this will still use grayscale anti-aliasing,

Answer 25

I would agree strongly that ignoring the system-wide user preference is a bad  decision.   From my own personal experience, I slightly prefer cleartype on my notebook but find  it almost unusable on my desktop flat panels.  The physical size  of a pixel is much smaller on the notebook and in my opinion the usability difference is obvious.  Regardless, I am certain that I know what works better for me and can't see why that decision would be taken out of my hands (from a user point of view).  It also makes my life more difficult as a developer when I try to answer the question of why all the text  in my app looks blurry, different, (fill in customer opinion here) and I can't do anything about it.

Anyway, I wanted to add another opinion for the WPF team to consider supporting non-aliased font  rendering.


Answer 26

I was going to start a new thread, but I'll just chime in here...

I develop scientific visualization apps which require fast 2d and 3d graphics. I evaluated WPF for the first time last night on my XP SP2 systems (a laptop with 1024x768 LCD, and a desktop with 1600x1200 LCD). The first thing that came to mind after building and looking at several of the WPF demo apps was...

The text looks like total, complete @ss. It's mind-numbingly horrible, headache and nausea inducing, and complete unusable. I would never push this on my customers and will stick with Direct3D/Winforms for my projects until I see a clear pathway to resolving this. If it's any help, I also hate clear type. I'm one of those people who likes sharp, crisp text. I cannot focus on text  which is blurry and has inconsitent brighness.

It's a shame, because I like the philsophy and direction of WPF and DOTNET3. I also realize that it's challenging to do vector fonts, but there must be a better solution than the present one.

>> Here are some compiled tips for improving your reading experience:
>> -Make sure your monitor is set to its native resolution.

>> ect, ect

Yes, I'm sure everybody posting in this thread and knows these things already. Its funny- The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the WPF text was that my monitor had somehow switched into a non-native resolution.


Answer 27

I haven't found an installation yet where I have preferred ClearType.
It always looks blurry  to me and I always turn  it off.

On the other hand, I know people who get headaches if they don't turn it on.

I'm surprised by the MS attitude of total surprise that not everyone loves ClearType.


Answer 28

Yup, this is a serious issue, and it's discomforting how the team didn't comment until seven months after the discussion had been started, when they could use the "it's too late" escape hatch.


Answer 29

I'd like to add my 2 cents as well here.  I've been working with WPF for a couple of months now, and have learned how to get around the initial difficulties I had with an SDK that introduces a lot of new concepts.  However, the one thing that has bugged me from the beginning, and still does, is text  rendering.  I personally don't have a problem with cleartype, and usually have it enabled on my workstations.  However I've made the following observations:

1. Rendered text looks noticeably blurrier in WPF that in standard applications
2. When scrolling, text looks absolutely horrible.  At first, I had to double check my glasses when I saw the "focusing" effect that happens to text after scrolling.  I then read about it in some threads, and realized it was by design.  Frankly this is a shockingly bad  tradeoff for the sake of performance, as I understand it.

  To me, the quality of text rendering (especially after scrolling) is not worthy (not even close) of a product that is meant to be the cornerstone of the next generation of Windows applications.  I seriously hope the rendering quality will somehow be "patched" in the .NET 3.0 runtime through a Windows Update or something like that.  Otherwise, I think this may become a showstopper for this SDK, which would be a shame since it's going to be widely available with Vista.  I'm not completely surprised this problem made its way into production, since it appears that no part of Vista actually uses WPF...  Otherwise I doubt it would have been deemed acceptable by the powers that be, unless the Microsoft brass doesn't really hope for .NET 3.0 to be successful.  The only real app I can think of that uses WPF is Expression Blend, which isn't beta, and the text rendering problem is absolutely obvious there.

So, for me, and I'm a WPF advocate, and I like ClearType, text rendering is the #1 priority bug, which can't wait for v2.

 - Imad


Answer 30

I think you will get more sucess in asking that the font  rednering be improved rather than asking that it be disabled to a default that does not exist.

WPF renders all content (text included) through the DirectX pipeline.  Even the software fall-backs are on top of DirectX not GDI+.  That means there is no other font rendering method to fall back to.  They implemented their own font rendering to DirectX with the requirement that it scale transparently.  In that they have done a good job.  The issue of handling hinting at small  sizes is apparently not handled as well as it could be.  That should be improved.

But, it is not just disabling ClearType and using the "standard" font renderer.  For WPF there is only one font renderer, so we need to focus on improving it.


Answer 31

To all that are experiencing this problem: would it be useful to have a set of BitmapLabel / BitmapTextField controls that renders text  into bitmaps? Using System.Drawing (with bitmap-based or system fonts), it's possible to render aliased text - as long as you're in control of the final scaling*.

I have functionality for that in my game engine that I think could be ported to WPF. It's currently not optimized for large editable text blocks, and I haven't added any support for style changes, but it might be useful as a temporary solution, and it can definitely be extended.

* Don't know about this, but if controls in WPF can be notified about layout changes, switching to standard WPF text when the text is large enough could be handled automatically.


Answer 32

I'd rather a proper solution from Microsoft please :)  I've found this a really interesting thread and here are my thoughts:

1 - I would love to see a pole of developers regarding who thinks the font  rendering in WPF is acceptable or not.  I don't think Microsoft would like the results.

2 - Every person I have demonstrated WPF to so far comments on why the fonts look so bad.  Explaining the technical reason to them holds no water.  They don't like them.  Period.

