Retinizer: Retinize Non-Retina Apps

There’s always a downside to being an early adopter when it comes to computers. If you, like me, jumped on the MacBook Pro with Retina Display bandwagon already, you’ll notice that there are a considerable amount of apps that aren’t compatible with the beautiful new Retina display.

Retinizer is a completely unsupported way to bring crisp text to some non-Retina applications until developers take the time to upgrade their apps. In this quick review we’ll take a look at Retinizer, and how well it performs with popular applications.

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What applications can be Retinized

Retinizer, created by Mikel Pr, can only Retinize native Carbon API UI widgets. Any custom created images or text not using the Carbon API, unfortunately, can not be Retinized. What this means for us end users is that while some apps will applications will be visually improve in some way, others won’t be affected or in the case of the Adobe suite, might be drastically worse overall.

What can you Retinize? The big one for me was Microsoft Word. Microsoft only enabled Retina support for Outlook for Mac 2011, leaving the rest of the office suite in Retina-limbo for now. If you’re frustrated with fuzzy, or blurry text, in Word Retinizer has you covered.

How to say goodbye (mostly) to blurry text

It should be clear that the voodoo to solve the blurry-text issue on most non-Retina apps is more or less a hack. Although I haven’t encountered any issues with Retinizer it might be wise to have a good backup, and installation files for any app you try to Retinize.

As I stated earlier, Microsoft Word was the application that’s lack of Retina support was most frustrating, so lets see how good of a job Retinizer does there.

After downloading and moving Retinizer to your Applications folder, open Retinizer and you’ll see the Retinizer window asking you to drag an application into the Retinizer app, do so, then click the “Retinize!” button.

One click says goodbye to blurry text.

Open the previously non-Retina supported application, Word in my instance, and hopefully you’ll see crisp Retinized text. If you don’t, for some reason, your application might not be supported or the element in question is not supported by Retinizer. The developer states that Preferences pane text might not get the Retina treatment.

Retinizer retinzed text on the left vs. standard on the right.

As you can see, most of the text has been Retinized though the images are still blurry. The effect is much more noticeable when writing a full word document, but you should be able to get the idea that Retinizer works as advertised. If you encounter any problems with the application, backing out the modifications made by Retinizer is as simple as enabling Retina text. Drag the previously Retinized application in to Retinizer and click “De-Retinize!”.

To Retinize or not to Retinize

… that is the question. If you’re comfortable modifying an application in ways that the developer hasn’t yet enabled, by all means, Retinize away, but your mileage my vary to a wide degree. Luckily if you do experience any problems, the developer of Retinizer has a simple back out solution. This might not be the most elegant way to bring Retina text to an application but it will hold us over in the interim.

Let us know in the comments how Retinizer worked for you.


A simple app that can make some of your apps, especially Microsoft Office, look much better on a Retina Display Mac