Font rendering is worse in IE9 than IE8 - by soumyasch

Status : 

  Won't Fix<br /><br />
		Due to several factors the product team decided to focus its efforts on other items.<br /><br />
		A more detailed explanation for the resolution of this particular item may have been provided in the comments section.

ID 542316 Comments
Status Closed Workarounds
Type Bug Repros 100
Opened 3/16/2010 10:41:05 AM
Duplicates 542438 542597 557041 557499 600016 642403 642675 648119 Access Restriction Public


DirectWrite rendered font is worse than GDI rendered font.  It feels like reading a screenshot that has been scaled down from its native resolution. See

And for light text on dark background, its headache-inducing terrible. See

As an aside, the same issue affects Firefox 3.7 preview with Direct2D/DirectWrite enabled.
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Posted by androidi on 8/6/2011 at 7:48 AM
Hello everyone. I finally found unOfficial Microsoft response to this, I won't copy the entire comment as it's long:

"Q: The default rendering for small fonts today does look worse unless the glyph is pixel aligned.

A: "... Pixel-aligned glyphs tend to look “sharper”, however, this results in uneven inter-character spacing, which has been shown to slow down reading times and accuracy for longer runs of text. Mark Lawrence [MSFT]"
Specifies that the rendering mode is determined automatically, based on the font and size.

However note the Community comment added! It's not enough to use GDI_CLASSIC rendering. Even if "DEFAULT" would set GDI_CLASSIC for sizes under 15, the layout would still be different. So IDWriteFactory::CreateGdiCompatibleTextLayout needs to be also used.

I would also like to refute MSFT's "slow down reading times and accuracy" data on the basis that reading time is slowed down much more by fuzzy text if the text is unreadable in the first place.

"Direct2D will automatically choose the primary monitor’s settings for the rendering settings, and by default it will use natural-width text layout."

That's pseudo-interesting. If you can change "primary monitor setting", you could force all D2D to use GDI_CLASSIC. Unfortunately since CreateGdiCompatibleTextLayout call is always needed to avoid the spacing issue this is a non-starter.
Posted by Andre.Ziegler on 7/9/2011 at 11:01 AM
install firefox 7.0 (currently Aurora channel) and you have a brilliant font with Direct2D.
Posted by Andre.Ziegler on 7/2/2011 at 3:25 PM
the update fixes nothing. It is still horrible to read. Why don't you include an option if the user wants? I 'm using a DLL which hooks the Direct2D calls and internally renders the font with DWRITE_RENDERING_MODE_CLEARTYPE_GDI_CLASSIC and not with this ugly blurry view. Now I have the brilliant and perfect view back and I have hardware accelerated graphic.
Posted by PC Guy on 7/1/2011 at 8:08 PM
Disappointing, as KB2545698 didn't fix anything as far as I can see.
Posted by androidi on 6/30/2011 at 9:59 PM
"A matter of fact is, you can't have best of both worlds here."

I'll amend that Making all font size under 15 use GDI 1:1 rendering should fix the problem satisfactorily atleast for those fonts where fuzziness issues are prevalent.
Posted by androidi on 6/30/2011 at 9:50 PM
I compared the particularly problematic cases and they are as fuzzy as ever when compared to IE8. So consider this "not fixed".

The particular examples provided on IEINTERNALS blog look slightly better (at expense of being much bolder) but there a many egregious cases completely unaffected by this "fix". A matter of fact is, you can't have best of both worlds here. At best you can code up some "fuzzy logic" that uses 1:1 GDI rendering when the display used is lower than 300 DPI.
Posted by Pidgeot on 6/29/2011 at 12:53 PM
@Maximilian: What's missing is the ability to turn it off completely.
Posted by Maximilian Haru Raditya on 6/29/2011 at 2:04 AM
Everyone, take a look for fix on this issue described in this post:

Or directly here:

