The Anti-Aliasing Hall of Shame: Excel 2004

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Anti-Aliasing Hall of Shame, Microsoft
October 12th, 2005 • 6:31 pm

I am starting this new blog category called the “Anti-Aliasing Hall of Shame.” There are still numerous places in the Mac OS X computing environment where anti-aliasing is not done properly and, well, I find this absolutely shameful.

As far as I know (even though I am not a Mac OS X developer), there is no excuse for this. Mac OS X comes with built-in support for high quality anti-aliasing, and all Mac OS X developers should, by now, updated their software so that it makes full use of Mac OS X’s built-in technology.

Yet, there are still numerous examples of software titles that have not been updated. Here the first one, courtesy of—who else?—the big bad software company from Redmond:

Font smoothing in Excel 2004

As indicated in the screen shot itself, this is a table cell in Excel 2004 containing text in Optima 14 pt with a zoom setting of 100%, and with “Quartz text smoothing” enabled in Excel’s preferences. This is what happens when you select the text in the cell.

Of course, I use a (relatively dark) green colour as my selection colour, as opposed to the default pale blue option in System Preferences’ “Appearance” preference pane. But that shouldn’t make any difference. Mac OS X is perfectly capable of doing proper font smoothing over a darker selection colour. And Microsoft is perfectly capable of doing this properly in its applications, since there are no problems with the same font and the same font size and the same selection colour with text in a Word 2004 document.

It’s just that Microsoft still has not bothered to update its Excel code to do font smoothing properly in Excel table cells as well.

It’s inexcusable, and it’s shameful. And I am going to post more examples of this by many other software companies (including Apple itself!). Still, I am sure you will agree that Microsoft deserved the opening salvo here.

3 Responses to “The Anti-Aliasing Hall of Shame: Excel 2004”

  1. Paul Ingraham says:

    Agreed, Microsoft was an easy target for that! And hopefully you’ll accept submissions from your outraged readers who will (inevitably) stumble across other examples. For instance (ooh, that only took two seconds)… the media organizer, iView Media Pro, not only belongs in the Anti-Aliasing Hall of Shame, but in the Text Editing Hall of Shame and the Font Preferences Hall of Shame, in the “Where @%&@%!! are they?” category. Their advanced metadata management features are almost impossible to enjoy thanks to this smorgasbord of sloppiness.

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    Don’t worry, nobody will be safe, and iView MP will indeed be inducted soon. And yes, readers can submit their own candidates :-).

  3. Paul Ingraham says:

    On behalf of type lovers everywhere… thank you.

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