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Fix Google Chrome's font looking off

When I installed Google Chrome Canary the other day on a new Windows machine, I noticed right away that the font looked off in the browser's interface and on websites that I opened in the browser.

While I knew that Chrome's font rendering could be bad under certain circumstances, the fact that it happened on the machine was surprising as I did not experience the issue in Chrome Stable on the same PC.

You can check out the font rendering on the screenshot below that I got initially after the installation of Google Chrome Canary on the device.

chrome font off

As you can see, the font does not look good particularly and it was even worse on other internal pages such as the chrome://flags page.

Chrome Canary is the cutting edge version of Google Chrome, and one possible explanation for the issue in Canary and not Chrome Stable was that Google tweaked something in Canary that was not yet applied to Stable as well.

It is more likely, however, that the issue is caused by the computer's hardware and installed drivers, and not a general issue affecting all Chrome Canary installations.

Research on the Internet brought up all kinds of suggestions some dating back as early as Chrome 3. Suggestions included disabling ClearType, changing DirectWrite on chrome://flags, installing advanced font settings, or running Chrome with different startup parameters.

None of these really worked as many of them dated back years and suggested fixes that could not be applied anymore to recent versions of Chrome.

I did discover the solution to fix the font rendering issue in Chrome, however. Check out the screenshot below first to see how text in Chrome looked after I made the change.

chrome fonts good

Here is what I did to fix the text rendering issue in Google Chrome Canary:

  1. Load chrome://settings/ in the browser's address bar or select Menu > Settings.
  2. Click on "advanced" at the bottom of the page.
  3. Scroll down to the "system" section.
  4. Toggle "Use hardware acceleration when available" to off.
  5. Restart Google Chrome.

That is all it took to resolve the font rendering issue. Disabling hardware acceleration may have a performance impact on certain tasks that benefit from it.

It is up to you to decide whether it is worth keeping the functionality enabled or if better text rendering in Chrome is more worthwhile.

You can undo the change at any time by repeating the steps outlined above and toggling the hardware acceleration feature to on.


This article was first seen on ComTek's "TekBits" Technology News


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