I personally can sense an improvement after applying the fix. However, I still can sense something's missing with the fix, but not sure what it is.
Posted by NC72 on 5/23/2011 at 5:16 PM
This was the first time I've installed a newer version of IE, then uninstalled it right away because it was worse. The interesting thing is MS was very transparent about building IE9, but now they've clammed up about this. I guess it's back to silent mode for them.
Posted by JayConverse on 4/16/2011 at 11:14 AM
I installed IE9 when it was released, and uninstalled it 10 minutes later when I learned that Cleartype couldn't be turned off. Now I hear that IE9 is being pushed out by Windows update. I don't want it. Cleartype looks terrible, it always has.
Posted by Hokgiarto on 4/13/2011 at 6:32 AM
Update with Internet Explorer 10 Preview. Compare IE 8 vs IE 10 Preview. The font still blury in IE 10.
Posted by DS112233 on 3/30/2011 at 1:21 PM
I came across this. It's a wrapper for direct write that disables font smoothing. It works perfectly for me - no more fuzzy. All we need now is an IE option to do the same.
Posted by bdwhitney on 3/21/2011 at 5:38 PM
Bug ID 598107 is the other active thread on this issue here. This has NOT been fixed. On the other thread, people are of the conclusion that MS just needs to add the option for us to turn off cleartype font rendering in IE9. Compatibility mode does not make any difference for me, btw. I am on a desktop PC with a ViewSonic LCD in native 1280x1024 and a Dell LCD also in native 1280x1024 and IE9 fonts look absolutely horrible on both displays (I'm entering these comments using Chrome!). My display card on that system is a GeForce 8800 GT.    I should mention, I have two brand new HP laptops and IE9 looks great on both (thank goodness!)
Posted by PC Guy on 3/19/2011 at 9:58 AM
Please, could someone from the IE team provide a status on this issue? This was first reported on 3/16/2010, which is over a year ago now, and still not fixed in the IE9 release! There are 80 people in this bug report alone that can reproduce the issue, not counting the several other bug reports for the exact same issue. What's going on? I am now seeing more and more websites/blogs/etc that are reporting on the bad font rendering also, so obviously word is getting out more and more.

Additionally, compatibility mode (which I've had to enable for all sites due to this bug) renders better, but even that is still broken. You can have a site in compatibility mode, but need to either A) press ALT, B) Open Developer Tools, or C) Resize the window, to get fonts completely clear again.

Why was IE9 released with these obvious flaws? Please fix these, or at the very least, provide some sort of status update as to when a fix might be released.
Posted by John_Aramis on 3/18/2011 at 10:57 PM
I turned on my 13.3 laptop with 1366x768 LCD this morning, every text in IE9 looks clear now! Not sure what happend, but ClearType seems to work properly now. So just ignore my former post here.
Posted by John_Aramis on 3/17/2011 at 6:48 PM
I found the quality of text rendering in IE9 varys from moniter to moniter (all ClearType tuned), especially sub-pixel render enabled web pages.
My 12.1 laptop with 1440x900 LCD looks great, but another laptop with 13.3 1366x768 looks horrible.
Posted by Mike on 3/16/2011 at 8:38 PM
I had to uninstall IE9 and have blocked it from my machine due to this problem. It's quite a pity because I really want jscript9.dll.
Posted by No Chance Nine on 3/16/2011 at 9:22 AM
I have Compatibility View enabled for all websites.

When I resize my browser window in IE9, the text becomes very clear.

Example screenshots:

Picture 1 of 2 is before browser window resize. The text is blurry.

Picture 2 of 2 was taken after resizing the browser window. The text is very clear and easy to read. It looks like ClearType is off, although there does not seem any option to disable ClearType in IE9. I do wish to disable ClearType to have the next always be this clear without having to resize the browser window each time a webpage is opened.
Posted by unique_username on 3/16/2011 at 5:19 AM
Not fixed in the ie9 final release! I can't believe this bug made it to production without being fixed.

Sometimes it makes sense to move a ship date until you are ready... This was one of those cases.
Posted by Real McCoy on 3/15/2011 at 1:30 AM
Microsoft please solve this critical font-rendering issue and bundle it in the next update for IE9. Thanks in anticipation.
Posted by Cristian Ionescu on 3/15/2011 at 12:55 AM
NO it is NOT FIXED in the final IE9 version. Extremly dissapointed :(
Posted by etacarinae1 on 3/10/2011 at 3:42 PM
@vaibhavk1 I think what MSFT are saying is: We are aware of this problem, don't know how to fix it yet, and don't plan on fixing it for the March 14th release date. The RC is set in stone. *facepalm*
Posted by Maximilian Haru Raditya on 3/10/2011 at 12:40 AM

