Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Microsoft has a team of typographers that do a lot of work trying to improve the lives of readers all around the world. They do research on eye tracking, what increases reading speeds, decreases reading speeds and they are a very opinionated bunch, but their latest creation is Clear Type which was originally designed to take advantage of sub-pixel rendering of fonts on LCD screens. With a CRT screen a pixel is either red, green, blue or a combination of those colours from black to white, but with LCD displays each pixel is made up of three concentric diodes which from a few feet away look just like one pixel. So by manipulating the individual diodes instead of the whole pixel a better rendered font can be created (the article in the link above has more on this).

So anyway Clear Type will be making it's way into Vista and for that the typography team have invested a lot of time and effort creating some new fonts as the ones we are using today where created with the limitations of pixels.

One of the fonts they have developed is called Consolas which has been specifically designed for programmers, who incidentally spend an awful lot of time looking at text.

Today Consolas can be downloaded for Visual Studio 2005 from Here. I have installed it, it might take a little getting used to, but on a CRT Clear Type just looks like antialiased text anyway, but below is a before and after Clear Type.

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