This Microsoft-developed font system uses subpixel rendering technology in order to display text better on certain types of monitors, specifically flat LCD displays. Originally developed in 1998 and released in 2000, it was part of Microsoft Reader and not significantly changed until the release of Windows 7, at which point it underwent significant changes. As of Word 2013, this technology is obsolete and no longer used in Microsoft software.
Technipages Explains ClearType
ClearType is a screen font technology that was supposed to make text more easily legible and visible on computer screens. With LCD screens still a relative novelty, the screen quality we have now simply didn’t exist, and so ClearType was an attempt to improve the appearance of text.
A trade-off for it was colour fidelity – in other words, text colours were partially ignored in favour of visibility. This wasn’t ideal, and by the time the tech was removed from Word in version 2013, its dependency on background colours was a real problem. Depending on the colour of the background behind the text, it simply did not work as intended.
Before that, it helped display smoother versions of otherwise jagged text, particularly small-printed high-contrast elements. For some fonts, this had the effect of making them look even smaller, which was, of course, not ideal.
So-called subpixel rendering, ClearType prioritised light vs dark distinctions over colour details, meaning that, while it was great at showing black text on a white background, it was less useful if it was lime green text on a forest green background, or even yellow on white.
Common Uses of ClearType
- ClearType is a piece of subpixel rendering software.
- Bundled with Word and other Microsoft products, ClearType improved text visibility wherever possible.
- Microsoft was slow in updating ClearType, making it lag behind the market.
Common Misuses of ClearType
- ClearType is software used to edit and manipulate the appearance of text.