3 - I find it amazing that this fundamental flaw managed to slip through, or rather, was deemed to be not a problem.

4 - Flash used to have the same font rendering problem - but I've noticed that the font's used in Adobe Flex 2 are much better and very crisp - so if they can do it why cant Microsoft?

5 - We live in the electronic document age - we should be able to read documents on screen without being put off by fuzzy fonts. 

Say, I like that last term.  I vote we rename WPF's number one feature as being   "Fuzzy Fonts".  Perhaps we could convince everyone that Fuzzy Fonts are in fact really cool  then microsoft need not fix anything :)


Answer 33

Well, since everyone else had to leave a comment, I suppose I will too, however, I don't agree with most of the comments here. I've been working with WPF since it's earliest public previews and am developing an application that relies heavily on the text-rendering of this platform. I'll admit that the text-rendering is not perfect and would be better if the style of anti-aliasing  could be adjusted via code, but it's nowhere near as bad  as most of these folks have made it out to be.

I run a 19" LCD at 1280x1024 and have been fairly happy with the font  rendering of various families even down to the equivalent of 7-8 pt type. I've also been a designer for many years and am happy to see an effort being made towards anti-aliasing type in applications. It gives a far more professional appearance when appearance counts most. This is something even Adobe has failed to do in their graphics applications as Illustrator and Photoshop fail to render document type properly at smaller sizes  aka: blurry/fuzziness. Though Photoshop has a nice feature to adjust the type of anti-aliasing that's used in a document. This would be an excellent feature in WPF.

I suppose you have to keep in mind that this is a new platform and it's not going to be a fit for every type of application. 

Anyways, I'm a fan, keep up the good work!



Answer 34

I also do not like smooth text. The problem is that our eyes are continuously trying to focus until the image is crisp. If there is any smoothing, then the eye is continuously working. That is why aliased text  is more pleasant to read. Even if Microsoft manages to create a very good anti-aliased text rendering, I will still prefer aliased text (even with large font).

I also do not understand why resolution independence requires text to be anti-aliased. Resolution independence is a necessary thing, but it is not important at all that it was precise, approximate resolution independence would suffice.

I was very happy, that with WPF we got a modern 2D interface programming library, it has great features: resolution independence, automatic layout management, ... . But when I realized that font  rendering can not be normal I decided that perhaps I should wait with moving to WPF from WinForms until this problem is solved.

I understand that Microsoft can not solve this problem in a month. But what about the future versions of .Net? .Net 3.5, .Net 4.0? What are your plans? Are you going to enable normal text rendering in those versions? Pleeeeease do.

Answer 35

Over 5000 views on this thread should actually speak for itself!

I don't think that this is a minor issue either and would like to see that solved

as soon as possible.

Well, the fall of the berlin wall gives me hopes that this can be fixed if there are enough people asking for it.

Wir sind das Volk! :-)


Answer 36

Does anyone know if this has been fixed in the final release version?  I really hope so, b/c if not, they have successfully converted me from a Microsoft lover to a Microsoft competitor.  And trust me, they don't want me as a competitor. 

In case this issue hasn't been fixed - anyone who would like to work with me on a real 2D/3D presentation foundation, feel free to PM me.

It's sad really because I use a $1500 30" monitor and the WPF Avalon rendered text  looks so bad  people can't stand to look at it.  To those who don't have a problem with this - be thankful.  The rest of us do.


Answer 37

"Does anyone know if this has been fixed in the final release version?"

No.  I've been looking into some rendering issues I have and got a couple of collegues to install fx3 and try a sample application I wrote.  One of the first comments from one user was "Why is the text  blurred?".  Another noticed a sort of animation to the rendering, where it takes a couple of moments to smooth the results to the final render.

I'm noticing these problems on XP (can't use Vista yet for contractual reasons), together with a wierd button  shape issue which I can reproduce on several machines (but not others).  I think the final rendering of WPF has some issues that might make me block development of our GUIs in WPF -- which means that it'd be a couple of years before we (as a project/company) could use WPF in deployable.... despite how much I like the concept of WPF vs. Windows Forms!




Answer 38

Ray is correct, there is no aliased text  support in the final version of WPF.

To let everyone know, we (the WPF team) are reading and taking these comments very seriously.

The fundamentally complex problem of linearly scalable layout and rendering of small  text on low resolution devices is well known in the industry. Various software products have tried different approaches to solve this. Since hinting and rounding involved in rendering small characters necessarily affects letter spacing, all approaches I'm aware of involve compromising between vertical text stem sharpness and character spacing. The first released version of WPF uses a subpixel positioning algorithm that places characters very close to their lineraly scaled positions at the expense of varying the vertical stroke sharpness.

Other software products use their own unique techniques - a good exercise is to compare how the same text snippet is rendered in Notepad, Word, Visio, WinForms, Adobe Reader, Apple Mac OS X, Adobe Flash, etc.

While I cannot elaborate on the future changes in WPF at this point, I can list some simple things that help the appearance of text in WPF today:
1. Use modern Vista fonts hinted for ClearType rendering.
2. Use font  sizes larger than 8pt for Latin text, and larger than 11pt for East Asian text.
3. Use higher contrast text foreground/background combinations.
4. Use displays at their highest native resolution that possibly allows enabling the high DPI Windows setting. This especially helps with latest laptops, where 120dpi is quickly becoming a norm.
5. Make sure text rendering settings are tuned with the ClearType tuner.

