Calibrate your display

What is Display Color Calibration?

Calibrating your display helps to ensure that colors are represented accurately on your monitor. In Windows, you can use Display Color Calibration to calibrate your display.

Before starting Display Color Calibration, make sure that your display is set to its native resolution. This helps to improve the accuracy of the resulting calibration. For more information about determining the native resolution for a display and setting the screen resolution, see Change your screen resolution.

Notes

  • If you have a display calibration device that came with other software, consider using the color measurement device with the accompanying software instead of Display Color Calibration. Using the calibration device with the accompanying calibration software that often comes with it can help you get the best color on your display. In general, using a color measurement instrument to calibrate your display will result in a better calibration compared to the results of doing a visual calibration (which is done in Display Color Calibration).

  • Display Color Calibration is not available in Windows Server 2008 R2.

To start Display Color Calibration

  1. Open Display Color Calibration by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type calibrate display, and then click Calibrate display color. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  2. In Display Color Calibration, click Next to continue.

Use Display Color Calibration to adjust color settings

Display Color Calibration improves your display color by enabling you to change different color settings. After you adjust the different color settings using Display Color Calibration, you will have a new calibration that contains your new color settings. The new calibration will be associated with your screen display and used by color-managed programs.

The color settings that you can change, as well as how you change those color settings, depend on your monitor's display and its capabilities. Not all monitors have the same color capabilities and settings, so you might not be able to change all the different color settings when using Display Color Calibration.

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Basic color settings

To get an accurate calibration, we recommended that you set the basic color settings on your screen display before you continue. This ensures that you have a good starting point when you begin to calibrate your screen display using Display Color Calibration.

  1. With the Set basic color settings page in view, press the Menu button, which is found on the front edge of many monitors.

    An on-screen menu will appear. Press the monitor buttons, which also appear on the front edge of many monitors, to navigate through the on-screen menu and adjust the different settings for your screen display.

    The menu and monitor buttons vary by model and manufacturer. Check the documentation that came with your monitor to learn how to use the buttons for your particular display.

  2. On the Set basic color settings page, use the monitor buttons to navigate through the on-screen menu to verify (or adjust) one or more of the following settings (depending on your specific display), and then click Next:

    • Locate the color menu that lets you specify the color mode, and then set your display to sRGB.

      If you can't set the color mode on your display, but you can select a color temperature (also called a white point), set the color temperature to D65 (or 6500).

    • Locate the menu to set gamma. Set gamma to 2.2, which is the default setting.

    • If you can’t locate any of these settings, locate a setting in the on-screen display menu that allows you to reset your display to the factory default color settings, and then choose that option.

    • If you can't set one or more of the color settings on your display because the setting isn't shown in the on-screen display menu, click Next to continue without modifying any color settings at this time.

Gamma

Gamma describes the relationship between the digital input value and the intensity of the light that's emitted from the display. In Display Color Calibration, you can adjust gamma by using a sample image that displays different circles.

  1. On the How to adjust gamma page, follow the instructions and look at the sample images that appear, and then click Next.

  2. On the Adjust gamma page, drag the on-screen slider so that the small dot in the middle of each circle vanishes. Click Next to continue.

    Picture showing good gamma
    Good gamma

Brightness

Brightness determines how dark colors and shadows appear on your display. By adjusting the brightness for your display, you can make sure that dark colors appear accurately, while still being able to see shadows, outlines, and other details in the darker images. If brightness is set too high, black colors appear light and gray.

  1. On the Find the brightness and contrast controls for your display page, locate the brightness and contrast controls for your particular display, and then click Next.

    For more information about finding the brightness control for different displays, see Adjust your monitor's brightness and contrast.

  2. Set the contrast by doing one of the following, depending on the type of monitor:

    • If you're calibrating an LCD monitor, set the contrast to the default factory setting (if it's not already set to the default setting).

    • If you're calibrating a CRT monitor, locate the contrast control, and then set the contrast to the highest setting.

  3. On the How to adjust brightness page, look at the sample images, and click Next.

  4. With the Adjust brightness page in view, adjust the brightness by doing one of the following, depending on your monitor's display and its capabilities, and then click Next.

    • Press the Menu button on the front edge of your monitor. An on-screen menu will appear. Locate the Brightness setting.

    • If your monitor has a Brightness button on the front of it, press the Brightness button, and then adjust the brightness.

    • If you're using a laptop, often you can adjust the brightness by holding down the Fn key, and then pressing the corresponding function key to increase (Picture of the Increase brightness button) or decrease (Picture of the Decrease brightness button) the brightness of the display.

    When adjusting the brightness, increase or decrease the brightness until you can distinguish the shirt from the suit in the picture. If you see a large X in the background above the person's shoulder, lower the brightness until the X disappears.

    Picture showing good brightness
    Good brightness

Contrast

Contrast determines how white and light colors appear and ensures that highlights in images are displayed accurately on your display.

  1. On the How to adjust the contrast page, look at the sample images that appear, and click Next.

  2. With the Adjust contrast page in view, adjust the contrast by doing one of the following, depending on your monitor's display and its capabilities, and then click Next.

    • Press the Menu button on the front edge of your monitor. An on-screen menu will appear. Locate the Contrast setting.

    • If your monitor has a Contrast button on the front of it, press the Contrast button, and adjust the contrast.

    When adjusting the contrast, set the contrast as high as it will go without losing the ability to see the buttons and wrinkles on the person's shirt in the picture.

    Picture showing good contrast
    Good contrast

    For more information about finding the contrast controls for different displays, see Adjust your monitor's brightness and contrast.

Note

  • There are usually no controls for adjusting the contrast on a laptop display.

Color balance

Adjust the color balance to avoid seeing any color cast in images on your display. When adjusting the color balance, make sure that the gray bars appear as neutral gray colors without any color cast. Color cast causes colors in images to appear incorrectly.

  1. On the How to adjust color balance page, look at the sample images that appear, and then click Next.

  2. On the Adjust color balance page, drag the red, green, and blue on-screen sliders until the gray bars appear as neutral gray colors without any color cast. Click Next to continue.

    Picture showing good color balance
    Good color balance

View your calibration

After you've changed settings in Display Color Calibration, you can compare your new current calibration to your previous one, and then choose the calibration that looks best to you. You might notice that the two calibrations are quite similar.

  1. On the You've successfully created a new calibration page, click Previous calibration to see your display calibration before using Display Color Calibration.

  2. On the You've successfully created a new calibration page, click Current calibration to see your new display calibration after using Display Color Calibration.

  3. Do one of the following, depending on which calibration you want to use:

    • To use the new calibration, click Finish.

    • To use the previous calibration, click Cancel.

  4. (Optional) Select the Start ClearType Tuner when I click Finish to ensure that text appears correctly (Recommended) check box if you want the ClearType Text Tuner to open after you click Finish. This will help to make sure that text appears clearly with your new calibration. For more information about the ClearType Text Tuner, see What is the ClearType Text Tuner?