Text displayed on monitor seems out of focus/fuzzy

I have a Dell M991 Monitor. It’s a box-style CRT display. 19", I believe, although I haven’t measured it.

It seems to be pretty capable – refresh rate is supposed to go up to 160 Hz. although I currently have it running at 75 Hz. I’ve set it for 1024x768 resolution, 32-bit color.

I use a Radeon 9800 video card.

The monitor display is set for “Dell M991 on Radeon 9800 series” which certainly sounds like what I want.

Images look great.

Small text, however, seems…fuzzy. Poorly focused, as if seen through Vaseline or something.

I thought it might be my eyes so I asked someone to verify my impression.

I would like to change the setting myself; I’m loath to ask for help. But when I go into the fairly complex “settings” reached through right-mousing the desktop, I see all kinds of tabs and menus – probably I’m seeing display AND video card menus – I don’t see anything called “text crispness” or even “sharpness”.

Any suggestions would be most welcome.


In WinXP, go to your Display control panel, Appearence tab. Click on the Effects button. There’s a check box there to ‘smooth edges of screen fonts’ with a pulldown menu that has a couple of choices. If you don’t have XP, there should still be something similar somewhere in the control panel.

Try both unchecking the box and changing the pulldown choice with the box checked. Sometimes Windows’ attempt to smooth things blurs them.

You might also want to try a higher resolution, with larger type. I like to use 1600x1200, and set the font size on the appearance tab to Large. There are some settings in your monitor menu that could be causing trouble, adjustments to these are rare.

My first guess would be that your monitor is calibrated poorly; in particular, it sounds like you might have a convergence problem. Take a look at this page. Do the multi-colored lines look right, or do the lines look jagged where the color changes?

There are number of freely available test patterns and guides to calibrating display devices out there, but if you don’t mind shelling out a few bucks, I can recommend the utility sold by DisplayMate. It’s pretty comprehensive, and good at advising you in simple terms what you need to do to correct any problems.