I don't quite understand why certain websites like Twitter render text so badly in my Safari browser 5.1.2 (under Windows 7 x64). The same problem doesn't occur in Chrome or Firefox or IE. And it doesn't happen on all websites but quite often. Anyone have insight on this? I've attached a screenshot with the example.

Screenshot of text rendered in Safari

  • Actually in Chrome it also looks a bit off but not as bad. Perfect in Firefox and IE.
    – Anna
    Feb 11, 2012 at 15:12
  • 1
    What are your font smoothing options in Safari set to?
    – segiddins
    Feb 11, 2012 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


Read this for background

In short, Apple and Microsoft use very different methods to render fonts on Mac OS X and Windows. Both systems have their merits, and frankly a lot of the time people prefer the one they are used to, and when the see the other they dislike it not so much because it's bad, but because it's different.

Ordinarily this isn't an issue, Mac users have their way, and Windows users have their way. However, for Safari on Windows, Apple decided in their wisdom to haul over the Mac OS X font rendering mechanism, which is why pages loaded in Safari look not only different to the same page rendered in other web browsers, but different to every other Windows app you have.

Personally, while (likely for the reasons I stated earlier) I prefer the Mac way of doing things, I think that they should not attempt to enforce this on Windows users who are likely to see it as different first, and dislike it. Even if they like it, it's inconsistent. Even though I prefer it, I don't want to see it on Windows, as I prefer consistency more.

So, to answer your question, what's happening is that Safari is attempting to render this font in a completely different way to the other browsers, and occasionally it comes across a font or typeface that it frankly handles badly compared to Windows own technology (the opposite happens too, it's horses for courses), this can happen if a font is specified that has been tweaked to work particularly well with one system or another.

enter image description here

  • Thank you for the background info! At least that helps to explain it.
    – Anna
    Feb 11, 2012 at 18:33

The effect of worse rendering is really the opposite situation in most cases.

Unfortunately for me, I'm forced to use Windows 7 x64 but glad for Safari when I use it from time to time just because of the wonderful font smoothing which I'm enjoying only in Safari but nowhere else. It's clear to me that Apple was able to pack their font smoothing technology into Safari, therefore that means they can pack it anywhere they want. I really wished if they packed this font smoothing technology into an app and let us - windows users - buy and use it on our Windows machines.

I really love it and it makes my eyes less strained and fatigue from lots of reading and for my bad luck, the Mac OS is not for me to adopt. So yes, in some cases worse rendering is had, but my experience is the opposite - it's better than normal on Windows :(

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