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Thread: HOWTO: Improve fonts rendering

  1. #1
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    HOWTO: Improve fonts rendering

    Sometimes fonts rendering on Linux (especially on some distros) can be a real issue.
    As I managed to find a configuration that works great for me, I thought I should share this.
    This HowTo is based on my current distro which is Ubuntu with Gnome. However, the proper settings can be applied to other Desktop Environments (such as KDE) and other distros too; you'll just have to find the right GUI in which to set up these things.
    Anyway, the idea is to play with the "Smoothing" and "Hinting" font parameters.

    • First of all, go to "System --> Preferences --> Appearance" menu


    The following window should open and then go to the "Fonts" tab:




    • Now in the "Rendering" section pick the "Subpixel smoothing (LCDs)" option
    • Then click on the "Details" button


    A new window will open, as follow:




    • In the "Smoothing" section pick the "Subpixel (LCDs)" option
    • In the "Hinting" section pick the "Slight" option

    You'll immediately notice a better font rendering in this same window. As a quick preview, take a close look to the difference between the fonts in the two images I used in this HowTo.

    • Now just close the the windows by clicking on the "Close" buttons
    • Enjoy the better rendering


    I hope that'll help.



    P.S: please note that this HowTo especially helps on LCD screens. On CRT monitors the result might not be great.
    Last edited by luca_linux; May 20th, 2008 at 12:41 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: HOWTO: Improve fonts rendering

    Nice one! I will try it out!

  3. #3
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    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    Re: HOWTO: Improve fonts rendering

    Well, I suppose it's just a choice dependant on likings; I like it better when choosing Full instead of Slight.

  4. #4
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    Re: HOWTO: Improve fonts rendering

    Quote Originally Posted by Ferio View Post
    Well, I suppose it's just a choice dependant on likings; I like it better when choosing Full instead of Slight.
    It might be.
    Anyway, on higher resolution (which are more and more common nowadays) in which everything is smaller, I think the "Slight" hinting performs better, because it makes the regular font style appear bolder.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Kubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

    Re: HOWTO: Improve fonts rendering

    That makes small fonts look more clear, but spoils the appearance of small bold fonts. And there is a problem that gnome ignores all the fontconfig settings, so I can't just modify it to make small fonts render with slight hinting and normal-sized and bold render with full-hinting

  6. #6
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: HOWTO: Improve fonts rendering

    Quote Originally Posted by Holy Cheater View Post
    so I can't just modify it to make small fonts render with slight hinting and normal-sized and bold render with full-hinting
    Code:
    sudo dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config
    Here, choose "ALWAYS" (you can leave the rest or play around with it)
    Code:
    sudo dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig
    Restart X.

    -- zerwas

  7. #7
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    Re: HOWTO: Improve fonts rendering

    Note that this is not a one-size-fits-all solution. I personally use Futura Bk size 9, with slight hinting on my laptop, which looks fabulous.

    However, the same setting looks like crap on the CRT monitor of my desktop computer.

    Nice how-to though: it can help people just starting with Ubuntu.
    Last edited by the8thstar; May 18th, 2008 at 03:51 PM.
    Desktop : iMac 21.5" (2011) Core i5 Sandy Bridge - AMD Radeon HD 6750M - 8Gb RAM - OS X 10.8.3 Mountain Lion
    Laptop : EasyNote TS 44HR (2012) - Core i3 Sandy Bridge - Intel HD3000 - 4Gb RAM - elementary OS 0.2 + Windows 7 Home Premium SP1

  8. #8
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    Re: HOWTO: Improve fonts rendering

    Excellent tutorial. Thanks

  9. #9
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    Re: HOWTO: Improve fonts rendering

    Quote Originally Posted by the8thstar View Post
    Note that this is not a one-size-fits-all solution. I personally use Futura Bk size 9, with slight hinting on my laptop, which looks fabulous.

    However, the same setting looks like crap on the CRT monitor of my desktop computer.

    Nice how-to though: it can help people just starting with Ubuntu.
    Yeah, you're right.
    This HowTo suits LCD screens better.
    That's also suggested by the Gnome GUI itself ("SubPixel (LCDs)").
    Last edited by luca_linux; May 20th, 2008 at 12:42 PM.

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