Browser Anti-aliasing

[FONT=“Georgia”]“Why is the text bold?”

I’m really getting sick of that question ^.

The two most recent websites I’ve been working on are for two companies that exclusively use Macs, and I’ve noticed that the anti-aliasing differences between Windows (my machine) and Mac (theirs) have been causing me a hell of a lot of grief and explaining.

So, two part question;

1. Does anyone know what factors determine if text will be rendered anti-aliased?

I observed Safari has the worst (thickest, most nasty letters), but there’s also a difference between Firefox viewed on my client’s iMac vs. being viewed on her laptop.

Does this mean it’s related to the screensize as well?

What other factors are there?

2. Is there anyway to force browsers to NOT anti-alias my website’s text?

I’ve been googling with no hope. Using images instead of text is not an option.

Are there any new CSS3 controls or CSS hacks you know of?

Thanks a lot!


This is basically the situation:

Linux (Font smoothing off by default - all browsers) - result, everything looks thin.
Mac (Font smoothing on by default - all browsers) - result, everything looks thicker.
Windows: IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera (OS controlled - on in Vista/7 - thick but thin if not calibrated, off in XP - thin), Safari (browser controlled - on - thicker)

Solution: Crawl in a corner and cry as you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t :smiley:

Some of it is Operating System, other bits are browser settings.

Don’t know about Mac OS but Windows has various font/display settings.

Certainly in Safari (Win) you can change Preferences>Appearance>Font smoothing which renders text differently.

As far as I know there’s no way to change someones system setting so you can never dictate how a visitors should have their font settings. Client education is called for here :slight_smile:

For the most part, it’s an O/S thing…except for IE7/8.

Or design web pages that work fine with every situation, which is perfectly possible so long as you get over your delusion that your site should look the same everywhere.


Alright, thanks guys.

I hate having to explain away things like these. I’m always curious if to my clients I’m seen as a dishonest car salesman, making up excuses for things his cars can’t do.

It annoys me to no end.


Mac users (such as myself) are used to seeing fonts rendered this way, so I’d not try and change anything. For long-time Mac users it’s Windows rendering that looks strange, has too thin text, so I’d tell your client that it’s perfectly normal that various operating systems render text differently and that users of a given platform are used to seeing it in that way (Mac users being used to seeing fonts slightly bolder and Windows users seeing fonts slightly thinner).

…and there’s me, whenever I use a Mac I always think the text is too bold and looks strange :lol: