This might sound ridiculous, but my eyes are tired of looking at the crappy font rendering in OS X's Terminal.app, is there anything you guys recommend?

I know it's like one of those things that you can easily say, "It's shell! what more can you ask for!" but really, all these great methods for rendering fonts and anti-aliasing, and we developers haven't even integrated that into our most trusty tool... at least that I know of.

Anyhow, let's discuss shell alternatives, thoughts?

No antialiasing, antialiasing on and how Safari renders text:

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Granted I know the type is a little larger in the Safari than the other examples, but you can see the differences, and while they are minute it's this type of tiny detail that makes looking at the same thing for 8 hours a day significantly better.

  • Crappy font rendering? I don't get it. What do you mean specifically? I can set the text to be Antialiased in the preferences, and the default font and size, and it looks as good as any other application… Maybe try a different font?
    – ghoppe
    May 27, 2010 at 21:59
  • Well here's the deal, I actually like the small 12px un-antialiased look, however my monitor's resolution is high enough that I need to scale the font up. The antialiasing it does employ is pretty crappy, and blurry at best, regardless of fonts. It doesn't take advantage of more advanced font sharpening technology like chromatic aberration, like your browser is doing at this very moment. May 27, 2010 at 22:11
  • I wonder how does your terminal look like. I have change the background for a transparent one and works for me. Is not spectacular, but I don't want to be disturbed either: img237.imageshack.us/img237/4301/capturadepantalla201005j.png
    – OscarRyz
    May 27, 2010 at 22:11
  • Interesting. Do you have a link which discusses the poor font rendering in Terminal.app vs in Firefox? I assumed they would use the same antialiasing technologies. May 27, 2010 at 22:14
  • I've added screenshots to show a few things, note how Bespin (web based editor) in Safari has subtle text drop-shadows that make the font a little sharper, and more refined, as well as just generally better rendering. May 27, 2010 at 22:26

3 Answers 3


I really like visor:


"Visor is a system wide terminal accessible via hotkey"

It looks cool, is very useful, and is customizable ad nauseam.

  • looks cool, taking a peek now. May 27, 2010 at 21:50
  • Could you guy paste images and/or videos of Visor? I saw a demo long time ago, but I have "always" deferred from installing it, because it is not the classic "Drag into Apps folder" mechanism.
    – OscarRyz
    May 27, 2010 at 22:04
  • youtube.com/watch?v=fvbE9UX_0GY youtube.com/watch?v=amtczuKzcpI&feature=related youtube.com/watch?v=Y5JItw_vtoY&feature=related - this guy has it at only half width, which is not my favorite. It's really not bad to install these days
    – D Lawson
    May 27, 2010 at 22:06
  • Watching... Nahh, is not that bad to install, but, this is Mac, I mean, I should download the .dmg double click, drag&drop to the Apps folder ( which btw should be a link right there ) I can do any number of sudo apt-get install whatever in linux anytime :P But in OSX feels like I'm doing too much. ;) ( +1 btw )
    – OscarRyz
    May 27, 2010 at 22:16
  • 2
    Doesn't this just wrap Terminal.app? It'll have the exact same font rendering etc..
    – dbr
    May 27, 2010 at 23:07

I use iTerm, I don't have a problem with the fonts, but it is an alternative.


iTerm2 has a pending feature request to provide a more Windows-looking style of anti-aliasing since a lot of people don't like how OS X does it. Star this issue to get updates when it changes: http://code.google.com/p/iterm2/issues/detail?id=312

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