I think MS just accidentally resolved this bug as fixed, although they don't mean so and the fact doesn't speak so either (at least in RC, I have no idea about post-RC).
Posted by CodeDJ on 3/9/2011 at 10:18 AM
Not sure what you mean with the last comment. Have you resolved the bug post RC and we will see the fix in the RTM build? I have RC build and it still has the same issue. I believe VS2010 also uses sub-pixel rendering but the font on it is crisp.
Posted by Microsoft on 3/7/2011 at 5:33 PM
We have resolved this bug in error. Please ignore the previous message.

Best regards,

The Internet Explorer Team
Posted by Microsoft on 3/7/2011 at 5:25 PM
Thank you for your feedback.

This issue was resolved in Internet Explorer 9 RC and the Platform Preview Build released on 2/10/2011. Please verify the change and file a new feedback (or reactivate the existing one) if the problem persists.

Best regards,

The Internet Explorer Team
Posted by Microsoft on 3/7/2011 at 5:22 PM
Thank you for your feedback.

This issue was resolved in Internet Explorer 9 RC and the Platform Preview Build released on 2/10/2011. Please verify the change and file a new feedback (or reactivate the existing one) if the problem persists.

Best regards,

The Internet Explorer Team
Posted by Real McCoy on 2/28/2011 at 5:17 AM
IE-dev, please update the status of this critical issue!
Posted by taylor0987 on 2/23/2011 at 7:22 PM
I tried "Adjust ClearType Text" and it did not improve.
I tried Antialias settings in the Nvidia control panel and it did not improve.
Posted by Cristian Ionescu on 2/22/2011 at 2:47 AM
I have tried all Clear Type adjustments but fonts still look blurry and bad.
This is a real problem which needs to be fixed or at least there should be a way to disable it.
Posted by Alex D' on 2/21/2011 at 12:26 PM
In Windows 7, try to use "Adjust Clear Type". It affects also how DirectWrite display fonts. It helped me a lot
Posted by lonnie.mccullough on 2/17/2011 at 8:22 AM
Text does look really bad on IE9. The WPF guys have already gone through this....why do you guys keep re-writing your text rendering stacks?? The text is definitely a show stopper for is very hard to revel in the beauty of the web when text looks so incredibly blocky and awful. I have been clicking the compat view icon on nearly every site I visit.

Please provide a tuner or something we can use to configure DWrite's cleartype smoothing algorithm. IE9 is hard to look at in its current form. I have been a devoted IE user for a long time but this font rendering issue will definitely send me to Chrome quicker than even the most horrific CSS incompatibility.
Posted by Xentrax [Vyacheslav Lanovets] on 2/12/2011 at 1:29 PM
I cannot believe my eyes: Safari for Windows displays much less blurred font than IE9 RC.
Posted by cksgk8 on 2/11/2011 at 9:08 AM
Font rendering is fine for plenty of sites. However, there are a good number of sites (like Youtube) where the text clarity is absolutely terrible. I would like to point out that WPF 3.0 had this problem, people complained, and nothing was done in WPF 3.5. And this partly caused the low uptake of WPF over winforms. It wasn't until 4.0 where people at MS finally realized that there are many instances where users want accuracy sacrificed for clarity. This is fairly recent history, so learn from it! If you ignore this problem just like the WPF team did, people aren't magically going to stop being annoyed. They will be reminded that IE 9 text sucks when they compare it to ANY OTHER WINDOWS PROGRAM THAT BRINGS UP A WINDOW WITH TEXT ON IT!!!

Secondly, I would like to say that as a Windows user, I DONT WANT MAC FONT RENDERING TO BE THE DEFAULT FOR ANY APPLICATION!!! If Windows ever made this style of font rendering an unchangeable default for the operating system, I would switch to linux in less then 2 hours. And I really dont' like linux. And I am angry because there are people inside Microsoft pushing this heavily against the will of developers and users alike. Don't push this on us like Apple pushes it on their users.
Posted by Maximilian Haru Raditya on 2/10/2011 at 12:32 PM
Still no changes in IE9 RC. Reading blurry text in a website isn't a really fun user experience.