Since this is such an important subject, I'm also thinking of creating a page on WPF Text team blog (http://blogs.msdn.com/text/) to describe this issue in more detail.

Thanks for using WPF, and best regards,
Mikhail Leonov - MSFT


Answer 39

Has this issue been fixed yet?  The suggestions given may help cover up the issue, but it is completely unacceptable to expect end users to have to change to 120dpi or download a tuner application to get WPF text  to be clear when the system rendered text and all other Windows application's text looks just fine (even when using cleartype).


Answer 40


my previous message describes the current situation, and we'll make sure to let folks know when there are any updates on this.

Best regards,

Mikhail Leonov

WPF Text Team


Answer 41

I"m getting very blurry text  with the default font  and the default point size. I'm on a dell latitude 620 laptop. it's not blurry  on my home pc (amd 4200 with geforce 6800). i think it may be video hardware related. we have intel video cards in our dells... i think they're the culprit honestly.

Answer 42

Mikhail and others,

Thanks very much for responding.  I'd again like to thank everyone at Microsoft who is working hard to make building software easier.

We fully appreciate the difficulty involved with rendering small text  on low res devices.  We're not asking for the impossible.  However, we are asking for 2 outstanding issues to be resolved that cannot be addressed via font  selection:

1)  It is clear that wpf  anti-aliased text rendering (hint use, etc.) is not as good as out-of-the-box XP/Vista Cleartype.  This is seen in examples and is documented in blogs/forums.  We would like the quality to be as-good, or better than, Cleartype. 



(other comments:  https://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=991153&SiteID=1)

(related:  http://blogs.conchango.com/howardvanrooijen/archive/2007/01/24/WPF_3A00_-Blurry-UIElements.aspx)

2)  Even if issue #1 were addressed, it would not fix the issue.  Many users of XP and Vista turn  off Cleartype.  This is so that when we read text of sizes  8pt-12pt, the text looks clear to our eyes and not blurry.  This is very important because most users don't have high resolution LCDs (http://www.onestat.com/html/aboutus_pressbox38.html).  I understand that WPF is device independent, but this issue requires that the WPF framework support turning off Cleartype, or to detect when rendered text might not be readable and to support a mode where we can turn off Cleartype (either altogether, or for certain DPI/font size  combinations).

So, to clarify, what I'm getting at is we need a way to turn off Cleartype use for a window or control.  This would only effect text rendering.  It would be very, very simple to write-in this feature to the WPF framework (it should have been written in during the Beta).  Ideally, as mentioned above, we would be able to say - only turn off Cleartype when the DPI is within X-Y range.  We know device information is taken into context during rendering since the "SnapsToDevicePixels" feature exists.  Please hear us as implement this simple request.

In closing, here is an example.  The blurriness is clear to see (pun intended).  Note the general poor rendering of all the text in the app, then also the tabs, and the search feature in the top right.  This was developed independently by a group of UK developers.  They have a great and very useful application, but when viewed using .NET 3.0 RTM, you can see that the problems with text rendering make the app look unprofessional.  Here is their site http://www.dotnetsolutions.ltd.uk/evidence/technology/wikipedia/.   (Blurriness best viewed via LCD - I didn't hunt for this screen shot - all I did was find  the first WPF app I could find, run it, then take a screenshot.) 


I don't mean to be negative or critical - I understand this is a small  piece of a bigger puzzle, but this is a "showstopper" for me.  I, my companies, and all of the developers I work with won't develop on WPF until this is resolved.

Thanks again and best wishes,


P.S.  Let me know if you would like me to devote development resources to resolving this issue.  I would be more than happy to invest time or money free of charge.  This will be the last time I make this request.  Regards.


Answer 43

As mentioned earlier, you can not turn  it off, however, you can use the approach, I described in this blog post. I'm using it all over my clients' application with "small fonts problem"

Answer 44


It would be great assurance to developers if you can point us to a MSDN KB article acknowledging this issue and logging the issue with a Critical status in the BUG logging.

Just to chime my 2 cents on this portion, I have started developing in WPF and I have similarly noticed this issue. I thought my eyes were giving up after 5 hours staring at my laptop, but my 8 collegues confirmed the issue. Here is how you can reliably replicate the problem.

1) Windows XP SP2 with .NET 3.0 runtime
2) Windows XP SP2 must have ClearType defaulted OFF and the user must be very familar with default Windows XP SP2 GDI+ fonts and not be familar with Vista ClearType.
3) *IMPORTANT* User must have perfect eyesight or corrected eyesight to 6/6 or 6/9. The user must also be under the age of 35, it seems with older dudes they don't notice it as much.
4) System environment can be any business laptop or business workstation (= subpar graphics cards), DirectX 9+ or above does not help.

I found a way to "solve" the issue. Download the ClearType powertoy and turn  on Cleartype on WinXP SP2. Now everything looks ClearTypish and WPF fonts don't look so bad  in comparison. (Do this without your user knowing, he/she will think its just their eyes going bad).
With time, their eyes will adjust accordingly and the FF (fuzzy font) issue will be less evident.

Another observation, this does not seem to affect the WPF/E subset used in Silverlight, small  text works better over in SL.

