GDI++ Usage Tutorial

What's GDI++?

In short: GDI++ is a set of files (executable and associated dll's) which try to susbtitute windows native GDI.dll font renderer to improve CJK text legibility.

Do I need GDI++?

It depends. If your everyday windows experience involves dealing with CJK applications and/or webpages, I would say YES!! If you don't know what CJK is, or you just deal with ordinary "latin script" fonts (i.e. these letters you're reading now), and you're happy with ClearType windows AntiAlias, I would probably say NO. But even though, there are some situations where even small latin script fonts become illegible or badly antialiased. Then, why not giving GDI++ a try?

Compare these 2 pics. The left part is rendered using "bare Windows native GDI" and no antialias. On the other hand, the right part is rendered with "GDI++.dll" engine, using RGB SubPixel Rendering:

Bare windows GDI versionGDI++ version

Bare windows GDI versionGDI++ version

Just in case you want to see GDI++ in action with more detail, and before installing anything, I've also set up some test screenshots. Click on the images below for full size versions:

You've convinced me, how do I install it?

Well... Erm... The thing is this application "doesn't come with an installer" (as far as I know), so I decided to build up a small one (Using NullSoft NSIS utility). So everything should be easy now, follow the next steps:

Fine tuning the .ini file


Q: Who created this program?
A: I have no idea. It wasn't me. Apparently, the authors are some Japanese people which upload these files (inside a .zip archive) onto this web page with random periodicity.

Q: Is it safe to use this program instead of letting windows render fonts using the standard GDI.dll method?
A: Yes as far as I know.

Q: Which are the requirements?
A: I remember having read somewhere that SSE2 cpu capable was needed, but I'm not sure anymore... Using it may use a bit more CPU than normal, but nothing noticeable.

Q: I can't use ClearType in my wonderful Windows 2000 installation... Can I enjoy some antialias using GDI++?
A: Absolutely! That's one of the nice things of GDI++, it can enable advanced antialiasing techniques in W2000 (which natively doesn't have any).

Q: I've seen a GDITray.exe icon somewhere in the installation folder... What's it for?
A: In fact, it seems that launching "GDITray.exe" might be the proper way to use this utility (GDI++), but then it enables Antialias in the whole windows desktop and applications. This shouldn't be bad per se, but maybe low end machines might suffer a CPU penalty, and then the whole machine performance might drop a bit... Besides, some of GDITray.exe menu options are kind of unknown to me, so I take no reponsibility for using it... For me, it seems trickier and cleaner using the "Drag and Drop icon" method... In any case, choose your favourite method to run GDI++

Q: I think I can notice a blurrier feeling when reading fonts inside a GDI++ launched application...
A: Well, it might be... Antialias, Sub Pixel rendering and such is a "wonderful and funny" world, where there are "two teams" to please: People wanting sharp and crisp rendering text (they even disconnect antialias!!), and the ones that want legibility and/or nice font shapes even at ultra low font sizes (getting then, some welcome "blur" on the process). The bad news are that GDI++ can't take care of both teams at the same time. If you want ultracrispness, then don't enable antialias at all (i.e. don't use GDI++), or just use "Clear Type" antialias. On the contrary, if you want wonderful font shapes, specialy with CJK fonts, and nice legibility even at low sizes (with the rest of the fonts), then no problem: you'll get some blurness, but you'll be granted a nice "rendering experience". I hope GDI++ is what you might have been looking for (as much as I had).
If you still hesitate, click on the smaller thumbnails above to compare the 4 rendering methods, and then you'll be able to decide (or not) which font antialias method you like most :)

Feel free to contact me on my mail address link on the lower right part of the screen for any doubt, correction and/or suggestion. I'll be more than happy to hear about you!!

Última modificación: Sat 08-May-2010 07:19

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