firefox tips & tricks

How to make font render smoothly in firefox just like safari and IE7

Last night I was listening to a podcast by Jason Mayoff with Shankar Ganesh – both are writers for , During their conversation they discussed about different browsers like Safari , Firefox , Opera in their podcast.

I heard Shankar said:  he really likes the smooth font rendering in Safari, I would like to second that, as I also like the smooth font rendering in safari but in firefox font appearance is really worse as compared to safari.

But then I thought how can any one rectify the font rendering issue in firefox to some extent.

There can be two simple ways to render fonts smoothly in firefox which I found is to enable cleartype in firefox.

For those who don’t know about cleartype

ClearType is the Microsoft implementation of subpixel rendering technology, aiming to improve the appearance of text on certain types of computer display screens, especially LCD flat-panel monitors.

Let me just show you how the font renders without and with cleartype.

Without cleartype



With cleartype




Method 1:   Enable ClearType ( for windows XP )

1. Right click on the empty space on the desktop and select properties.

2. Now click the Appearance Tab , and click the effects button.








3. As shown in the image above you need to select the cleartype effect in the second checkbox.

4. Click Ok 2 times That’s it Done !

Open firefox and browse any website you will see an immediate effect after enabling cleartype both in windows fonts and opened website text in firefox.

Method 2:  Installing a patch for enabling clear type in firefox.

There is a patch also available to enable cleartype in firefox it works upto Firefox version 2.0

Basically, the binary patch is for Firefox 2 only. (It may work with version 1.5, but not compatible with 3.0 ) .

Note: This patch enables cleartype in firefox only not on windows   


1. The main issue is that it turns on ClearType for not only Web pages, but everything in Firefox including menus, bookmarks, etc.   

2. After a Firefox Update you may have to reapply the ClearType patch.

[ Download cleartype patch for firefox 2.0 ]

Tip: To fine tune cleartype further on windows you can use ClearType Tuner PowerToy.

11 replies on “How to make font render smoothly in firefox just like safari and IE7”

Are the limitations only for the first method, or for the second one as well? Cleartype is turned on for the menu bar,tabs and bookmarks even in method 1, that’s why I ask.

@ajit – First Method is for enabling clear type on whole system including firefox.

But the Second Method is for enabling clear type on the firefox only.

@Shankar Ganesh – thanks for dropping by..if it is linux then there may be something similar to cleartype for linux also…do let us know which linux do u use.

is it ubuntu , mandrake etc ? may be i can do something about this issue.

This doesn’t give you Safari-esque fonts: it gives you IE fonts. They use different systems (see here). For Safari fonts in Firefox, there’s a thread here that recommends using gdi++ to change the font rendering system. I haven’t tried it, but will get round to it, as I personally prefer the Apple style.

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