One of the innovations the Mac brought to personal computing was the ability to have fonts appear on your screen just as they would on a printed page. At first, this required one to have individual bit-mapped fonts for each size that you needed. Then came TrueType, which also allows the Mac OS to derive any sized font from a single font file . Although much better than bit-mapped fonts, there is still room for improvement when these fonts are displayed on your screen...
One way to improve the appearance of fonts on the screen is to use a method called anti-aliasing. Basically, this is a technique that will use shades of gray, in addition to basic black, to make the edges of a character appear smoother. Recent versions of Mac OS do offer an option for anti-aliasing (also called smoothing) in the Appearance control panel, but SmoothType offers more.
SmoothType Offers More Options Than Apple's Solution
Rather than settle for a single option to smooth all fonts, SmoothType first offers both 2-bit (4 different shades) or 4-bit (16 different shades) to match your needs. 4-bit looks better, but may slow things down on older systems. 2-bit doesn't look quite as nice, but is faster.
Also, rather than having all fonts smoothed, you can select to have either System, other, or both types of fonts smoothed. SmoothType offers more options (9 and 10 point) when you select a size above which smoothing will take place. SmoothType works with Mac OS 7 and above, and also works under the Classic Environment under OS X.
Become a smooth operator and check out SmoothType.
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John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at