I hope this will be fixed.
Posted by DAOWAce on 12/5/2010 at 2:25 PM
I just installed the beta. I'm uninstalling it after I finish typing this.

I use a CRT. The font is incredibly blurry no matter what site I've visited. This is exactly why I haven't upgraded to Windows 7, because I can't turn clear type off properly.

Microsoft, people still use CRTs and classic features in your operating systems. STOP removing them. STOP changing accessibility features. And most importantly, LISTEN to your customers.

PS: I seriously have a headache just from the 5 minutes I've spent searching for a way to turn ClearType off in IE9. My eyes really hurt now after re-reading what I've typed.
Posted by 4fields on 11/28/2010 at 4:38 AM
Microsoft: If you are going to make a fuzzy font the default in IE9, please make an option for web developers to turn it off, because seriously this fuzzy font is not cool at all.

FYI I avoid Visual Studio 2010 because I dont like the fuzzy font there, after messing with the anti-alias it was better, but I still would stick with GDI anyday over the font's in IE9 or Visual Studio 2010
Posted by Vladimir Nicolici on 11/2/2010 at 10:22 AM
Fuzzy/blurry text is the main reason I gave up using an Apple Macbook, and switched back to a Windows laptop.

It really hurts the eyes, because the text seems out of focus, and my eyes constantly try to focus on the blurry text.

I was even dizzy when I stood up after a a long session with the mac.

Please don't be evil like Apple, and give us back the non-blurry text.
Posted by Solal Pirelli on 9/29/2010 at 1:40 AM
Please, IE team, ask the WPF team how they managed to fix this.
I won't use a browser that displays horrible text, even with all the improvements you made.
And I don't think people will be happy to install IE9 and see all their favorite websites with ugly text.
On my GeForce 8800 GTS, white on black text is nearly unreadable in IE9...
Posted by thenonhacker on 9/24/2010 at 7:43 AM
You should see how it renders 8pt Tahoma in

I mean, seriously, the straight lines in the fonts are even blurry.

Not a problem with Verdana 8pt though.
Posted by soumyasch on 9/23/2010 at 1:02 PM
Seriously, you guys still have not nailed it. It makes sites totally unusable. See

And provide an option for GDI-equivalent text rendering, even if device independent rendering is set as default.
Posted by Maximilian Haru Raditya on 9/22/2010 at 11:45 AM
Will this be fixed in the future release? It really hurts my eyes :(. I also think this could be the same issue encountered with VS2010 and WPF 4 rendering, before it got fixed in BETA 2.

I do really hope this will be fixed.

Posted by broccauley on 9/21/2010 at 2:04 PM
My eyes really hurt when using the IE9 beta - something definitely needs to be done!

An intelligent solution to this problem would be to factor in the user's display DPI. Users that have the standard 96 DPI display should be shown the standard Windows 7 GDI-style ClearType rendering for smaller point sizes, and the smoothed DirectWrite-style rendering for larger point sizes. Users with high DPI displays should only see the new DirectWrite smoothing.

This will make the transition to high-DPI displays smooth.
Posted by thenonhacker on 9/20/2010 at 5:34 PM
IE Team: Here is a screenshot:

Make IE9 use the Windows 7 ClearType, for sharper, crisper fonts even in small sizes.
Posted by NumbStill on 9/18/2010 at 1:00 AM
And, of course, simply almost everything that comes up in this search -
Posted by NumbStill on 9/18/2010 at 12:59 AM
Please, close all of these issues as duplicates -

People should be clicking on the "I can too" only on this bug.
Posted by Av8rboi on 9/17/2010 at 4:18 AM
one more duplicate feedback #600175
Posted by ysitu on 9/16/2010 at 7:42 PM
I do not think that pixel boundary snapping is always necessary to achieve crisp text with DirectWrite. When I played with Firefox 4.0b1, I set the rendering mode using the Anti-aliasing Tuner add-on to DWRITE_RENDERING_MODE_CLEARTYPE_NATURAL_SYMMETRIC for all text sizes, and small texts remained crisp after other rendering parameters (contrast, ClearType level, etc.) were carefully tuned. That showed that DirectWrite's ClearType filtering algorithm itself is good, but its default parameters are bad.

