After being a Windows user for the last 10 years, I got a MacBook Pro, which I'm working on configuring to my liking.

I find small-size anti-aliased text to be blurry and hard to read, so I typically disable it. I've found the settings in the General Control Panel, and used TinkerTool to increase the anti-alias threshold size to 18pt. Mac OS X and other applications appear to respect these settings.

A problem appears when I use Firefox. By default, it's configured to ignore the Mac OS anti-alias settings. This is changed by going to about:config, and setting gfx.use_text_smoothing_setting = true (default is false). However, even with this setting, it appears Firefox is still rendering the fonts under the assumption that they will be anti-aliased, which results in very odd and uneven spacing, as you can see in this example (pay attention to the placement of the "s" in "Disable"):

With anti-aliasing:

enter image description here

Without anti-aliasing:

Without anti-aliasing

How can I configure Firefox to both not use anti-aliasing and to use correct font spacing?

I'm using Mac OS X Lion and Firefox 5.

  • I think it's important to note that Windows does, in fact, anti-alias text. It just uses a far different mechanism from OS X. – jcrawfordor Aug 14 '11 at 6:12
  • @jcrawfordor I know that, and I know about the different approaches their respective algorithms take. I disable anti-aliasing on Windows too, it just doesn't look horrible in Windows Firefox like it does in Mac OS X Firefox. – Kaypro II Aug 16 '11 at 20:58
  • I'd like to know this too! Three years later and it still looks bad. But I will NEVER give up crisp fonts. – Wyatt8740 Sep 17 '14 at 2:11
  • 2
    This topic was relevant when asked. but isn't really relevant today as newer versions of Firefox have addressed this problem. – AMR Jul 23 '15 at 2:43

Might be an update-bound issue and just wait for it to get fixed. OR try this: Go to Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced panel -> General tab -> Set the checkmark at "Use Hardware Acceleration when available" if it isn't checked already.

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My system is ancient, but go to System Preferences -> Appearance-> Turn off text smoothing for font sizes [choose from the pop-up menu down at the bottom] and smaller... works for me.

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