[OS X TeX] Yosemite font smoothing - partial solution?

Richard Seguin riseguin at earthlink.net
Sat Oct 25 22:12:37 CEST 2014

I found out that anytime you change font smoothing parameters, nothing changes until you reset your machine.

First I tried toggling off the “Use LCD font smoothing when available” option in the General pane of system preferences, then resetting. Skim looked much better. It was much less harsh looking and much more pleasant to read, though slightly soft and fuzzy. I checked some other applications and found that Safari was OK but maybe type in Mail looked a little worse than it did.

There is a terminal command with which you can vary font smoothing from 0 to 3 where 0 supposedly turns it off and 3 is the highest. I think that 2 might be the default. First I did

defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 1

followed by a reset. Skim looked a little more harsh and ragged, but Mail was better. Then I tried 

defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2

followed by a reset. Skim was starting to look a lot like it did with the default “Use LCD font smoothing when available” turned on (in other words, really bad).

Then I tried 

defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 3

followed by a reset. Based on the trend, I thought that Skim would look even worse with this set to 3, but in fact it looked better than 1 or 2, and I’m able to resolve sub-subscript symbols a little better. In conclusion, 0 and 3 make Skim more acceptable to work with. Still, I think the tiniest details are still not being resolved as well as it was pre-Yosemite. TeXShop still looks better than Skim at all settings.

I have a feeling that different panels may react differently to the different settings. If anyone else experiments with this, I would like to hear what happened.

Richard Séguin

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