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Anti-aliasing in Firefox


This post is rather old. If you’re looking for information on the current Firefox 4 font smoothing problem, you should rather look here: Font smoothing in Firefox 4.

Since version 7, I believe, the Internet Explorer has had this great font anti-aliasing feature. That is the fonts simply look prettier, smoother and less pixely there. I’ve always liked that; in fact, I was amazed, for it was the first time that the Internet Explorer seemed to have something over my Firefox. But I thought: “Well, in the next version at the latest, Firefox will of course be able to do this as well.” But I’ve been having a long wait for that…

Enable ClearType

Enable ClearType

Yesterday I had the idea to delve into the matter again and found out, that the anti-aliasing effect is not directly an IE, but a general Windows feature, which is simply enabled by default for IE since version 7. It is called “ClearType” and can be enabled windows-wide at your desire. Here’s how it’s done:
Right click Desktop → Properties → Appearance → Effects
Under “Use following method to smooth edges…”, choose “ClearType”.

As a result, fonts will be smoothened in all applications, including Firefox. Actually I’d rather be able to activate the feature for Firefox only while leaving it disabled for all other applications, but I couldn’t find a solution for that yet. It seems that there was a patch for Firefox 2 which fulfilled exactly this task, but it doesn’t work with Firefox 3. The download site is dead by now, so there’s probably not going to be a new version of it in the future. :cry:

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