How Can VB.NET Display Anti-aliased fonts?

Posted on 2011-10-28
Last Modified: 2013-11-05
I am developing a project that looks great, but the MS fonts look like c**p!

I see Apple's fonts and they look great, especially on the iPad.

How can I get smooth looking fonts into my VB project?

Thank for any help.

Question by:bobcann
    LVL 83

    Expert Comment

    Change font of every control?
    LVL 40

    Accepted Solution

    You do not have the control over that. The user has.

    The IPad being a standardized machine, it does not give you any option. By closing their systems, Apple has always make it easier on themselves, (and at the same time making more money for themselves :-)). Windows being conceived to display on almost any monitor or monitor type, its font cannot be optimized. Also, the IPad uses a fixed size and resolution for its screen. Windows can run on very small or very big screens with different definitions.

    The font in Windows must thus be adjusted to the type of monitor, but also to the preferences of the user. Aliased fonts might look better for some people, but others might prefer a harsher but contrastier unaliased font. If you were able to set it through your code, you would probably adjust it to your own monitor and your own liking. It might look awful on another monitor or not be to the liking of your users.

    So Windows come by default with an average font display that will look good on most monitors, but is not optimized for any. If you want to optimize it for your environment and your taste, it's the user's job to tell so to Windows. If you were to set the font in a specific way in your application, and another application sets in another way, Windows would become a mess.

    Apple has it easy, but leave no option to the user. I personnaly prefer an environment that gives me the choice as a user. As a programmer, I must bend reverently in front of the user and answer to his taste and environment, which might not be mine. So let the user decide if he wants to have antialiased fonts or not.

    The user defines how to display fonts on his monitor through a series of configuration settings in Windows. The way to do that changes depending on the version of Windows you are using. In Windows XP it was somewhere in the Control Panel. In Windows 7, that I am using now, it is done with a right click on the Desktop... Personalize... Display. There are a few options there. Adjust Clear Type Text is the one that turn antialiasing on or off. But there are also a few other configuration settings, such as the size. Using antialiasing on some sizes might give a better display, while unaliased fonts will look better at other sizes. Whether you have a LCD screen vs a cathode ray screen, might also make a big difference.

    So, do not fret about that. Let the user decide.

    Also, before saying that the MS fonts look bad, are you sure that you are using the right type of font? Once again, Apple makes it easy for themselves. You cannot print from an IPad as far as I know. Fonts such as Arial and Times New Roman have been designed for printing, as are most of the fonts you find on a typical Windows installation. They have been optimized for the 600 dpi (dots per inch) of a printer, not for the type of dots definition you get on a screen. Other fonts have been optimized for the screen. They are awfull if you use them in a Word document, but are a lot easier to read on the screen. This is the case of Microsoft Sans Serif, the default font used when you put on a control on the screen, in title bars, in a MessageBox, in menus, everywhere in Windows. It it basically the same thing as Arial, but optimised for a lower dpi, so looking better on a screen.

    Did you ever heard somebody complain that the default font used in Windows looks ugly? Sure, it is not fancy. But it is efficient. And Windows has been designed as a tool, not as a toy. And an efficient tool is usually more useful than a cute one.

    Author Closing Comment

    Thank you for the fine explanation :)

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