If the monitor you’re using right now is LCD display, chances are it’s got 300 dpi of resolution, potentially exploitable.
Yes, typography quality for on-screen reading can be available for no additional cost. Sounds bold? Take a look:
(Effective on certain (well, most) LCD display types only)
Enthusiast digital photographers know that black & white image sensors generally sport larger resolutions (mega-pixel counts) than full-color sensors of same class. That’s because to make a pixel color, three pixels are actually used, so when you buy a 7 megapixel point-and-shoot digicam it’s really got 21 million pixels, 7 million of each color: red, green and blue.
LCD screens are commonly made in a similar fashion: each square pixel is comprised of three sub-pixels, so that a “consumer-grade” monitor of 1280×1024 resolution is 3840×1024 really.
Only thing here – those extra “pixels” are not full-color, you can see the imperfections if you amplify the text sample above (press Ctrl and Keypad+ to enlarge). But that’s totally OK with monochrome text and goes unnoticed by most people.
Microsoft made clever use of this peculiarity of LCD screens design, plus the psycho-visual characteristics of human eyesight tolerating color variances around letters, in a trademarked feature ClearType – a live type-set preprocessor aimed at improved readability – widely available (and as widely underused!) since Windows XP launch in 2001.
Besides making static text look more appealing, ClearType enhances text scrolling and window movement performance. Softened contrast of moving objects edges helps mitigating the nasty artifacts of “overdrive” technics used in some PVA, MVA and S-IPS flat panels.
You can try it yourself by accessing the option:
Display Properties / Appearance / Effects… / Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts: / ClearType
It is on by default on Windows Vista.
True, the text rendered with ClearType looks a bit blurred at first, much like the unprocessed text is blurred on a CRT screen so that aliasing is masked on CRT to some extent. Also in some situations a colored ringing may be seen near edges of the fonts, or text may appear dirty. However, once you get used to it, you probably will not want to switch it off.