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ClearType comes with XP, and it makes text such as Word 2000 (which I am using to write this on a GeForce 3 Video board) look very good indeed, and is a major reason for installing Windows XP. To turn it on, right click on the desktop, properties, appearance (tab), effects (button), and you are there. To tune ClearType you need to go to the Microsoft web site, http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/, and do a search for ClearType. That brings up a page that lets you turn on, then tune, ClearType for your system.

The interesting thing is that if you do that with a Windows 2000 system, and go to the tuning page, you will get to download a small ActiveX control. Once you have done that, check the "turn on ClearType" box, then choose the text that looks best, and click the Apply button. You will now have ClearType running on a Windows 2000 system. It doesn't, to me at least, look as good as it does in Windows XP, but I've tested several times now, and it's sure better than without it. (It's easy to turn it off if you decide that you hate it.) The interesting thing is that Microsoft says ClearType doesn't work at all on Windows 2000. I agree that it's better on Windows XP.

So, to get ClearType you don't have to have Windows XP, but it works a lot better (and it's easier to control) if you do. I am no fan of Windows XP, but I have to say that so far on every comparison of Windows 2000 Professional vs. XP Professional, XP wins. On everything but activation, anyway. Activation has never been a problem for me, but then I have MSDN (Microsoft Developers Network), which gives me multiple licenses (and is a very good deal for anyone doing software development).


Windows Client UPDATE
April 15, 2004

Commentary: Enhance Notebook Displays with ClearType ====
by David Chernicoff, david@winnetmag.com

After I configured several users' notebook PCs recently, the users
complained that their screens weren't all that readable and asked me
whether they could change the screen resolution. Given how bad my
40-something eyes are and because I could easily read the computer
screens from more than five feet away, I was a little confused by the
users' problem.

My confusion stemmed partly from the fact that I'd enabled Microsoft
ClearType on the computers. I've found that ClearType makes fonts much
more readable on notebook PCs at all screen resolutions. I sat down
with one of the complaining users and enabled and then disabled
ClearType, to show her how her screen appeared at lower resolutions
(most of the notebooks' displays were set at 1024 x 768, although a
few were 1280 x 1024 or 1600 x 1050). She agreed that the ClearType
display looked better to her, but none of my changes made the screen
easier for her to read.

As an experiment, I showed her the Microsoft ClearType Tuner Web site,
at http://www.microsoft.com/typography/cleartype/tuner/1.htm .
ClearType Tuner is an online tool that lets you select the way
ClearType appears on your computer. (You must enable ClearType on your
computer before you can use the tuner.) The tuner downloads a small
ActiveX control and walks the user through several selection screens
to tune ClearType so that it looks best to the user.

While walking through the tuner selection screens, I discovered that I
never picked the same screens that the other person did; I was always
at least one screen away from what the user thought looked best. When
we finished using the tuner, the user was much more satisfied with her
screen's appearance. It looked a little blurry to me, but the whole
point of tuning the display appearance is to make it work for the
person who spends the day in front of it.

To enable ClearType on your computer, perform the following steps:

1. Right-click the desktop.
2. Click Properties.
3. Click the Appearance tab.
4. Click the Effects button.
5. In the "Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts"
drop-down box, select ClearType. Click OK.
6. Click Apply, and click OK.

In general, ClearType works best on LCD panels (notebooks and
flat-panel monitors). However, the tuning tool makes ClearType usable
on some high-resolution tube displays, too. For more information about
ClearType, check out
http://www.microsoft.com/typography/ClearTypeInfo.mspx .

Questions or problems regarding this web site should be directed to abeckman@outdoorssite.com.

Copyright 2008 Art Beckman. All rights reserved.

Last Modified: March 9, 2008