OSX fonts

Since I got my Mac back, my fonts are weird again.

Back when I first got the iMac, I noticed something odd, which is that light text on a dark background is rendered more bold than the other way around. Consequently, the theme used by my LJ and the DNA site look kind of assy.

Then a month or so later, the problem went away, and my fonts looked like they should. Maybe there was a Software Update, maybe it was some other app I installed, I don't know, but something seemed to have shaken the cobwebs out of the font renderer.

Well, I need to do that again, and I have no idea how.

Check out this weirdness, which I suspect is related in some way: my tcsh $prompt is "%U%B<`whoami`@%m:%~/>%u%b ", meaning the prompt is bold. This is what Terminal looks like:

with antialiasing off:
and with it on:

When "Window Settings/Display/Anti-aliasing" is checked, the non-bold fonts become bold, and the bold fonts become non-bold! WTF?

Update: Set System Preferences / General / Font Smoothing Style to "Standard", and quit/restart Safari/Terminal etc., and this problem goes away.

Tags: , , , ,

6 Responses:

  1. kaseijin says:

    System Preferences/Appearance/Font smoothing style?

  2. scullin says:

    If you switch System Preferences:General:Font Smoothing Style to "Standard" this effect goes away. Apparently "Standard" turns off sub-pixel anti-aliasing, which is where this bug must lie.

  3. acdha says:

    ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/ contains preference files which are tied to the primary MAC address of your system. One of these (Library/Preferences/ByHost/.GlobalPreferences.MAC.plist) contains the font smoothing setup.

  4. pawliger says:

    The Font Smoothing preference also seems to reset itself every once in awhile for no readily apparent reason. At least the need to reset it is fairly obvious...

    I also prefer to run Terminal using Monaco 9.0 as my font (things like ~ and @ are more readable for me in that font that the default font). There is a Terminal font spacing bug when you switch to Monaco 9, though, so you need to manually set the font spacing preference for Terminal via 'defaults write com.apple.Terminal FontWidthSpacing 1.003' (There is only a slider for setting horizontal spacing and it doesn't have the resolution to set this value via the UI. If you don't like this value, the slider is the easiest way to set it back to 1.0)