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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors System 10.6
There is a bug in Snow Leopard that disables LCD (sub-pixel) font smoothing on many third party LCD displays, including models from Dell, Samsung, LG, HP, EIZO, and Lenovo. Here are the details:

Snow Leopard introduces simplified Font Smoothing options under the Appearance pane in System Preferences. Prior to Snow Leopard, the available options were:
  • Automatic - Best for Main Display
  • Standard - Best for CRT
  • Light
  • Medium - Best for Flat Panel
  • Strong
In Snow Leopard, you can only choose between Automatic and Standard CRT. Since few people use CRTs these days, most users now have only one option: Automatic. The problem with the Automatic option is that OS X incorrectly detects many third party LCD monitors as CRTs, and consequently, disables LCD font smoothing.

You can force OS X to use LCD font smoothing on all displays with this Terminal command:
defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2
The number 2 here corresponds to Medium - Best for Flat Panel. You may also use 1 for light smoothing, and 3 for strong smoothing, as per the original OS X font smoothing options.
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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors | 31 comments | Create New Account
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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: mjvdvlugt on Aug 31, '09 01:14:02PM

I've noticed Quicklook not smoothing my pdf's correctly anymore. Going full-screen does give me nice anti-aliasing. Unfortunately this command doesn't seem to fix this for me. How can I go back to default?



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: vultu on Aug 31, '09 05:41:06PM

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

Font smothing was working in my Dell monitor, but the font color was almost gray, with this tip I got back to have the same I had in Leopard.

THANK YOU!



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: astrosmash on Sep 01, '09 10:24:44AM

The setting won't affect applications that are already running; it only affects new applications. Since Finder and QuickLook are always running, you should log out and back in to restore proper font smoothing in Quick Look.

You can always go into the System Preferences and set it back to "Automatic Font Smoothing", but you won't want to do that unless you use a CRT monitor.



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: Jaws1 on Aug 31, '09 07:22:17PM

I assume this overides the setting for the whole system, not just the problem external monitor (when plugged in)? If I wanted to revert, what was the original setting? Thanks!



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: astrosmash on Sep 01, '09 10:19:33AM

The setting affects all monitors connected to the system. So, for example, if it is set to "Automatic" and you have an external monitor connected to your MacBook, you will lose LCD font smoothing on both your external and internal displays.

If you never use a CRT monitor, you should set it to "2 - Best for LCD Display". To set it back to Automatic go in the System Preferences and select "Automatic Font Smoothing" checkbox.



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: garnet4 on Nov 16, '09 07:16:00PM

Thanks a million!! Your tip helped me solve my issue. On my non-Apple monitor, I could get clear fonts now.

-jc

Edited on Nov 16, '09 07:16:25PM by garnet4



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: jason.williams on Jan 14, '10 10:58:50AM

So I am having the same issue. Seems really bad on my Dell 24" Ultrasharp monitors.

Now, I do use 4 monitors for my setup.

When making this change, does it work across all monitors? Seems like it doesnt, but not sure.

Is there a planned fix for this?

Thanks.



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: kirkmc on Apr 26, '10 07:01:15AM

The problem with the Dell is that it has its own sharpness setting. I just plugged in an Apple 24" Cinema Display that I have on loan - I'm used to a Dell 24" - and the fonts are much sharper than the Dell. It's hard to get a good font display, let alone colors, with the Dell.

---
Read my blog: Kirkville -- http://www.mcelhearn.com
Musings, Opinion and Miscellanea, on Macs, iPods and more



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: mstzhan on Jan 25, '10 08:51:28PM

Hi,

On my Snow Leopard 10.6.2, I cannot find the option Automatic or Standard in System Preferences->Appearance. Did Apple fix this bug?

How can we get back to the system default if I follow the command line?



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: luxmaior on Jan 28, '10 01:32:35PM

Apple might have fixed the bug in 10.6.1 or 10.6.2, but I couldn't find anything specific about it in the release notes (I didn't check thoroughly though). In System Preferences->Appearance I get a checkbox that says 'Use LCD font smoothing when available', with no other options. I'm using 10.6.2, Acer & LG flat panels, ATI 4870, Early 2008 MacPro.

My guess would be that by checking this box, you'll get the default settings back.



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You can add Asus Monitors
Authored by: luiwallentin on Jan 28, '10 09:34:16AM

This really saved my day. Ever since I got my wonderful MacBook Pro, I've been getting gray hairs because my external monitor from Asus (vw198T) just looked kinda crappy. But this tip just worked. Now all is good, and I'm a very happy camper :-)

Thank you very very much



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: jrepenning on Jan 28, '10 06:30:33PM
Looks like many third party LCD displays includes my Apple 30" Cinema HD (2560x1600, aluminum bezel). At least, this tip seems to have cured some really icky font rendering/smoothing. Thanks for that!

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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: boltasu on Feb 08, '10 01:22:14PM

Thank YOU !!!! God bless U, and my eyes !! The way that Apple renders fonts is killing me :)



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The bug is still there (10.6.2)
Authored by: Stakker on Mar 05, '10 01:10:02AM

I just got a big fat new Eizo, and for a second thought that either my eyes have gone blurry or something's not right with the monitor... Thank you so much for posting this fix!

