SmoothType brings Mac OS X style font smoothing to machines running System 7 through Mac OS 9. SmoothType also works in the Classic environment under Mac OS X, giving Classic applications text that looks just as good as in Carbon and Cocoa applications. Although the Appearance control panel already offers a limited form of font smoothing, SmoothType uses a different algorithm, and many people think SmoothType gives better results. I suggest you try them both to see which you prefer. (If you switch on smoothing in the SmoothType control panel, it overrides the Appearance setting.) For best results with SmoothType, set your monitor resolution as high as it will go, but then increase the font sizes (or magnification) you use so that text on your screen is the same physical size as before.
SmoothType makes your screen look more like the printed page. Using a technique called anti-aliasing, SmoothType blurs the jagged edges of bitmap fonts with shades of gray, effectively doubling your screen resolution. This is similar to the technique used by some laser printers of varying the size of the dots to improve the printed image quality. This is also why text on a television screen, such as the credits for a TV program, can look so crisp from your couch, even though the resolution is really quite low. With SmoothType, your fonts look on the screen just like they will when you print them, so you no longer need to look at large point sizes to get an idea of what the font really looks like. The effect can be quite striking, particularly when browsing web pages.
What's new in this version:
Version 2.3.1 fixes a problem drawing smoothed text after switching accounts under Multiple Users. Version 2.3 introduced subpixel smoothing optimized for LCD (flat panel) screens. SmoothType 2.3.1 is a 108K download.