As a matter of fact, no one single set of rendering parameters can be suitable to everybody. What is wonderful to one person can be terrible to another person. That is why the ClearType tuner (for GDI) was introduced. Now the same thing, i.e., a ClearType tuner, should be created for DirectWrite. The user should have the ultimate say on what pleases his/her eyes.
Posted by Pavel Minaev [MSFT] on 9/16/2010 at 6:05 PM
It's a good point about web typography, though it's arguable whether it's a reasonable default. It seems that vast majority of websites today use relatively small font sizes to pack more content, and that is precisely what gets hurt most by this.

Anyway... In WPF 4 the default is also "ideal layout" (where there's no snapping of vertical lines to pixels, which is what gives ClearType its sharpness), though that is probably for back-compat purposes. In any case, individual XAML pages can specify that they want ClearType-like sharp rendering by specifying a property:

    <Page TextOptions.TextFormattingMode="Display">...</Page>

It would be nice to have a corresponding <meta> for IE so that those who need ideal layout can opt-in, and the rest can continue to provide the sharp, clear rendering that us Windows users have grown accustomed to.

But at the basic level, I could definitely live with ideal layout being the default for anything, so long as there is a switch to just disable it once and for all in IE options.
Posted by ysitu on 9/16/2010 at 3:00 PM
Setting something like DWRITE_MEASURING_MODE_GDI_CLASSIC will very likely ruin the Text Size/Justification Animated demos, on the test drive site with which Microsoft has advertised IE9's advances in web typography.

Up till Firefox 4.0b1 there was an add-on that uses IDWriteFactory::CreateCustomRenderingParams to allow users to control DirectWrite's font rendering in Firefox. The results were very impressive. IE9, or Windows, needs to have something like that. It is basically the equivalent of Windows 7's built-in ClearType tuner in the land of DirectWrite. Now that we can have one of GDI, why can't we have one also for DirectWrite?
Posted by Pavel Minaev [MSFT] on 9/16/2010 at 12:39 PM
Also note that some sites "look fantastic" because they render in compatibility view _by default_. An example of such is, indeed, Connect, so you see classic ClearType rendering on it (or close to it, anyway). In general, pay attention to the address bar - if you see the "torn page" compat view icon displayed there, then page declares itself as standards-compliant (via DOCTYPE etc), and it seems that DWrite is used for those pages unless you switch to compat, giving the "blurry text" effect. If you do not see the "torn page", then page is rendered in compat mode by default, so you don't see blurry text.

E.g. for Connect I assume compat is enabled by default because it explicitly declares <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=7" />.
Posted by Pavel Minaev [MSFT] on 9/16/2010 at 12:33 PM
I've already posted this in another similar ticket, but this seems to be the most upvoted one. It would be good to redirect all others here so that we can have a single discussion thread and vote count. Now, as to the problem itself...

It's due to the way DirectWrite renders fonts. It seems that compatibility view, among other things, changes font renderer from DirectWrite to GDI? At least it starts looking differently on _any_ website. To give a very simple example, go to and scroll down to "Site News", then switch compatibility view on and off while observing the text. It's very prominent.

It's not exactly new, either. It was reported as a bug for Visual Studio 2010 (and fixed for final release):

Then Valve hit the same problem with their new Steam client. In their case, they left DWrite rendering on by default, but after numerous complaints, they've added a checkbox to options that would disable it:

It _can_ be fixed. As noted above, this was already done for VS2010 and WPF 4. Specifically, ClearType-like rendering can be achieved with DWrite/D2D by passing DWRITE_MEASURING_MODE_GDI_CLASSIC to ID2D1RenderTarget::DrawTextW().
Posted by byronm on 9/16/2010 at 5:59 AM
Many websites (such as connect) look fantastic, however sites like Facebook look blurry/washed out & fuzzy
Posted by cksgk8 on 9/15/2010 at 1:40 PM
I have noticed this is mostly an issue when fonts are bolded. Normal text seems ok.
Posted by NickG on 8/18/2010 at 8:03 AM
I'm also noticing that even in the latest platform preview (4) that fonts (especially at smaller sizes) look really bad now. They actually look like they've been blurred. For a while I thought my TFT monitor timings had gone wrong so started trying to adjust my screen. It happens on almost any website at font sizes less than about 12px.

