How to Get Mac or Linux-Like Font Rendering on Windows

Joel Lee 10-12-2015

Without a doubt, fonts look much better on Mac (and even Linux) than on Windows. For some reason, Microsoft is adamant about clinging to their failed ClearType rendering system, but it’s users like you and me who have to suffer for it How To Make Windows Fonts Look Like Mac Fonts Eye candy is not a Windows forte. Modern UI (aka Metro) brought improvements, but still lacks in one important area: fonts. We show you how you can get beautiful font smoothing on Windows. Read More .


What’s wrong with the fonts on Windows? They’re too skinny, too frail, and frankly hard on the eyes for long periods of time. Obviously this is a subjective judgment. If you like Windows fonts, then keep at it!


But for those of you who prefer the softer, fuller, and more mature look of Mac or Linux font rendering, then there’s a way to get it: install MacType. (The website is a bit outdated, so install the latest version using the Chocolatey package manager Chocolatey: Install Windows Programs From a Command Line Read More if you can.)

As far as I can tell, it works just fine on Windows 10 with the exception of a several Microsoft products, like the Office Suite and Visual Studio. Make sure to launch MacType — preferably in service mode — and choose whichever preset looks best to you.



In order to get MacType working with Chrome, navigate to chrome://flags in the address bar and search for these settings:

  • Enable #disable-direct-write
  • Enable #disable-one-copy
  • Disable #enable-gpu-rasterization

Reboot your computer and your fonts should look much better. Note that MacType assumes that ClearType is enabled How To Make Text Easier To Read In Windows Most of us spend hours reading on the computer every day, but our computers probably aren’t optimized for reading. The text on our monitors may not be sharp enough or may be too small, especially... Read More on your system.

What do you think of MacType? Have you had much success with it? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Image Credit: C Source Code by MaIII Themd via Shutterstock

Related topics: Fonts, Windows Customization.

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  1. BJ
    December 16, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    If you find the text on your Windows screen at all difficult to read I think the better option is to use the "Adjust ClearType text" utility built into Windows.

    • Joel Lee
      December 23, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      ClearType isn't necessarily hard to read, but aesthetically unpleasant for some people. Adjusting ClearType is useful when the settings are off, but it doesn't change the fact that ClearType itself aims for an ugly ideal. (Again, purely subjective.)

  2. Sais
    December 11, 2015 at 5:25 am

    “it’s failed”? Really?

  3. np
    December 11, 2015 at 5:04 am

    If you like BIG, THICK, BLURRY, soft-edged, color fringing fonts whose sub-pixel elements are intentionally exposed to human vision, then by all means, stick with Mac or Linux defaults.

    If on the other hand, you like to work with small text in order to be more efficient with screen real estate, or have **good or hawk like vision** e.g. you can read small text from afar, or just plain like LASER SHARP pixel-aligned fonts, then Windows is and has been by far the best choice.

    I use Linux and *nix since the mid '90s. I don't wear or need glasses, and I also code and use small text therefore I must always adjust the defaults and do some configuration. In fact I always try to use bitmap fonts whenever I can, old school style, in terminals and vi because of the pixel grid accuracy without blurring caused by anti-aliasing.

    Window's True Type byte code interpreter embeds actual code per font designed by the author of the font that is used to adjust the curves to properly align with pixel grid. This gives TT vector with good byte code laser sharp text similar to bitmap fonts (necessary with small text). Clear Type also does the same to a lesser degree but with unavoidable anti-aliasing. Linux's autohinter is designed to adjust the curves to be too big and fat unfortunately.

  4. Anonymous
    December 11, 2015 at 3:13 am no longer exists.

    And this post was an old post from 2014, re-published, it seems.

  5. Alan Zisman
    December 11, 2015 at 12:22 am

    I installed the Chocolatey Package Manager from the link in the article - restarted the command prompt and typed in 'choco install mactype' as indicated; I got an 'exception error' followed by a popup from Panda antivirus that it had removed the virus 'chocolate.exe'.

  6. Ashutosh
    December 10, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Thank you. Works fine on Chrome and many other apps. How I wish Microsoft would just drop ClearType/DirectWrite and switch to FreeType!

    • Joel Lee
      December 15, 2015 at 4:57 am

      You're welcome! Glad it worked for you. And yeah, I wish they'd move on from ClearType too.

  7. Anonymous
    December 10, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    "Without a doubt, fonts look much better on Mac (and even Linux) than on Windows."
    When did this happen?! For years "lousy font rendering" has been one of the major complaints dyed-in-the-wool Window Fans have had about Linux.

    • Anonymous
      December 11, 2015 at 2:55 am

      As soon as I saw the headline for this article that was the first thing I thought too.

      Being an at least sometime Linux fan I have been aware of the work being done to improve font rendering in Linux, it appears to have paid off.

    • Joel Lee
      December 15, 2015 at 4:54 am

      I'm guessing it was a more recent thing. I'm not a hardcore Linux guy and I'm not good with history, but with projects like Infinality, fonts actually look pretty darn good on Linux these days.

  8. Anonymous
    December 10, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    I've no complaints with ClearType, and to say "it's failed" is quite humorous: Ten million copies of Windows 10 (which includes it) have been installed.

    If anything, there's a failure to publicize the ClearType Tuner, which would improve everyone's fonts.

    I've been using Font Smoothing since the monochrome version was made available to Windows 95, and, properly tuned, it works quite well. Like you said, your complaint is 100% subjective.

    • Joel Lee
      December 15, 2015 at 4:56 am

      Yup, font rendering (and all graphical components for anything everywhere) is subjective. Of the 10 million copies of Windows 10 installed, how many people installed *because* of ClearType? Some, but not many. I'm willing to bet that most Windows users don't even know that non-ClearType renderings even exist.