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Entourage 2004 Font Fuzzies

From a link provided in the previous entry, I downloaded the "MPW" font and set Entourage to use it with my plain-text emails instead of ProFont, which was suddenly using ligatures, curly quotes/apostrophes, etc. Here's what I found:


If you look closely, the line appears to get fuzzy about 2/3 of the way across. I saw this in my normal emails and freaked out. I thought that my 23" Cinema display was going fuzzy in places. I moved the email across the screen to see if the text at the beginning of the line would get fuzzy in "the bad spot" and it remained sharp. I took a screnshot with the built-in screen capture and pasted it into a Photoshop document. Here's what I found:


Why Entourage blurs the fonts in the middle of a line I don't know. It does it with any characters - "mw" was chosen here for no particular reason other than that the characters have three vertical strokes. The same characters appear fine to the left, but are fuzzy in the middle of the email (they seem to sharpen up a bit near the 70- to 80-character range).

In other words, WTF is up with Entourage 2004? Ugh. I've switched back to ProFont, ligatures and curly quotes and apostrophes and all, because at least it doesn't go fuzzy on me.

My fonts are set to not smooth at 8pt and below. ProFont and MPW font are used at 9pt (so yes, they smooth in Entourage). I really haven't had any problem with Mac OS X's font smoothing in any of my applications.

8 Responses to "Entourage 2004 Font Fuzzies"

  1. At first glance, it looks like some sort of cumulative floating point positioning error - perhaps where the text goes fuzzy, the drawing position is bumped by a round() or something...

    Would be interesting to see what happens if the window is extra wide - might the text go clear again after a run of similar length?


  2. Perhaps they've implemented their own subpixel smoothing algorithm that doesn't work right?

  3. re: Mac Office 2004 Launched

  4. Since I'm a Word guy, take this with some grain of salt, but Entourage uses Apple's ATSUI to do text rendering. See if same problem occurs in TextEdit using the same font and the same font size.

  5. TextEdit uses the Cocoa text renderer, not ATSUI. More to the point: no, it does not have the same problems at all.

  6. i don't know if this is related, but Internet Explorer 5, and now Entourage 2004 do some funky stuff with rendering of text in HTML format...

    to me it looks like a random line or two doesn't get anti-aliased, until i select it. that was one problem i was happy to get rid of when i switched away from IE, and now it's back in Entourage!

  7. Isn't that just the 'cleartype' sub-pixel anitialiasing? The offset near the middle of the line is -.5 pixels or so, so it's stradling the line and you get red-half-of-a-pixel pixel blue-half-of-a-pixel.

    I think it's ugly... especially on text or anything that skinny. It might make an edge of a big shape smoother, but when you're only dealing with a couple pixels the coloring is very noticeable.


  8. It uses ATSUI. It does not do any of its own anti-aliasing. There's more info here. I found that Andale Mono 12 point looks great