I've just installed Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 onto my Windows XP to evaluate it and check whether it meets my preferences the way it did before. Okay, I've temporary defeated an urgent bug with a strange workaround (I could not open any file from the Solution Explorer), and it left bad memories to me. But however, it's okay.

The first thing I've seen just opening the code editor was ClearType font rendering. Wow, so unexpectedly. I must note that I do not use standard Windows rendering techniques, but I still prefer GDI++, a font renderer developed by Japanese developers. (GDI++ allows to render the fonts in Mac/Win-Safari style over entire Windows.) Personally for me, GDI++ reaches the great font-rendering results allowing me to use the Dejavu Sans Mono font with really nice smoothing in Visual Studio 2008 (VS 2005 too, though VS 2005 crashes in this case).

But GDI++ cannot affect Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 text editor - it uses ClearType (right?), and it does not care about the system font smoothing settings. It could be an editor based on WPF, right? So as far as I can see, I can't use GDI++ anymore because it uses Windows GDI(+) but no WPF?

So I've got several questions:

  1. Is it possible to disable VS 2010 b2 built-in ClearType or override it with another font smoother?
  2. Is it possible to install a Safari-like font renderer for Visual Studio 2010 [betas]?

Thanks a lot.

long time update: http://code.google.com/p/gdipp/issues/detail?id=37

  • It's a good question. Did you ask technical support on Microsoft? There's an option on Visual Studio 2010 to send a feedback. They can get in touch with you and take a look at this font issue. Feb 9 '10 at 0:12
  • Hm... You know... I have never sent any feedbacks to Microsoft or even to the Visual Studio development team, because I always found solutions at forums, etc. Sure, thank you for the advice. Also I must note that ClearType (and I dislike it's rendering style) cannot be disabled in VS 2010 Beta 2 (it's considered a bug), but I'm not sure. Thank you, I'll try to give the feedback. :) Feb 9 '10 at 8:49
  • I'm also a fan of GDI++ hack, but after using it with VS2010 I also discovered that GDI++ create a lot of bugs while trying to debug an application on VS. Bugs like 'dll is missing' when trying to start debugging are caused if GDI++ is loaded, even if you set it to ignore VS2010 application.
    – RHaguiuda
    Oct 29 '10 at 13:45
  • @RHaguiuda: Yeah, GDI++ is a great tool, but unfortunately it's not supported anymore. However there is the gdipp project that is somewhat reincarnation of GDI++, I didn't use it (tried just to configure - configured some light parody to ClearType [I'm a bad tuner], and that's all). gdipp does not work properly at Windows XP, but I didn't test it at Windows 7. Anyway, WPF, that VS2010 is built upon, uses another rasterizer, right? Perhaps, there is no any way to resolve this problem. I really hate ClearType. :( Oct 29 '10 at 15:52
  • I'm downloaded and start using GDIPP. It's a little bit different from GDI++ but it does not interfere in VS2010 debugging like GDI++. I'm pretty happy with it.
    – RHaguiuda
    Oct 29 '10 at 19:20

The Visual Studio 2010 shell is based on WPF, it uses the WPF font rendering engine instead of GDI, so you can't use GDI++ with it.

I have to admit I'm not a great fan of WPF, I know the WPF rendering is the correct way (with sub-pixel positioning, Y direction anti-aliasing and so on) but personally I prefer the old plain GDI.

The first time I saw VS2010 I thought "oh this is horrible I can't believe noticed this". But it turned out ClearType was disabled in the test virtual machine, and because of that WPF reverted to gray-scale anti-aliasing and everything looked horrible.

After a quick Google search I found the following article about text rendering in WPF:


If ClearType is enabled in Windows, WPF uses ClearType, if it's disabled WPF uses Grayscale fall back anti-aliasing, which is much blurrier. So I turned on ClearType, set the fonts one size larger and now everything looks much better. (although it takes time to get used to it)

  • Yes, I have already digged into it before too, and I see that WPF uses another text rendering mechanism - so GDI++ might be thrown out for VS2010. However, GDI++ is able to rerender possibly all windows but not editor windows, and it's somewhat strange. Perhaps there any hacks on it, but it's totally another story. Thank you for reply and efforts helping to clarify the situation. :) Feb 17 '10 at 8:09

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