Answer 45

I just wanted to add my voice to this thread. While I understand that there are some tough technical problems behind this issue, the current situation is a deal-breaker for text-centric wpf  applications.

Answer 46

Some comparisons of default text  rendering between WPF/XAML, Adobe Flex2, and Windows Forms 2.0 under Windows XP SP2:


You can see how bad  it looks under XAML's anti-alias. Sad

Answer 47

As others in this thread I am waiting for the great answer from MS. But VS2008 beta2 is already out and what do we hear? Nothing. A gloomy silence. I think Microsoft can allow itself to wait until manufacturers of monitors start to sell their product with the logo "Designed for WPF" .
Maybe I'm wrong and with .Net Framework 3.5 we will see great improvement with text? I'll be waitng... at least any information on this topic.

Answer 48

As far as I've been able to tell so far, there's no improvement on cleartype. As it stands, there's three issues that makes fonts look blurry:
1. Menus like any layered window doesn't have cleartype and switches to gray scale rendering. That may have been fixed in 3.5 and 3.0 sp1 as there was some work done on layered windows to make them hardware accelerated on XP as well as Vista, but I wouldnt bet on it.
2. The cleartype utility doesn't include the settings introduced in the WPF cleartype settngs that lets you reduce the amount of color on both sides of a font  that would probably help most users by making the fonts much smoother.
3. The WPF cleartype uses sub-pixel positionning, which means that fonts are no longer pixel aligned and respect the intended kerning defined in the font file. At small  sizes the reproduction is closer to the designer intent, but looses in sharpness. Maybe this is the main and only issue with it, and it's a hard one to solve, although using the new cleartype fonts in vista reduces slightly the problem as they've been hinted specifically for this, where most fonts haven't.

After all these months, my feelings have changed a bit. I now believe that sub-pixel positionning should be an opt-in at small sizes, with a way to choose to respect the pixel grid. After all, between the font designer and the user, the one that sign off a project is the user, and it seems to be causing a lot of issues for people designing business applications with menus and small text  anywhere.

Only solution I can think of is to avoid like the plague any font size  under 10pt and opt for high contrast where possible. Ideally, don't have menus or toolbars, it's a design challenge but can be done.

Answer 49

It's a pity text  won't go grid-fitting in WPF, but the ClearTyped text renders decently enough to accept it. However, pixel antialiasing (grayscale one) is inacceptible on small  fonts (and unneeded on larger onesWink. What I'd like is force ClearType rendering on certain WPF windows, regardless of the system settings.

Are there known ways of tweaking the appropriate composition target to force it into using ClearType?


Answer 50

From what I understand, the fonts get rendered through presentationfontcache.exe. So I assume it does so on a per-user basis. Not heard of any way to force cleartype, but I agree that grayscale smooting is mostly unreadable.

Answer 51


PresentationFontCache.exe is a transparent service process that exists only for performance reasons. text  rendering functionality is the same with and without it running.

One can adjust per user ClearType settings using registry settings described in http://blogs.msdn.com/text/archive/2006/10/18/tips-for-improving-your-wpf-text-rendering-experience.aspx

I believe setting ClearType level to 100 should work for you.

Please let me know if this helps, and best regards,

Mikhail Leonov

Text team


Answer 52

So you confirm that cleartype can't be set per program but only per user at this point? That was my point. I only assumed it waas done because font  caching was done per user when presentationfontcache.exe is started. I'm not sure from your comment if the per user restirction is due to presentationfontcache existing and lacking engineering time to support per app settings or if per app settings are actually possible.

I don't think changing cleartype levels solves the problem of activating cleartype per process for cases where teh user has grayscale antialiasing activated, and as such ClearType deactivated, or am I misunderstanding the original question?

Answer 53

So, is MS still refusing to fix WPF BlurType?


Answer 54

Currently, one cannot change ClearType settings per WPF application. Granularity of PresentationFontCache.exe is not related to this choice - the service is not involved here at all, as it only caches parsed font  data and not glyphs rendered on the final display device.

Not supporting per application text  rendering settings was primarily an API decision, and we haven't really heard any concerns on this until now, likely because most customers expect rendering consistency across applications. We will take your feedback in consideration when discussing future WPF improvements.

The suggestion to try ClearTypeLevel was about activating ClearType for all WPF applications even if the system antialiasing is set to grayscale.

To another poster's question about future improvements to WPF ClearType rendering quality - our team is certainly aware of customer concerns and comments on this, but we cannot make any formal commitments yet on when and what improvements would be made.

Best regards,

Mikhail Leonov

Text team


Answer 55


first thanks for the answers that's prooving to be very useful. I dind't know glyphs were not cached.

When you talk about modifying the registry settings for WPF text, do you mean that WPF will render cleartype fonts event though the system is set on grayscale?

Thanks for all these answers.


Answer 56


you're very welcome!

Yes, that's what I meant. I haven't had a chance to verify the ClearType override behavior, since I'm swamped with other work at the moment, but from a cursory look it should work.

Hope this helps!

Mikhail Leonov

Text team


Answer 57

Hello, Mikhail

Thank you for the reply. Unfortunately, I cannot confirm the ClearType Registry override behavior. Even though it can be used to force grayscale over cleartype, it wouldn't work the other way out. I've experimented with “0” and “100” settings for two adjacent displays, to make sure it works at all (BTW, a window at the boundary looks quite amazing with partial cleartype). WinVista:

• System ClearType ON: [YES] WPF ClearType on one display, grayscale on the other, quite in accordance with the Registry settings.

