Basically, I press the "A" shaped button in paint to type text, it looks clear.

I press outside the box, and the text becomes more blurry/pixelated.

Is there a way to resolve this while not having to replace MS Paint with another program?



Campbell Wray was close.

The only way you would see that effect in Paint, is if you were zoomed in > 1:1. If you click on the "View" tab and then click on "100%", then typed text will appear exactly while typing, as when done typing...Cleartype anti-aliasing and all. If you zoom in, say by clicking "Zoom in" three times, you'll clearly see the rainbow-colored clear-type anti-aliasing. (If you have that enabled as it is by default since Vista. Otherwise you'll just see bigger jaggies.)

While zoomed in that far (400% I think), if you try adding text now, it will look clear and sharp while typing. Then when done, all jaggy and alias-ey and clear-type-ey.

It's the fundamental concept of a bitmap or raster image. When you zoom in to 200%, every pixel in the image will be represented by four actual screen pixels (in a 2x bigger square). 400% = 16x more screen pixels per bitmap pixel, for a 4x bigger square. And so on. Paint just isn't sophisticated enough to render the text entry at the same zoomed-in "effective" resolution you are seeing once the text is rasterized to actual pixels (that you are then seeing zoomed in). So, it renders the text-entry at an exaggerated on-screen point size, to mathematically aproximate the size it will appear once rasterized to pixels. Photoshop does actually render text entry at >1:1 zooms, exactly as it will appear once done and rasterized. That's because Photoshop has it's own antialiasing engine that is sophisticated enough to take zoom into account, and simulate the output during entry.

I actually think it's pretty interesting that Paint preserves Cleartype anti-aliasing. I didn't think that information was easily available to programs, it was more of a final rendering system buffer that applications can't access. So, either that theory is wrong, or there is some API to run the same font -> anti-aliasing -> bitmap for that very kind of purpose (that is ignorant of "zoom"), or Paint is just faking Cleartype rendering. (Which isn't far-fetched. Adobe Photoshop has a fake Cleartype antialiasing method, among it's other, arguably better internal methods. I can't remember what they call it - it's not "Cleartype" - and it's not identical, but close. Photoshop is cross-platform though, so that's not proof of anything really. And since Paint apparently isn't faking Cleartype rendering while taking zoom into account, it seems unlikely that Paint is faking Cleartype at all. It's probably just rasterizing it exactly how Windows gives it to it, however that happens.)

If you actually want prettier text than Cleartype though, then there is a workaround in Paint:

  • Make your text (and/or entire bitmap) twice the size you need in each direction (4 times the number of pixels).
  • Create your text and any other artwork.
  • Choose the "Resize" function, reduce both direction by 50%.

Paint uses an ugly interpolation method, but the result for text - in the context of artowrk at least - is arguably better, because it reduces the effects of Microsoft's over-strong Cleartype font hinting. The result is somewhere in-between the full hinting you started with, and the no hinting of bind pixel resampling. Too much smaller than 50% though, and the effects of bad resampling start to dominate, and things get blurry where they shouldn't.)

The problem with Cleartype is that it doesn't preserve the font's intended shapes. Microsoft prefers clear text on screen. So they use strong "hinting" to essentially hammer every horizontal or vertical part of each character, into the actual screen pixel grid - so that it is sharper to read. And it is sharper to read, but the tradeoff is that fonts look different than designed. Some remarkably so. (Others less so, such as the ones Microsoft designed specifically for on-screen Cleartype, such as Calibri.)

Mac OS on the other hand, prefers font fidelity, and uses very little to no hinting. As a result, the fonts have lovelier shapes, but to some people are insultingly blurry. (Except on "Retina" displays.) It's highly personal - some are literally offended by it, I like it - and am not a fan of Cleartype.

To me, Ubuntu takes the prize. You can adjust all the big things about font rendering:

  • Antialising type (grayscale, or "subpixel", and different RGB ordering for subpixel rendering on different LCD panel pixel arrangements)
  • Hinting type (basically none similar to Mac OS, vertical only [my favorite], and "full" [aka Microsoft hammer it all to the pixel grid]).
  • "If you actually want prettier text than Cleartype though, then there is a workaround in Paint:" I don't understand this workaround, could you explain it more clearly? – Buffer Over Read Sep 3 '16 at 16:26
  • 1
    OK, let's say you just want a jpeg image of the sentence, "Eat more!" Let's say you want the font to be 20 pt. and not look so "Cleartyp-ey": 1) Select the text tool. 2) Select the font you want, and make it 40 pt. [Not 20 pt.] 3) Type the text you want ["Eat more!"]. 4) Then click the mouse somewhere else, to rasterize the text. 5) Resize the image with the "Resize" button. Enter 50% for both width and height. Now you'll have 20 pt. text that is still be anti-aliased, just not so "Cleartype-ey" as if you had entered it in 20 pt. to begin with. – Jim Sep 3 '16 at 21:48

It's likely related to the image being too small.

When you see the preview text it is a vector and looks very smooth, however when you click off the text to finalise it Paint rasterises the text and it becomes pixelated.

Now I don't have Paint in front of me but if it's like other image editors you should be able to change the image resolution somewhere, this will mean that there are more pixels for the text and it should look clearer.

  • Exactly. It's vector vs raster. – Mr Ethernet Aug 4 '19 at 7:02

open another paint session. Go to "properties". Select Black and White. Now type whatever word and all the pixels generated will be black. Then make sure it's at 100% zoom, then you can use Snipping Tool to copy it and paste it into the other Paint session.

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