Interestingly, Safari did use sub-pixel rendering while everything else (Mail, Finder) not.



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: Patrixes on Mar 08, '10 03:36:14AM

Hi,

I tried to change font smoothing according to your instruction. After I typed in the command, I could not go into 'Appearance' menu under 'System Preferences.' I tried to repair disk with OS X installer DVD without success. Do you have an idea to reactivate the 'Appearance' menu? I am using OS 10.6.2.



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Undo AppleFontSmoothing LCD font smoothing
Authored by: blinkintosser on May 26, '10 09:16:10PM

I just upgraded from three CRTs to three Dell U2410 LCDs and could not believe how poor the text looked on the LCDs in comparison to my old CRTs. Though I can not understand why Apple would take away the old light-medium-strong prefpane menu, I am very grateful that this hint restores that functionality to activate proper sub-pixel rendering on the LCDs. Five stars for this one.

Should anyone need to remove the preference, restoring the default, use:

defaults -currentHost delete -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing

And to read the current value (a “…does not exist” error indicates the setting has been properly removed from the global domain):

defaults -currentHost read -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing


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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: aiyagari on May 28, '10 10:29:04AM

Yes, this worked for me too. Dell 20" external monitor. Never going to be as good as a Cinema display, but much better than before.



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: tromano on Sep 22, '10 01:17:15PM

OH MY GOD. How can i give you a very giant big kiss? I thought I was going slowly insane or blind when i upgraded to snow leopard, and it i seemed like my fonts were all screwed up. now i know that this is just a stupid setting. I have an external samsung monitor. the bummer is that it appears that it carries over when i disconnect the monitor and use the laptop. hopefully this fixes that too???



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: gadgetdoctor on Nov 28, '10 07:39:59AM

I can see clearly now the rain has gone!!!!

I will add my voice: this is a great hint!



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: finferflu on Dec 12, '10 05:34:17AM

Thanks! I've been looking for this solution forever, it was driving me insane! Thank you!



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: spon on Feb 02, '11 06:13:50AM

Hi im on 10.6.5/Mac Pro/Nvidia gt8800
when entering command
terminal returns: Unexpected argument Smoothing; leaving defaults unchanged.
A.am I entering the command correctly?
please advise
B.Has this been fixed since the original post?
C should I leave Use LCD font smoothing when available checked?
I was using dell 2407 for years with no prob
since using dell u2410 have noticed something odd/different about text
any advice on this matter would be much appreciated
Thanks Spon



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: finferflu on Feb 02, '11 06:29:09AM

Hi,
You should post here what you typed in the terminal and the output you got exactly as it is, i.e. copy-paste it here.



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: MacUser06 on Feb 09, '11 02:23:19AM
Hello. I have got a lot of good tips here, but this is something I definitively would never ever had figured out by myself. Best Tip Ever

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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: Erland on Jun 14, '11 05:58:51PM
God bless you! Oh, why I find it so late... THANK YOU

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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: Erland on Jun 14, '11 06:03:30PM
...I forgot. It works perfectly on my NEC Display MultiSync PA271W. OS X 10.6.7

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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: sunzoom on Jul 08, '11 03:17:06AM

I've got the same problem with HP LP2475w monitor. It really looks awful with native resolution and it seems that it really is only the text that is blurry, almost unreadable. I typed the above string into the Terminal but nothing happened. I wonder if I'm doing something wrong? Aren't I just supposed to copy the whole thing and paste it to terminal. I entered the 'read' command and it seems to be set at 2, which should be softened font setting but it's still the same. I'm running 10.6, and connected via HDMI.



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Thank You!
Authored by: poch333 on Sep 15, '11 07:43:46AM

This is one of the best tips around! In my case the smoothing was too strong on a non-apple LCD, and this fixed it.

Greatest tip ever!



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: johnlaufenberg on Oct 17, '11 01:41:52PM

I know this is a 10.6 topic, but does this problem continue with Lion?



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: macminilion on Oct 26, '11 07:39:36AM

Yes, I just used this command to successfully restore proper font smoothing on OS X Lion 10.7.2.

(defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2)

I'm using a LG Flatron E2260 22" monitor connected to a Mac mini 2.3GHz (mid 2011 model) via the included HDMI to DVI adapter. Everything now looks great!



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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: Erland on Nov 02, '11 05:02:01AM
I also experimented with various settings: system default settings, completely disabled, "1", "2" . I chose a value "2", after a long hesitation:
defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2
On Lion it's more application-basis. For one application is more suitable value "1", for other value "2". Finally, I stick with a value "2" as most suitable and universal for my NEC Display MultiSync PA271W on OS X Lion 10.7.2.

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10.6: Re-enable LCD font smoothing for some monitors
Authored by: xyberpix on Dec 12, '11 11:15:58AM

Thank you so much for this one, I almost sold my Dell U2410 before stumbling upon this hint. I literally had the monitor listed on eBay last night!

Thank you, thank you!!



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