Transparent text rendering with GDI

After changing HTML Renderer to GDI text rendering (see previous post and this one) I have encountered another issue: GDI doesn't support alpha channel, which means that GDI is unable to render anything with transparent color. A problem as before the change HTML Renderer fully supported transparent text.
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Using native GDI for text rendering in C#

To complete my previous post on text rendering in .NET I will present here the pitfalls I encountered migrating HTML Renderer to native GDI text rendering. The final result is ready to use NativeTextRenderer class with simple managed API that can be used for native GDI text rendering.
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The wonders of text rendering and GDI

My research into text rendering in .NET/Windows started with HTML Renderer, I have noticed text issues in the rendered HTML: fonts were pixelated, letter were too close, words were either too close or too far apart (Figure 1). Although minor issues they were bugging me, also I was hoping it will lead to some performance improvements as from my last optimization session text draw/measure were the most time consuming operations.
The resulted improvement exceeded my wildest expectations and worth a post on.
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International keyboard layout handling

In the Outlook add-in project I'm working on there is a feature that if the users enters '@' character in the body of mail editor window a dropdown popup will show with some options.
Because this feature is on Outlook window we implemented the feature by capturing keyboard events1 and waiting for "shift + 2" keycode. We check for "shift + 2" because the captured windows keyboard message contains keycode and not the actual character.
In a beta phase an European client reported that this functionality doesn't work, a quick session with the client revealed he used European keyboard layout, something new to me as I used to US keyboard layout.
 
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When does RCW reference count is incremented?

I recently encountered a fun bug in Outlook addin I'm working on and it was interesting enough that I decided to create a few posts around what caused it, it will probably be 3 blogs starting with RCW reference count stuff, continuing with anonymous delegates and finishing the the bug itself.
Disclaimer: this post is based on a similar stackoverflow question I answered a while ago.
 
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