If you’re a Windows user and want to get the famously clean look of Apple’s de facto font “Lucida Grande” you can do just about as good a job with the built-in Windows font Lucida Sans. The differences between the fonts are minimal, but if you just use a straight up substitution in Photoshop, you’ll find the font is still somewhat clumsy looking compared to its Mac OS X counterpart.
With a tiny bit of tweaking, though, you can easily mimic this font using what you’ve already got on your computer. Now, I made these settings myself and they aren’t scientifically measured nor are they certified by a typographical expert. I just used my eyes and it was enough to fool me. You may be able to do better, but at least I’ve given you a starting point.
As I mentioned, the Lucida Grande font is basically equivalent to Lucida Sans or Lucida Sans Unicode. Either one will do. To get it to look like the Apple font, look at the font panel on the Photoshop sidebar. First of all, bold the text. Next, adjust its character height (“T” icon with vertical arrows) to 111% and the character spacing (“AV” icon with horizontal arrows) to -40. Finally, set the text effect to “Smooth.” That’s it! At least for me this was sufficient.
Here are the settings taken from my Photoshop install.
I achieved the effect quite simply by grabbing a screenshot of an existing example of Lucida Grande typography. Then I overlayed some text over it in Photoshop and tweaked the settings until the characters lined up exactly. You may be able to get an even closer effect through this process and I’m sure other readers (including me) would love to know how you did it. Please don’t hesitate to share in the comments!