• System antialising OFF, or set to “Standard”: [NO] WPF goes grayscale on both displays. After restarting the test app, that is. No ClearType.

Actually, we'd like to control the behavior per-composition-target, we don't need it to be per-app or per-user (the latter obviously being an abuse). R#, being a Visual Studio Add-In, needs its own UI to be decent, and doesn't care much about the rest. Hope there's some way for telling a composition target that it should use specific antialiasing settings, even if it comes down to sending a MIL command.

We're still evaluating whether we can use WPF for our user interface in the next release, and grayscale antialiasing stands as a major negative point. Is there any soluiton to it?


Answer 58


unfortunately, for the current release there is no way to modify text  rendering settings per composition target, even via sending a MIL command. I agree with you that there are scenarios where these settings need to have a finer grained scope.

I appreciate your feedback, and I'll convey it to the right folks on the team.

Best regards,

Mikhail Leonov
Text team


Answer 59


I see … took me about five screenfuls of C# code to force ClearType into our application in spite of system settings, so the core's CDisplaySet holds the proper bits now.

That wouldn't fix the situation with popup windows, particularly tooltips. Of course it's not technically possible to output ClearTyped text  into a translucent window at present, but anyway it comes down to cases like “I know it's opaque right under the text”. The improved antialiasing would be very handy in there too. No bright ideas yet, though …


Answer 60


I'm very glad you were able to solve the first issue!

ClearType on intermediate surfaces is indeed on our list of tough problems to address, and as more and more UI elements are composed this way, the problem becomes more visible.

I'll certainly let you know when there are improvements in this area.

Best regards,

Mikhail Leonov

Text team


Answer 61

First of all, I would like to give further feedback to Microsoft that yes, this is indeed a serious problem, at least for some users (I happen to be one.)  It is not a case of nit-picking.  It is a case of some people experiencing WPF fonts, which are smoothed/anti-aliased using a different ClearType algorithm, as being excessively blurry. For me, the key points are:

1)Whether or not WPF font  rendering looks horrible seems to be a factor of how color sensitive an individual’s eyes are (I read this somewhere).  Apparently mine are very color sensitive.  I have asked several people around the office for their opinion.  Some think the WPF rendered fonts look better, some think the reverse.  Some don’t see much of a difference.  Others (like me) see extreme blurriness that is annoying and distracting.

2)There is no way to turn  off WPF ClearType font rendering in WPF applications. 

3)(Reiterating for emphasis and clarity here…) This is not an issue with ClearType fonts.  This is an issue with the way WPF applies ClearType smoothing to fonts.  If I turn on my ClearType Control Panel setting, and If I look at Excel 2007 dialogs, the Excel dialogs look great to me.  This is because Excel 2007 is not a WPF application.

4)There are “tuners” out there that supposedly make things look better.  I tried the online tuner athttp://www.microsoft.com/typography/ClearType/tuner/Step1.aspxand it did nothing for me.  Today I am going to experiment with some registry settings that are supposed to make a difference.

My conclusion:

If we do nothing about this, then after our app ships, some percentage of our users are going to have the same reaction that I did.  Hopefully this will be a small  percentage.  Nonetheless, we are going to get some calls to our tech support line. Unfortunately, we can’t tell users “Just turn off ClearType smoothing if you don’t like it”, because it’s always on for WPF apps.  At that point, explaining a complicated technical issue to our users, begging their forgiveness because there is nothing we can do about it, and giving them a complicated workaround that involves editing the registry (assuming that works) is not very appealing.  It is important to this user/developer that Microsoft improve the ClearType font rendering algorithm in WPF, the sooner the better.


Answer 62

There's a few factors at play here. I've described some in my post:


In fact, I'm now convinced, especially after using macos for a while, that the issue doesn't come from people reading more slowly (tests were done that show the opposite apparently). But if only one application renders fonts more accurately while gdi prefers crispness, the contrast between the two is going to be the issue.


Answer 63

Blurry but static fonts are one thing - but the problem detailed here is unbelievable:


Everytime I scroll the VS2008 property grid I feel like I'm gonna vomit (no - I'm not exagerating). I really want to use WPF for a new product, but who would buy something that literally makes them sick?


Answer 64

I've already commented on how poor I think WPF's font  rendering is during and right after animations.  I've read Microsoft's explanation (performance), but I don't buy it anymore.

The fact is that my iPhone renders fonts very nicely, with antialiasing.  And the text  is perfectly readable during animations, which don't seem to involve any changes in the crispness or antialiasing technique for the text.  So can someone explain to me how my fast desktop computer with a fancy graphics card can't animate antialiased text, while my little phone can?

My feeling is that either font rendering in WPF was implemented poorly, or there is a design flaw in WPF that prevents this from being done right at all.  Either way, the reality is that font rendering in WPF is simply not acceptable, and the fact that Microsoft released .NET 3.5 without addressing this fundamental issue blows my mind.

 - Imad


Answer 65

There are several issues when comparing iPhone to desktop.  The iPhone is using 160 dpi which makes even blurry text  crisper.  And the iPhone renders text as bitmaps when animating which vastly improves performance over WPF's use of vectors.  I suspect that the font  rendering for WPF is just more obvious on lower dpi screens.