Oddly, *some* larger fonts actually look better in IE9 as it seems to use anti-aliasing a bit more than the old font-renderer. However this does not make up for the fact that smaller fonts look worse.
Posted by florin_1 on 8/12/2010 at 9:55 PM
this is the most important thing to fix. i don't know what you are thinking but the text is _not usable_ for productivity.
Posted by soumyasch on 6/23/2010 at 8:56 PM
And in PP3. Come on, this is turning out to be a dealbreaker.
Posted by Marcin Śmiałek on 5/28/2010 at 8:01 AM
The fonts look terrible in preview 2. I thought my netbook display got damaged, but then I checked the same site with IE8 and other browsers and the fonts looked ok, as well as in other Windows programs. This computer has Intel graphics without any fancy features. With so poor text sharpness, this browser will be unusable.
Can you make the fonts look ok, and also in pivot mode? Don't scale them linearly, but use hints.
Posted by soumyasch on 5/5/2010 at 9:40 AM
The problem exists in Preview 2 too.
Posted by ruben.nesvadba on 5/4/2010 at 2:37 AM
In the light of this bug you should also examine the font rendering (of small letters) on the search results page of
Posted by infinte on 4/8/2010 at 5:41 AM
This Problem is related with anisotropic filtering, 0AF presents the best clearity.
My advice:
0~20px 0AF
20px~50px 4AF
>50px : 16AF
Posted by Anonymous12702 on 4/8/2010 at 5:27 AM
Get a high DPI display and hope that web authors will stop defining font sizes in pixel.
Posted by Sushovan De on 3/23/2010 at 11:02 PM
Here are some more pictures that show the difference between IE8 and IE9. My AA settins are all set to "Application controlled", so Sven's workaround does not apply.

Please do fix this.
Posted by Lambros Vasiliou on 3/23/2010 at 2:32 PM
I am using x32 AA on my GPU and this clearly reflects in IE9. The text is super smooth but seems like the font weight is +200
Posted by ysitu on 3/20/2010 at 12:06 AM
I seriously doubt that this issue can be resolved by the IE team alone. It has more to do with DirectWrite rather than IE. Glyphs rendered by DirectWrite look so similar to those produced by Silverlight. And Silverlight's font rasterizer is crap.

Both DirectWrite and Silverlight trade too much contrast for smoothness when it comes to large font sizes but stick to the old GDI way of thinking for small font sizes. Yet that simply does not solve the problem (and introduces more problems). In fact, Microsoft knows how to do font rendering right—just look at the screenshots in <> and <>—except that it does not always push the right technology to users. It seems that the multiple font teams working on different APIs at Microsoft are totally disconnected and do not know about sharing wisdom. The WPF team gets it right (merely judging by the screenshots in the pages linked above), while the DirectWrite and Silverlight teams apparently lost their judgment.

The unfortunate thing about DirectWrite is that it is a released API and will probably stay the way it is due to Microsoft's dogged pursuit for backward compatibility. IE9 just is not heavyweight enough to move the doctrine. This is unlike the font stack in .NET 4.0, which can be evolved as development of VS 2010 progresses.
Posted by broccauley on 3/18/2010 at 8:01 AM
I agree. The Direct 2D looks great for large fonts, however, for small fonts and normal-sized body text the Direct 2D rendering is horrible and hard to read - the Windows 7 ClearType is superior for normal-sized fonts, and I was relieved to switch back to normal browser using Win 7 ClearType font rendering after using the IE9 preview.
Posted by florin_1 on 3/17/2010 at 12:36 PM
#1 issue to me is that the text appears lighter and more blurry. Try any Arial text at <font size=-1>
Posted by Amtiskaw on 3/17/2010 at 4:03 AM
Could be the same issue the WPF team have just fixed?
Posted by Adam [MSFT] on 3/16/2010 at 3:21 PM
Thank you for your feedback. We were able to reproduce the issue and will be investigating this.

Best regards,

The IE Team
Posted by sandlerb on 3/16/2010 at 10:54 AM
This was the first thing I noticed. Font size dropped, kerning is terrible, particularly with Georgia. Verdana is closer to what it is supposed to be. Anti-aliasing is making letters like "i" not come in as black, but as a lighter color. There is no reason to anti-alias a straight line.