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Sublime Text Font Smoothing (anti-aliasing) issues in Mountain Lion

I just upgraded to Mountain Lion, and to my astonishment, everything seemed to work just as it did before. Maybe even a little faster. That’s pretty rare for OS X point upgrades. Anyway, after looking around for a while, I finally came across a difference. Sublime Text 2 is over “smoothing” the text. And being a code editor, that’s a very bad thing. Eye-strain and all that.



You can see how fat the type looks. Very hard to read. A bit of googling tells me that it’s something to do with OS X identifying my non-Apple monitors, and possibly thinking they are CRTs, and using the old CRT font smoothing levels. Going into the System Pref/General leaves me wondering why Apple actually removed some of the smoothing options, and playing with whats there seems to do nothing. Instead, we have to do some terminal magic. Just open up a terminal window and enter this:

defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 0

… then restart Sublime Text. Note that the number at the end denotes which level of smoothing we want, 0 being the least, 3 being the most.


  1. neosheet neosheet July 30, 2012

    Unticking ‘Use LCD font smoothing when available’ is also works for me. (System Preferences > General)

  2. Artem Artem August 1, 2012

    I use Sublime Text too and I just was wondering wtf has happened with my fonts… By the way, some websites are too “bold” with apple new font smoothing too. It became almost impossible to read.
    So thank you, Chris! I can read again!

  3. Steve Marks Steve Marks August 2, 2012

    I’m having the same problem with Mountain Lion. I see it really bad when I go to Google websites. The bolded text (such as with search results) looks awful. It’s way too fat, the edges are fuzzy, and the letter spacing seems a bit off too. It happens in all my browsers, so I’m pretty sure it’s an OS rendering issue. I did all of the terminal tricks in this post, but it’s not helping the website bold text thing. Any thoughts?

    • Chris Silich Chris Silich August 2, 2012

      Did you restart the apps with the problems after doing the terminal command?

      • Steve Marks Steve Marks August 2, 2012

        Yep. I used the terminal command, then used the killall Finder command. I restarted the apps. I tried logging out and back in. I tried restarting the entire computer. No luck.

        • Chris Silich Chris Silich August 3, 2012

          I have Use LCD font smoothing when available unchecked in System Preferences / General. Does that make a difference?

          • Steve Marks Steve Marks August 3, 2012

            Yes, I have it unchecked as well. Again, it’s really obvious on Google web sites. Strangely, Safari and Chrome both exhibit this “fuzzy bold” rendering, but in Firefox it’s not nearly as bad. So now I’m not sure if it’s entirely Mountain Lion, or somehow also related to the browsers themselves.


    Did what chris said in his post and it worked fine for me,when i tried to Untick ‘Use LCD font smoothing when available’ (System Preferences > General) nothing happened.Thnx Chris!

  5. eric eric February 5, 2013

    Thanks for the tip, worked like a charm when I was having the same issue with Espresso (and everything else!) on a 10.8 machine using an external Dell monitor. Good bye chunky text!

  6. Martin Martin February 7, 2013

    Try this instead
    “font_face”: “Monaco”,
    “font_size”: 10.0,

  7. Duncan Payne Duncan Payne February 13, 2013

    Without turning any settings off in the prefs, the solution of typing stuff into the terminal has solved my problem. It was only on bolded fonts that I noticed the issue, having upgraded my iMac from L to ML. I only really noticed it on the 3rd party monitor I have been using (a DELL).

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