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ClearType is a trademark for Microsoft's implementation of subpixel rendering technology. ClearType attempts to improve the appearance of text on certain types of computer display screens by sacrificing color fidelity for additional intensity variation. This trade-off is asserted to work well on LCD flat panel monitors.

ClearType was first announced at the November 1998 COMDEX exhibition. The technology was first introduced in software in January 2000[1] as an always-on feature of Microsoft Reader, which was released to the public in August 2000. ClearType was later introduced as an operating system feature in Windows XP, where it was kept turned off by default. In Windows Vista and Windows 7, ClearType is turned on by default. In Microsoft Office 2007 and further versions, Internet Explorer 7 and further versions and Windows Live Messenger ClearType is also turned on by default, even if it is not enabled throughout the operating system. ClearType is also an integrated component of the Windows Presentation Foundation text-rendering engine.



Computer displays in which the positions of individual pixels are permanently fixed by the design of the hardware—such as most modern flat panel displays—can show saw-tooth edges when displaying small, high-contrast graphic elements such as text. ClearType uses anti-aliasing at the subpixel level to allegedly reduce visible artifacts on such displays when text is rendered, making the text appear "smoother" and less jagged. ClearType also uses very heavy font hinting to force the font to fit into the pixel grid. This increases edge contrast and readability of small fonts at the expense of font rendering fidelity and has been criticised by graphic designers for making different fonts look similar.

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