Answer 66

Forget the iPhone - it's a digression. I love cleartype. I think it looks great. But I seriously can't scroll the VS2008 property grid without getting dizzy. I don't see how you can MS can think nausea is a reasonable price to pay for performance. How slow could it be without this optimization? It's just such a shame. You dangle the goodness of WPF in front of our face but then we find  out applications built with it will blow farts in our face all day. It seems either 1) The manager overrode some indignant developers and shipped before you were ready 2) MS doesn't expect people to really use WPF for 5 years 3) The devs never tried making an app with scrolling text  --or-- 4) All the devs are blind.

I'm really not trying to troll here. I love .NET - I love cleartype - I *SHOULD* love WPF, but seriously...WTF?


Answer 67

MichaelLatta wrote:
There are several issues when comparing iPhone to desktop.  The iPhone is using 160 dpi which makes even blurry text  crisper.  And the iPhone renders text as bitmaps when animating which vastly improves performance over WPF's use of vectors.  I suspect that the font  rendering for wpf  is just more obvious on lower dpi screens.

Perhaps this supports the notion that WPF is using the wrong rendering technique, because whatever is going on in WPF (vectors or anything else), it is:
1. ugly while moving and stopping
2. slow

 - Imad


Answer 68

Mikhail Leonov - MSFT wrote:

To another poster's question about future improvements to WPF ClearType rendering quality - our team is certainly aware of customer concerns and comments on this, but we cannot make any formal commitments yet on when and what improvements would be made. - 09 Oct 2007

Any formal commitments on text  readability improvements (ie. more control over its rendering) yet?


Answer 69


I just wanted to reassure folks that this is a highly visible and important customer issue for us, and we take all this feedback very seriously. As soon as we have any public announcements on this, I will post updates to this thread.

Thank you for your feedback, and best regards,

Mikhail Leonov


Answer 70

This is a issue for me also...ive tried Clear type on and off, ive tried the XP scaling and nothing...some smaller fonts just look fuzzy. Ive tried everything....my monitor is set to 1680x1050. I can look at the monitor settings on the monitor itself, and it shows 1680x1050 at 60hz.

Really annoying to say the least.

Check out this pic...


Answer 71

The first one was alittle small....here is a bigger shot..clearly you can see the blury text...this is with Clear Type on.


Answer 72

@HighLife420 - We are talking about improving .NET and WPF here friend.  I think you're referring to ClearType in general.

I would like to express thanks to David Teitlebaum, Mikhail Leonov and Chris Han for replying to our comments.

This issue was simply a major design flaw with WPF from the outset, so I realize that it's not easy to fix.  Please let us (the community) know if there is anything we can do or assist with.  We all eagerly await the day where we can start using the latest Microsoft UI technology (Silverlight, WPF, etc.) once this major issue is behind us.  Please remember that, as unfortunate it may be, there are millions of people who *prefer* reading small  text in non-cleartype form and this will not change. 

Best of luck to your team(s) and Microsoft.  Regards, Sean

Answer 73

Doesnt WFP have something to do with cleartype?

How come this is used instead of windows form, which i guess xp used?

Reason being is the text  looks awful, just check out the shots i posted.

Its really only with small  fonts....there is some type of weird fuzzyness to it.

If this isnt the right place, ( i didnt find  anything else about this other then here) could you point me to the correct place.

Answer 74

I'd also like to add my frustration with the poor text  rendering in WPF. We did a WPF application for A Very Large Software Company You All Know and hopefully will appreciate the irony of our client complaining about the text. The manager asked me more than once, "Can't you do something about how crappy the text looks?"

I note in the .NET 3.5 MSDN reference page that text now supposedly is not anti-aliased unless in certain conditions. I'm using the Blend 2.5 June Preview with a new project set to .NET 3.5 and do not see this behavior.

I know you've heard it before, and it's clear you're paying more attention now than the blow-off we were getting at the start of this thread. But this is a very, very, very important issue. Paying clients do not take WPF apps seriously because the text is too fuzzy. We cannot argue with a client that won't go with the cool WPF app we'd like to do because the text quality is so poor. Please fix this yesterday.

Answer 75


I was wondering if there is a fix available yet for this issue.

I see it on several setups:
XP32, laptop display, integrated low-end graphics chipset, XP cleartype enabled
XP64, desktop LCD, midrange ATI x1300 series chipset, XP cleartype disabled
XP32, desktop LCD, high-end nvidia 8000 series chipset, XP cleartype disabled

If not, is there a way to set a WPF window to use the XP built-in ClearType in the meantime?


Answer 76

Chris Han MSFT said:

Sean, Wolfgang, and others,

  I'm sorry you're finding wpf  rendered ClearType text  to be more difficult to read in these situations. We very much appreciate the feedback and want to improve your reading experience. Unfortunately at this point in the release cycle, we cannot change the core text rendering code for this version. We are however looking into how we can improve text rendering for future versions and are reading your feedback.

1) I am very interested if you can provide specific font  family names that look especially bad  for you. This will help us diagnosis any issues with our text rendering. From Sean's screenshots, it looks like Microsoft San Serif on WinXP and Segoe UI are two that look poorly to Sean at small  sizes.

2) As Wolfgang mentioned, the Windows XP ClearType tuner PowerToy does affect WPF ClearType rendering. Though our rendering engines are different, WPF respects the global OS settings that the PowerToy changes. However, WPF cannot render aliased text, we can only render with greyscale anti-aliasing. This is due in large part to our architecture for having resolution independent layout.

