Better small fonts in Ubuntu 8.10 (intrepid)

After an out of the box install of Kubuntu 8.10 Intrepid all my fonts seemed to me too large. These large fonts don’t seem very elegant and thankfully I also don’t have vision problems with my eyes. The article "The Absurdity of GNOME Font Sizes" discusses about the big fonts in ubuntu but does not tell much how to make our fonts smaller. So I decided to look around the settings what do we have and after checking my appearance settings I could set nice looking smaller fonts globally on my desktop.I achieved this nice effect from

"System settings->Appearance->Fonts".

Here you have to:

  1. Enable "anti-aliasing" or also font smoothing. This makes your fonts more smooth – less edged – and the text is more easy to read.
  2. From the extra configuration options for anti-aliasing disable "exclude range" and enable "use sub-pixel rendering". In the first option the default range is small and will not affect the small fonts – the result will be that letters will look edged. Sub-pixel rendering enhances the quality. Current computers are powerful enough so that these changes will not make any visible performance impact.
  3. Now you have to also choose: "Force fonts DPI" to be 96 DPI. Actually this is what makes your fonts look smaller. I use 1400×1050 so this DPI for me looks pretty OK. If you have lower resolution and want smaller fonts probably you may either think of encreasing your desktop resolution or tweeak the fonts size DPI manually to some lower value of 96DPI. The article "How to change the X11 DPI under kUbuntu" tells more about custom DPI settings.
  4. Then you have to logoff and login so that chages take effect.

I wished I put some screen shots to demonstrate the effect but I am lazy now to revert back and forth with my configuration. Probably later.


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  1. Thanks a lot, helped to solve my problem nice and quick 😀

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