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I'm using a Macbook Air. If I start Sublime Text with no external displays and then attach the display everything looks fine.

But, if I attach the display first and then start Sublime Text the text is less vivid and sharp on both the external display and the Macbook display.

Left is what the text looks like when I plug in the display after starting Sublime Text. Right is what it looks like when I plug in the display first.


Details: Macbook Air w/ OSX 10.7.2
Sublime Text 2 Beta 2165
Acer 24 inch display model X233HZ

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I found the answer in the Sublime text forums here:

This fix worked for me.

I did some more digging on this and it turns out it has something to do with how OSX renders fonts for certain LCD monitors. I was experiencing this with my MacBook Air when attached to a Samsung LCD monitor. However, there was no issue when just using the Macbook Air on it's own or with my Apple Cinema Display.

Here is what I did to fix it. Run the following code in Terminal:

defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2

Then restart your system. Once OSX booted up again, the problem was gone. You can read more about this here:

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Did you scale your screenshots in the question? Both sides look smoothed. – Daniel Beck Jan 25 '12 at 19:27

I've tested this for you on my iMac with both external monitor and no external monitor and I could not replicate the problem. I would possibly say that it has something to do with the graphics chip on the air struggling to render the application correctly. As you Macbook air needs to render your laptop screen plus the 24inch screen.

Also Sublime uses hardware rendering as opposed to software rendering as shown on their website.

Software rendering. Sublime Text uses hardware rendering, while X uses software rendering. This eliminates the single biggest source of user problems with Sublime Text, and preserves full functionality when running under a virtual machine.

Hope this helps.

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Maybe different color profiles, and Sublime uses the one selected for the external screen? – Daniel Beck Jan 25 '12 at 13:17
The problem seemed to be OSX disabling font smoothing for some external monitors. I posted the fix I found as an answer. – Chandler Jan 25 '12 at 19:21

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