2/16/2012 - 5:18 PM

Techniques for Anti-Aliasing @font-face on Windows

Techniques for Anti-Aliasing @font-face on Windows

#Techniques for Anti-Aliasing @font-face on Windows

It all started with an email from a client: Do these fonts look funky to you? The title is prickly.

The font in question was Port Lligat Sans from Google Web Fonts.

The "prickly" is aliasing caused by lack of hinting

Turns out that several @font-face selections do not contain hinting to make them buttery smooth on Windows even though Mac and Linux are fine. Even those at Font Squirrel and Google Fonts. This led to

##CSS3 font-smooth


font-smooth: always;

##A Little Twist


transform: rotate(-0.0000000001deg)

##Force Subpixel Anti-Aliasing


-webkit-font-smoothing: subpixel-antialiased;

##Use text-shadow to Hide Aliasing


text-shadow: 0 0 1px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);


On Windows 7 with IE9, FF10, and Chrome16 the winner is...text-shadow. None of the other options worked to any degree with font-smooth completely unsupported, transform not being consistent, and the -webkit-font-smoothing being a vendor specific tag (and it still didn't work).

text-shadow fuzzing abates the aliasing

The trick now is only applying this property to Windows browsers. jQuery to the clumsy, awkward rescue.

jQuery(document).ready(function($) { 
    var shadowify = function (e) {
        var color = jQuery(e).css('color'),
            size  = jQuery(e).css('font-size');

        // Got Hex color?  Modify with:
        if ('rgb') == -1 )

        var rgba = color.match(/^rgba?\((\d+),\s*(\d+),\s*(\d+)(?:,\s*(\d+))?\)$/);
        jQuery(e).css('text-shadow', '0 0 1px rgba('+rgba[1]+','+rgba[2]+','+rgba[3]+',1)');

    // To use calculated shadow of say, 1/15th of the font height 
    //var fsize = size.match(/(\d+)px/);
    //jQuery(e).css('text-shadow', '0 0 '+(fsize[1]/15)+'px rgba('+rgba[1]+','+rgba[2]+','+rgba[3]+',0.3)')

    if(navigator.platform.indexOf('Win') != -1)
        $('.menu a,#header_right a,.event_title a, h1 a, h2 a').each(function(){shadowify(this)});
        //^ Your appropriately targeted list of elements here ^