Here are some compiled tips for improving your reading experience:
-Make sure your monitor is set to its native resolution.

-Use the ClearType tuner PowerToy: http://www.microsoft.com/typography/ClearTypePowerToy.mspx . This adjusts the system's ClearType settings which will affect WPF text rendering even though the WPF text rendering engine is different.

-There are a few new WPF ClearType settings that may help improve your experience. At the moment these can only be tuned via registry keys, we do have future plans to update the ClearType tuner to include these additional settings in a GUI:

(<displayName> is typically 'DISPLAY1', you can adjust things independently if you have multiple monitors)

ClearTypeLevel (DWORD with valid base 10 values between 0 and 100)
This adjusts the amount of color used in ClearType antialiasing, default value is 100.

TextContrastLevel (DWORD with valid base 10 values between 0 and 6)
This allows you to enhance the amount of contrast you see in text, the default value is 1.

These keys and more details will be published in an upcoming SDK documentation release.

Hope this helps,
Chris Han

In these situations? Give me a break. The font rendering in WPF is horrible and unusable in any situation. It's time for Microsoft to wake up and see the light that the cleartype technology used in WPF is an utter failure. No one cares about device independent pixels when no one can read the text in the application comfortably.

Answer 77

I can only add my frustration and comment in the hope that doing so will help in getting this issue resolved.

find  it hard to believe that this issue is still existant. For us it represents a showstopper in deciding whether to implement WPF applications for clients. For LOB applications the display and readability of text  is paramount. The purpose of the majoriy of LOB applications that we write is to manage and access information - the majority of it in a text format.

As an example, I just released a small  WPF application to a closed group of 20 test users and immediately received complaints from 50% of them regarding the general blurryness of the text and the blurring and refocusing effect that occured when they scrolled within the application.

While I understand that providing a fix is difficult, that to me says that the initial design was flawed. Just reading this thread demonstrates that the issue has been live for over 2 years. In my opinion, you will continue to see poor WPF adoption if this basic issue remains unaddressed.


Answer 78

This thread is almost 1,5 years old, and I have the same problem.

Disabling ClearType in Windows does nothing. wpf  does not 'respect the OS'-setting in this matter. My eyes actually hurt after a few hours of work with WPF. Why oh why would I want to have a blurry  mess on my screen when an LCD is capable of rendering razor-sharp, pixel perfect, fonts? ClearType and WPF-Text rendering (which is even worse) is horrible. text  have shadows of blue and red all over the place, this is even worse when the text isn't black and white, and that's pretty often. The tools in this thread I tried do next to nothing about this. The use of subpixels to render text instead of using the normal grid of an LCD was a horrible horrible idea.

Here's an example:

Whatever I do, WPF looks significantly worse with or without ClearType enabled. If you ask me, the second button  is the best. (as I said, razorsharp)

Anyway, my personal opinion doesn't matter in this case, it's the opinion of our customers. Telling them to get over it, like I belive MS wants us to do, is not an option. It would drive them straight to the competitor, who aren't as 'state of the art' as us.

This is going to be a dealbreaker. We've already had complaints from customers about ClearType in IE7 when viewing our webapplication. A new, WPF based, application is therefore out of the question. This annoys me, because WPF offers such great possibilities.

Is anything planned to fix this? I say fix because it is an issue that needs to be resolved for a lot of people. Is this on the roadmap?

And if it's not, what does Microsoft advise us to do? Seperately setup every customer's PC and monitor so it looks at it's least horrible?

Answer 79

If not already posted. This could be interesting:
 text  Clarity in WPF


Answer 80

This thread would be amusing if the whole thing wasn't so damn sad. The manager that is responsible for WPF shipping in its current state should hand in his resignation. I'm not joking. This is as far from a laughing matter as it can possibly get.

What saddens me most is seeing the response posted by Microsoft employees, where one almost gets the impression that this is nothing but a minor inconvenience. Do these people live in la-la land? This issue is single-handedly responsible for thousands of developers opting not to use WPF. This is not an exaggeration.

Then comes the "explanation" for why things are the way they are, and while I could comment on the specifics, I won't. Why? Because it doesn't matter. It's not my problem, and I honestly do not think it would be possible for me to care less about how difficult it is for Microsoft to implement something. That they even have the nerve to go fishing for sympathy and understanding as to why they haven't implemented a basic and essential feature offends me. I sincerely hope this will be resolved by the time Windows 7 comes out.

I do not have very high hopes for the future of the Windows platform if this is what we can expect from the next generation APIs. .NET and WPF as the foundation for future Windows programs? Really? Anyone that really believes that is completely out of touch with reality. How can it be the next generation platform when it is pretty much impossible to write complex software for it that doesn't rely heavily on interop with what should be legacy APIs? The .NET class library is (with a couple of notable exceptions) a collection of half-assed and incomplete implementations. Some have even been discontinued and marked deprecated, despite the fact that no  alternatives exist! In practical terms this means that Microsoft has painted itself into a corner yet again, with no option of phasing out the legacy stuff for the entire lifetime of the .NET platform.

It seems to cater well for those who write simple applications, while leaving everyone else out in the cold. For them development often becomes more difficult than it would have been with plain old Win32. Is that really the goal?

A brave new world indeed.


Answer 81


Thank you.


