Text rendering less clear than Notepad++

I’d like to switch to Atom from Notepad++, but Atom’s text rendering is bothering me; it is less clear than Notepad++ achieved.

I think the issue is that Notepad++ always uses the same subpixel rendering for a character no matter what, but Atom will change subpixel rendering somewhat based on horizontal position.

The difference is apparent in the ‘d’ characters below:

Notepad++ on top (all three d’s the same), and Atom below (the center d has different subpixel rendering than the first and last d’s):


The font is Sitka Text displayed on a 1920x1080 monitor (non-retina) in Windows 10.
In Atom the font size is 15 points and in Notepad++ the font size is 11 points, which gives about the same physical size on the screen. The Atom theme (UI and syntax is) is One Light.

Perhaps the problem goes away with higher DPI monitors or monospace fonts, but I’m limited on monitors, and I like this font for my purposes.

Can anyone help me understand why the two editors render differently and how I can get Atom to render like Notepad++?


My setup delivers (x3 zoom):
(Left: Notepad++ V7.8.1, Right: Atom V1.41.0)

Normal zoom:

My best guess would be that you have a graphics card.
And the Chromium core is not play nice with the card.

Try starting Atom from the command line.
atom --force-device-scale-factor=1
atom --disable-gpu
atom --safe
Do combinations thereof.

Also consider looking into the Windows side. Do some cleartype tuning. There I have made various adjustments to improve document rendering software (not Electron based). [1]

PS: Dark themes can be more forgiving

or mono-font like Monaco

[1] ClearType does not have an effect

You can always adjust the -webkit-font-smoothing and text-rendering CSS properties to find a combination that works best for you. Simply put them in your Atom stylesheet.


* {
  -webkit-font-smoothing: subpixel-antialiased;
  text-rendering: optimizeSpeed;

Does -webkit-font-smoothing have any effect in Windows?
Or was that only on Mac?

Which test do you recommend for confirming an effect from text-rendering?

Ah, too bad

I don’t recommend anything, @dallen5221 has to find out which matches his preference. But generally speaking, I often read that optimizeSpeed is recommended, even by type aficionados (one would suspect optimizeLegibility)

Thanks for all your suggestions!

I ended up switching to a dark theme where the issue is not as noticeable.