Activating and Adjusting ClearType in Windows 8.1 - dummies

Activating and Adjusting ClearType in Windows 8.1

By Woody Leonhard

In Windows 8.1, Microsoft uses ClearType on the desktop but not on the tiled Metro Start screen, the Charms bar, or in any of the tiled Metro apps, whether they’re made by Microsoft or not. It isn’t available inside the tiled Metro Internet Explorer either. ClearType just isn’t an option.

Why? The theory goes that making type look good on the tiled side of the fence isn’t important enough to weigh down the computer.

ClearType, the proprietary Microsoft method of sharpening the appearance of text on a screen, has been a fix-up fixture of Windows for many years, since Windows XP. Simply put, ClearType gets the sharpest text possible out of just about every monitor made in the past ten years.

You can adjust ClearType so that it works best on your monitor under your lighting conditions. Just remember that ClearType doesn’t change anything inside the tiled Metro part of Windows: It’s the desktop only. Here’s how to run the ClearType Text Tuner:

  1. Right-click the Start screen in the lower-left corner of the screen to bring up the Power User Menu. Choose Control Panel.

    That puts you on the desktop inside Windows Control Panel.

  2. On the right, click Appearance and Personalization.

    You see the Appearance and Personalization dialog box.

  3. At the bottom, under Fonts, click the link to Adjust ClearType text.

    Windows brings up the ClearType Text Tuner.


  4. Ignore the comment about Pocket PC screens, select the check box marked Turn On ClearType, click Next, and go through the calibration steps.

    “Pocket PC” is the old name for Personal Digital Assistants that run the Windows Mobile Classic operating system, which is an operating system that has almost nothing in common with Windows itself. Microsoft dropped the name in 2007, shifting to Windows Mobile, which became Windows Phone, and then Windows Phone 8. Wonder how long it’ll take it to update this screen?