Answer 82

We (a global financial services company) are still awaiting a fix for this before we produce ANY WPF applications.

Microsoft, sack some people, break some code, do whatever you need to do but fix this issue ASAP!

We are already looking at Adobe Air as a possible alternative because (and only because) of this issue which is now 2 years old, please don't make us go there.

To clarify,

I dont need:
Rendering of controls on 3D surfaces
Pixel shader effects coming out of my a55
Zoom controls on every application I produce

I do need:
Good quality (ie the same as Windows Forms), clear text  rendering at small  font sizes  without have to pull any stupid tricks.

Simple huh.



Answer 83

Well the fonts look horrible and are unusable. Time to move on to Adobe Flex 3 and AIR. It looks like Microsoft is traveling down the same road GM went down. Nobody wants Vista and nobody wants Silverlight with it's crappy looking fonts. It's time to jump ship because it's sinking. The layoffs should be a good indication of where MS is heading. Probably the India programmers have taken over cause it's been my experience working with them that they don't speak up or own up to anything and simply say yes to everything. Microsoft is just saying yes to developer complaints and doing nothing about it except offering lame excuses that don't make any sense. What happened to quality? The money in the Gates foundation could be used to pay the MS employees instead of laying them off. They should have been kept on and told to fix the font  problems.

Answer 84

For anyone following this thread, Microsoft did a statement in this thread



We will improve the Cleartype text  quality in the .net 4 time frame; i.e. in our next major release. This was also mentioned in Scott Guthrie's talk at PDC (http://channel9.msdn.com/pdc2008/KYN02/, skip to minute 86). We are making these improvements across all the operating systems that wpf  supports today (XP, Vista) and Windows 7.

One of the previous posts also mentions the quality of text in ToolTips, Menus, etc. All those controls use layered windows which technically could be translucent. WPF cannot render Cleartype text onto translucent pixels and therefore switches back to anti-aliased rendering which does not look as good as Cleartype text rendering in WPF. In .net 4 we will give you a flag to re-enable Cleartype. You need to guarantee though that the content behind the text is opaque, otherwise it will look wrong.

<End Quote>

So appears to be unlikely that we will see this issue resolved in current version of WPF



Answer 85

Please see the usability study on ClearType: www.ischool.utexas.edu/~ct/chi_p618.pdf

While there's an overall improvement, about a third of users do better with regular type, and 20% do much, much better with regular type, even on an optomized system. Individual preference is much more important than sub-pixel antialiasing. Some of us have better color vision and the fringing drives us bonkers.

Answer 86

Here we are, late 2009 and no fix for this frustrating issue. Based on the post above, it sounds like maybe .NET 4.0 may have SOMETHING useful. Is VS 2010 available for beta testing? If so, can someone confirm this problem has been addressed to some extent? If not, my customers are simply not going to tolerate this ugly text  and I will have to forget about wpf  and just stick with standard WinForms. What a shame.


Answer 87

here we are, beginning of 2010. I hope SL 4 will fix the problem. My App is very text-based, and antialiased fonts are not my favorites.

Answer 88

Possible that there is no way to have in Aero the font  rendering of "Windows Classic" Theme?
ClearType does not go away from the Control Panel and other places if not putting windows classic theme!

Answer 89

Well... I have run into a bunch of situations where WPF anti-aliasing  causes more hassles then its worth.

For example, try to have vertical lines of 1 pixel width right next to each other with different colors. They'll smudge all over each other.

Stuff like StrokeDashArray is almost completely useless because the dashes get smudged together into an almost solid line.

There are ways to turn  off AA on certain things, but not on text.

AA has definitely caused more problems for me then it has solved. AA only comes in handy once in a blue moon.



Answer 90

You can turn  off AA in WPF4 by using: TextOptions.TextFormattingMode="Display"


Answer 91

I just downloaded the latest 2010 Express tools and that was the first thing I noticed... blurry  fonts except the solution explorer.

Why can't there be a checkbox to turn  off all font  smoothing technologies?  Why can't MS just accept that a significant percentage of users don't like the "blurry" fonts.  Visual people like myself prefer to see sharp edges.  If there is no reference for "in focus" when I am reading text, it gives me a headache.  When a scanner does its auto alignment, it doesn't print some blurry text  and decide its good enough because it can detect letters.

I suspect there will be a lawsuit against microsoft after some studies are done on long term effects of reading displays that don't give the human eye a reference point for things being in focus.  Any lawyers listening?


Answer 92


It is exactly the problem I am facing. I turned off all cleartype on my computer because my eyes can't handle it, and I am not the only person doing that. XP at least respect people who is unable to use clear type, by using default font  (Tahoma) looks good on both clear type enabled and *disabled*. However, since Vista and office 2007, Microsoft chose to use font that looks very ugly while clear type disabled. I have to manually switch font one by one to Tahoma.

Even worse, the WPF and Silverlight, two major client display technologies have hard-coded anti-aliasing, it is LOB app development nightmare, because you have no answer besides blaming Microsoft if someone ask you why your app looks so blurry. It is the biggest reason I resist using WPF/Silverlight in any serious application.

Fortunately, WPF team listened and WPF4 at least has option to turn  it off (respect system's setting), but Silverlight 4 text  is still blurry!

Can Microsoft listen on this?  Many people spend 8+ hours on monitor and they need a *CLEAR* picture and text to read, just like WinXP, 2000, 9x.





Answer 93

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