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Sunday, February 05, 2006

ClearType Text in IE7

Hello there, I’m Peter Gurevich, one of the many program managers on the IE team. My primary feature area focus is on the rendering and display in the browser, including the decoding and display of images and the rendering of Text. I wanted to briefly chat with you all about a change to the way IE7 renders text.

You may have noticed that after installing IE 7, your fonts in IE and Outlook Express look different. That is because IE7 has changed our text rendering to use ClearType. I hope you like the change. If you are not familiar with ClearType, you can find more information on it using the link below, but basically it is another method for rendering Text on LCD Monitors.

Here is an example of the difference you should see.

If you have an LCD monitor, it may not be precisely tuned for Cleartype, so here are some tools that can help you get it set up.

On-line tuner

PowerToy tuner:

We do realize and have received feedback that not everyone is using an LCD and that some people may not like ClearType text rendering. So it is important to us that we provide a way of disabling ClearType. If you do not like ClearType text rendering on your monitor, you just need to use the option in the Internet Control Panel to turn it off. Simply uncheck the box.

Now some of you out there may have a few questions. Ill try to answer what seem to be the most common.

Q1: Why is IE7 making this change?
A1: To improve the readability of text on the internet.

The Advanced Reading and Technologies group at Microsoft has conducted several studies on ClearType on LCD and CRT monitors. These studies show a measurable improvement in reading comprehension and performance as well as an improvement in the perceived user experience (Mostly on LCDs, but even on CRTs) Because of these studies and the prevalence of LCD monitors in the marketplace, IE7 will now render text using compatible width Clear type by default. Compatible width means that, for the most part, the text layout should not change when using ClearType. ClearType rendering will be turned on independent of the system ClearType setting but will be group policy enabled for corporate environments.

Q2: Why don’t we turn on ClearType just for LCD monitors?
A2: There is no reliable programmatic way to detect whether the monitor on a system is an LCD or CRT. When that type of detection technology is in place it is an option that we will consider.

Q3: Why does text in Outlook Express still look blurry even when I turn off ClearType?
A3: This is a bug and it is known issue. We are working closely with the Outlook Express team to resolve this issue.

Thanks for your interest in the IE7 product and please let us know if you have any questions or comments.

- Peter Gurevich, Internet Explorer Program Manager

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