Author Topic: Font rendering on Mac  (Read 137 times)

eitheta

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Font rendering on Mac
« on: August 11, 2018, 09:40:44 pm »
My current company is a mostly-Mac shop, and I use SlickEdit (v22.0.2.1) on a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015). 

Since switching from 24" to 27" external displays, text in the editing windows of SlickEdit is borderline unreadable, and I can't seem to figure out how to fix it.
With a pair of 24" Dell U2415H displays (1920x1200) attached (via DisplayPort), things were okay, apart from the lack of work space.  I've lately switched out the monitors for 27" displays.  First I tried a pair of Dell U2718Q (4k).  Now I have a U2715H and a U2717D (both native 2560x1440).

In the SlickEdit text windows on the 27" displays, all text/code is really badly rendered.  It looks like text is suffering really terrible ratio-rescaling artifacts.  In all other windows (e.g. Terminal, SublimeText, Finder, etc), text is clear and legible.  Even if I set everything to use the same font & size.  With the 4k displays, I attributed this to some very negative interaction between SE and the Mac's display scaling.  So I've switched to the current 27" displays, running at default (native, 2560x1440) resolution, but the text is still horrible.  I figure there must be some adjustment I can do to fix this, but I just can't find it.

Even in the other panes of SlickEdit windows, where I've set all the fonts to Menlo 12.  I've experimented with other fonts and sizes, to no avail.

Plugging these same monitors into Windows and Linux boxes, text looks fine in SlickEdit. 

I've attached two screenshots to show the issue.  For these, I've gone into Tools::Options::Appearance::Fonts and changed font for every Element to Menlo 12, so that both screenshots show clear text and crap text, in what is supposed to be the same font, in different panes of the same window.  In each screenshot, text in the Sample Code pane is distorted, and text (same font & size) in other panes looks great.

I've tried Dark Profiles and Light Profiles for syntax coloring.  Both equally bad.
I've tried Tools::Options::Appearance::Advanced::"Mac Retina Display (High DPI) Support" = "Auto", "Always On" and "Always Off", restarting SE whenever I change this.  It affects SE windows on the built-in (retina) display, but has no effect on the external displays.

Any suggestions?  My coworkers use ST3 and suggest I do the same, but I'm not quite ready to make that jump yet.

Thanks in advance!

eitheta

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Re: Font rendering on Mac
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2018, 09:50:18 pm »
Hmmph!   When I view these screenshots in a browser (Chrome or Safari), the browser seems to do some degree of smoothing which makes the text more readable.  But when I DL the PNGs and view in image Preview, the issue is very easy to see -- it looks like what I see in SlickEdit.

Clark

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Re: Font rendering on Mac
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2018, 12:53:39 pm »
What happens if you drag this same edit window on to the primary display (_A and _B look the worst)?

eitheta

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Re: Font rendering on Mac
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2018, 07:05:07 pm »
If I drag SE to the primary (retina) display, the text is vastly better.  (attachment se_retina1.png)
On the retina display, the Menlo font in the editing window is very noticeably lighter-weight than the Menlo font in other apps or in other panes of SlickEdit.
The Menlo font for filenames in the File-Open panes (shown in slickedit1.png) is perfectly readable, while the Menlo font in the editing window of the same screentshot is horrible.

Clark

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Re: Font rendering on Mac
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2018, 08:28:38 pm »
Is the Menlo font display fine in other all other SlickEdit controls except for the edit window? I just want to make sure I'm following what you are seeing.

What MacBook Pro do you have?

It's good that you tried forcing "Mac Retina Display (HDI DPI) Support" to "Always On". I would recommend setting it that way for now so we can rule that out. Be sure to exit and restart SlickEdit after changing this setting.

Do you have Use LCD Font Smoothing when available turned on (macOS General options)?

We have tried to manually recreate what you're seeing. The only way we've done it is by setting "Mac Retina Display (HDI DPI) Support" to "Always off" and turning off macOS Font Smoothing in the General options.

« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 01:17:36 am by Clark »

eitheta

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Re: Font rendering on Mac
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2018, 01:28:36 am »
Solved!

>> Do you have Use LCD Font Smoothing when available turned on (General options)?
...
>> ... turning off Mac Font Smoothing in the General options.
I don't see either of these two phrases anywhere.
I *do* see "Use anti-aliasing" checkbox in the Options::Appearance::Fonts settings.  Is this the same as those two?

The "Use anti-aliasing" checkbox is the magic!
I had tried checking and unchecking anti-aliasing (numerous times) to no avail.  It appears that this option (like "Advanced::Mac Retina Support") has no effect until restart of SE.  But while adjusting "Mac Retina Support" gets me a dialog box warning that a restart is required, toggling anti-aliasing does *not* produce such a notice, so it seems I never got to see the effect.  It would be great if future releases could post the restart notice when "anti-aliasing" is toggled.

Thanks for your help!

Clark

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Re: Font rendering on Mac
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2018, 01:32:50 am »
Glad we got things working for you!!!

We'll look into how the SlickEdit anti-alias option updates.

I might have confused you. The "Use LCD Font Smoothing when available" is a macOS (not SlickEdit) option.

eitheta

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Re: Font rendering on Mac
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2018, 01:56:19 am »
Ah!   In my MacOS System Preferences ("General" Tab), I found the "Use LCD Font Smoothing when available" checkbox.  It is checkmarked.  And, since I didn't know it existed, it has presumably been checked the whole time.   Thanks again.