What a small thing. what a great improvement (configure your font settings)

Hi there! no, this post is not about Kbluetooth nor KTuberling or any development/technical stuff, is more a user-like post, so common! keep reading this time :)

A few days ago, I was in the office with ereslibre showing something to him (I don’t remember what), when he noticed something in my desktop that he didn’t liked, my fonts. I laughed quite a lot because I thought that it was a "Yet Another Small Detail That Ereslibre Cares Of". I let him modify my settings so I could say later to him: you see? this thing has not improved my user experience in any way. But as you probably guessed by now, I was terribly wrong.

What’s more, now I’m pushing everybody I know which uses KDE to setup the same configuration I have. I don’t really know what the hell the parameters I modify means, but what I know is that now I’m happier with my desktop.

The famous settings are:

  • Font: Dejavu Sans
  • Use anti-aliasing: Enabled
  • (Click on configure)
  • Use sub-pixel rendering: RGB
  • Hinting style: Slight

In screenshots (so you can extrapolate it to your language):

Set the font and enable the anti-aliasing:

Fonts settings 1

Click on configure and set the subpixel rendering:

Fonts settings 2

Set the hinting styke:

Fonts settings 3

The last KDE user I "moved" to these settings has needed 1 day to notice the changes, so just do it and wait :)

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  • dirian

    great tip. thanks

  • http://www.cyrilbrosch.net Cyril

    Funny, after some playing around I had already got exactly the same settings in order to not make the fonts in KOffice look like crap (sorry for the word, but before it was a nightmare).

  • illissius

    This is one of the first settings I always configure. Apparently I’m not everyone?

  • http://www.anselmolsm.org/blog/ anselmolsm

    DejaVu Sans FTW!

    I’ll test these anti aliasing settings, let’s see. thanks =)

  • Michael Kreitzer

    Another great font set are the Droid fonts. They are part of the Android repository. They’re especially good at small point sizes.

  • blueget

    Interesting – “Slight” Hinting looks ugly on my machine, while “Full” works great.

  • http://www.afiestas.org afiestas

    Maybe this is why KDE is not shipping with “Slight” by default

  • pheder

    I recommend using Droid Sans 8 for the toolbar – it’s narrow, which is important in the toolbar and it’s very easy to read at this small size. Plus, as it’s a different font than elsewhere it feels like it belongs to the icon and can’t be confused with other stuff (just easy for the eye).

  • nidi

    Not wanting to start a flamewar, but there are also other sensitive options, for me:

    I’m always disabling anti-aliasing and use bitmap fonts only and my setup is perfectly crisp for me (e.g. “menu fonts look light windows xp, not like vista” if this is useful for someone). Non-aliased fonts are a bit ugly with big fonts though. It’s non-convenient when using vector fonts a lot, e.g. in wysiwyg-Editors like KWord.

    The display resolutions are currently (still) too bad for vector fonts, at least for me, as I don’t want to use anti-aliasing which makes everything smooth and wastes energy (bold statement).

  • Karthik

    Eye opener!

  • Renze

    I too use Droid Sans rather than DejaVu Sans, and I must say that slight hinting looks worse than full hinting with Droid Sans, not to mention most website fonts look worse in my browser window too. Very font specific.

  • http://[email protected] m_goku

    I use Liberation Sans instead, with full hinting. I think it’s look better

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003407050230 Vaios

      Hello, why should I turn non web-safe fonts into imaegs? Everything seems to be fine without doing so. It seems as if my non web-safe font is shown properly as a text on my brand new website, so search engines are able to identify and browsers are able to display.But maybe I’m wrong and live in the illusion of my own mac with firefox and safari??? Must try neighbours windows explorer later on Best wishesSteffie

  • nidi

    good writing about the problems with anti-aliasing and all of this: (warning, contains strong language)


  • Renze

    Oh, and I should also mention that sub-pixel rendering only looks good on LCD displays (or similar)… it looks dreadful on CRT displays (does anyone still use these?).

  • Joey

    I use Calibri Bold 9, RGB sub pixel rendering with Slight hinting. I’m really fond of it.

  • http://www.valdyas.org/irina/ Irina

    Thanks! These are actually my default settings too but I hadn’t thought of it after reinstalling.

  • yero

    Well, while anti-aliasing obviously made things much better, the subpixel rendering goes a bit too far (or not far enough) on my display. The strokes are lined by a reddish edge on the one side and a blueish one on the other.

    Have to play around a bit, but just wanted to say, that it might be display-dependend, which settings work best (that’s why there are that many…).

    • http://www.afiestas.org afiestas

      Mailinator FTW :p

  • Nost

    Liberation Sans is even better.

  • Ralesk

    Slight hinting is awesome — I use it without subpixel antialiasing though (so, simple greyscale AA). And I can recommend trying Droid Sans for the UI

    Consolas (yeah, yeah, a Windows font) is an excellent terminal font, too.

  • supportFSF

    Fantastic! using the liberation sans variant, it looks 100% better than default font. Somehow this is more appealing to my eyes. For sure this is much better than the default which i had! Thanks for sharing this :)

  • KDS

    Steve Jobs talks about fonts here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA

    He says that fonts are a very important part of a computer, he is so right! Now only if Mac OS X fonts were open source or free… :)