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OS X 10.5.7 Text Rendering Issue On Mail.app

A strange thing happened to me every time I composed a piece of text on my OS X 10.5.7-powered Mail.app.

(My text setting is Lucida Grande at 12pt. size)

OS X 10.5.7 Text Rendering at 100%

On random occasions, the rendered text would look the exact same way, yet somehow kerned loosely. It’s as if the line of text loses its spacing information entirely. See it?

OS X 10.5.7 Text Rendering at 500% zoom level

Note how the text “I just saw” on the second line and the one on the fourth is spaced differently. Let’s juxtapose the two directly below each other to make it clearer.

The bottom set of word is rendered too loosely

I noted that the kerning between the letters j–u, s–t and s–a shifted to the right by 1 pixel, yet these minor changes are enough to make the spacing between the word “just” and “saw” appear larger, thus distracting the eye from the normal pace of reading.

If you’re an OS X 10.5.7 and Mail.app user, try reproducing this problem by writing several lines of new mail on Mail.app. See how, from time to time, the spacing of the letters would shift.

Have anyone else had this problem?

PS. Despite the pixel shift, the anti-aliasing method used to draw these letters remains unchanged. Note how the ‘fringes’ around the alphabets are actually of the same color—except for the leftmost stroke of the letter ‘u’ which lightened considerably.

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7 thoughts on “OS X 10.5.7 Text Rendering Issue On Mail.app

  1. This is happening to me, too. I’m glad to know I wasn’t going kern-crazy all by my lonesome.

    My guess is something to do with the new Safari 4 and/or WebKit: I believe that’s what Mail uses for text views (as opposed to the usual NSTextView that most other apps would use).

    Did you find a fix?

  2. I didn’t know that Mail uses WebCore instead of NSTextView, so I’ve been sorting through Webkit’s trac to find issues related to spacing or kerning. I found no bug filed on text shifting so far, but this points me in the right direction.

    Thanks for pointing this out!

  3. Sebastiano says:

    I’m having the same problem, but no fixes out, yet. No mention of this in MacFixIt.

    Let’s hope they will notice it.

  4. I’m having this problem as well, I upgraded to 10.5.7 and Safari 4 at the same time and thought it was 10.5.7, but the Safari 4 explanation sounds like a better one. The random changes to kerning are driving me crazy.

  5. Pingback: More Evidence Of Text Rendering Issue In Mail.app « Link En Fuego

  6. I’ve been having this problem for several weeks now and have been searching for references to it online. I found a discussion on Apple’s forums and then found the link there to here.

    I’ve determined that it starts once you backspace or delete some characters while composing. It seems fine until i (invariably!) make a typo and have to backspace and retype – from that point on the spacing errors start creeping in and gradually increase the more I type.

    Sometimes, jumping down a few lines, or going back to a “normally spaced” piece of text will resolve it, until I need to backspace again.

    Based on the last post I saw on the Apple Discussion Forum, it looks like it might be an issue with a particular font – Lucinda Sans. I’ve just been typing a long email (with the inevitable backspaces/deletions) and changed my font to TrebuchetMS, and so far the spacing problem hasn’t shown up.

    Hopefully this is the answer.

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