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FireFox and Fonts

December 17th, 2009

For years now people have told me how FireFox is oh-so-much better than Internet Explorer (IE), but so far I have refused to use FireFox because I hated the way that FireFox renders fonts.

I have learned the reason why FireFox renders fonts in such a sickly thin format. Because FireFox is a cross-platform browser, it does not do some of the things that IE, a Windows-only browser, does. IE uses clear-type fonts to render and display fonts; FireFox does not.

The simple fix is to turn on clear type fonts. Several places described going to Appearance and Themes in the Control Panel and under the Appearance tab to select the Effects button then turn on Clear Type fonts, but on my XP pro I didn’t have that option.

What I found was an XP Power Toy at Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP called ClearType Tuner. This is a control panel applet that allows you use ClearType technology to make it easier to read text on your screen, and installs in the Control Panel for easy access. It has a wizard interface where you can turn on Clear Type fonts and select and preview how the fonts will appear. Once Clear Type fonts are turned on, Fire Fox fonts will be much easier on the eyes.

Someday I may make FireFox my default browser… 47% of browser users can’t be all wrong.

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