I have been a big fan of ClearType fonts and it was one of the features that I liked very much in IE7 and Windows Vista. For those who have not read my post on IE7 Beta3, here is the excerpt of ClearType:
ClearType is a software technology developed by Microsoft that improves the readability of text on existing LCDs (Liquid Crystal Displays), such as laptop screens, Pocket PC screens and flat panel monitors. With ClearType font technology, the words on your computer screen look almost as sharp and clear as those printed on a piece of paper.
ClearType works by accessing the individual vertical color stripe elements in every pixel of an LCD screen. Before ClearType, the smallest level of detail that a computer could display was a single pixel, but with ClearType running on an LCD monitor, we can now display features of text as small as a fraction of a pixel in width. The extra resolution increases the sharpness of the tiny details in text display, making it much easier to read over long durations.
For a technical overview of how ClearType works check this Microsoft Research Paper. However this technology improves text display more in LCD’s rather than in CRT monitors. The ClearType FAQ has more information on this.
In fact ClearType is part of Windows XP and is disabled by default. Follow these steps to Enable ClearType Fonts on Windows XP:
Right click on the desktop and select ‘Properties’
2. Select the ‘Appearance’ tab and press the ‘Effects…’ button
3. Check the box for ‘Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts’, then select ‘ClearType’ in the dropdown list
4. Close the Effects dialog by clicking ‘OK’ and click ‘Apply’ to complete the process
Another option to enable ClearType is to use the PowerToy Tuner. This tool add a “ClearType Tuning” applet in the Control panel and as the name suggests can be used to tune the ClearType settings such as Contrast, Gamma etc. There is a wizard which will help you in getting the best out of ClearType.