Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors [via macosxhints.com]

31Jul10

Information below taken from the post on MacOSXHints.com

So recently ran into an issue with my new HP LCD monitor where Snow Leopard suddenly decided to make my fonts look all skinny and malnourished (that’s turning font smoothing off, apparently). Which was really annoying, since I was using Monaco on the Terminal and in my code editors and they looked really horrible after that.

Finally get fed up enough to Google around a bit for Mac OS X font tweaks and ran into the solution below.

And now my fonts are happy! Or at least I am.

Hope it helps someone too.

Reposting here just so it gets out on the web more:

There is a bug in Snow Leopard that disables LCD (sub-pixel) font smoothing on many third party LCD displays, including models from Dell, Samsung, LG, HP, EIZO, and Lenovo. Here are the details:

Snow Leopard introduces simplified Font Smoothing options under the Appearance pane in System Preferences. Prior to Snow Leopard, the available options were:

  • Automatic – Best for Main Display
  • Standard – Best for CRT
  • Light
  • Medium – Best for Flat Panel
  • Strong

In Snow Leopard, you can only choose between Automatic and Standard CRT. Since few people use CRTs these days, most users now have only one option: Automatic. The problem with the Automatic option is that OS X incorrectly detects many third party LCD monitors as CRTs, and consequently, disables LCD font smoothing.

You can force OS X to use LCD font smoothing on all displays with this Terminal command:

defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2

The number 2 here corresponds to Medium – Best for Flat Panel. You may also use 1 for light smoothing, and 3 for strong smoothing, as per the original OS X font smoothing options.

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