How to calibrate the monitor

The calibration is an operation through which you can adjust the colors reproduced on a screen with the order to make them as faithful as possible to those obtained with the press on paper. It is a fundamental job for those who work with graphics and digital photography, but it can also be useful for those who, like you, consider themselves a simple enthusiast who wants to get a perfect (or almost) color rendering on their PC.

This is the reason why today I want to show you in detail how to calibrate the PC monitor in an easy, fast and, above all, free way using some “standard” tools on both Windows and macOS. Contrary to what you might think, in fact, to calibrate the PC monitor screen you don’t necessarily have to resort to special kits or expensive professional tools. Sounds like good news to me, right?

So what are you doing still standing there? Courage: get comfortable immediately, take all the time necessary to concentrate on reading the next paragraphs and, more importantly, scrupulously follow the “tips” that I will give you in the next paragraphs. If you do, you won’t have the slightest problem calibrating your monitor, whether it’s a Windows PC or a Mac. I wish you good reading and, above all, good calibration!


  • How to calibrate the PC monitor
    • How to calibrate the monitor: Windows 11
    • How to calibrate the monitor: Windows 10
    • How to calibrate the monitor: Mac
  • How to calibrate the photography monitor
  • How to calibrate the monitor with Photoshop
  • How to calibrate the screen of smartphones and tablets

How to calibrate the PC monitor

Do you use Windows and would like to know how to calibrate your PC monitor ? Know that you can do this using a tool included “standard” in the Microsoft operating system that is usable by versions equal to or higher than Windows 7. Let me explain how to proceed.

How to calibrate the monitor: Windows 11

Do you have a PC updated to Windows 11 ? In this case, know that you can calibrate the monitor using the special tool built into the operating system.

To use it, type the term “calibrate” in the search bar that opens by clicking on the magnifying glass , at the bottom left of the taskbar, and select the first match found, that is, Calibrate the screen color .

In the window that opens, then presses the Next button located at the bottom right, to start the screen calibration wizard. At this point, Windows will ask you to open the monitor’s internal control panel to specify the monitor’s basic color settings; if you cannot specify these settings, press the Next button .

In the screen displayed, you will then get the instructions necessary to adjust the color range: press the Next button once again and, after having read the adjustment examples that are shown to you, press the Next button and use the cursor located on the adjustment bar located on the left, above the Reset button to set the correct color range.

After completing this operation, press the Next button , always located at the bottom right, and read the instructions on how to adjust the brightness and contrast. You can choose to click the Override Brightness and Contrast Adjustment button to skip this step.

If you want to proceed with the adjustment of these parameters, press the Next button four times and read the instructions for changing the brightness , contrast and colors , via the internal panel of the monitor or through the red scroll bars , green and blue , located on the Adjust Color Balance screen .

Then click, again, on the Next button , then choose one of the two buttons Previous calibration and Current calibration to see “by eye” the differences between the two calibrations. If you are satisfied with the result, put the check mark on the item Start ClearType Tuner when you click on Finish to make sure that the text is displayed correctly (recommended) and press the Finish button to complete the procedure.

Calibrating the monitor is also possible through the OSD controls (on the back or on the lower part of the screen), through which you can manually increase or decrease the color, contrast, gamma and brightness values. In any case, I recommend that you keep the Windows calibration panels open for reference.

Another very convenient way to change monitor colors is to use the control panel of the installed video card . For example, if you have an integrated Intel video card  , you can access the Intel Graphics Command Center software  from the appropriate link in Start or on the desktop, select the Display item   from the left side menu and select the Color tab  .

If you have an NVIDIA video card , instead, right-click on an empty spot on the desktop , then access the NVIDIA Control Panel item .

Once this is done, go to the section called Adjust color settings , where you can find different sliders to use for changing colors. In section 3 , you can choose the blue, green or red channel on which to make the changes, through the appropriate scrolling menu, then you can increase or decrease brightness , contrast and gamma through the sliders. On the right, however, you can choose whether to use one of the three reference images for color calibration.

How to calibrate the monitor: Windows 10

If you want to calibrate the monitor on Windows 10 , know that you can count on the same calibration tool that we have just seen for Windows 11 and that it works practically the same way.

To use it, type the term “calibrate” in the search bar at the bottom left and select Calibrate the screen color from the results obtained. In the window that opens, then, presses the Next button to start the screen calibration wizard.

At this point, you can start with the calibration of gamma, contrast, brightness and colors as seen in the previous chapter.

How to calibrate the monitor: Mac

Do you use a Mac and would like to know if it is possible to calibrate the monitor using tools included in the operating system? It depends on the version of the operating system in use. From macOS 12 Monterey the options, in this sense, are limited, while in previous editions of the operating system there is a convenient integrated calibration tool.

To begin with, go to the macOS settings by clicking on the Apple logo located at the top left, in the menu bar, and click on the System Preferences item in the menu that opens.

In the next window, if you are using macOS 12 Monterey or later, select the color profile you prefer to use from the menu provided and – if available – use the white point options .

If, on the other hand, you are using macOS 11 or earlier, select the Displays option from System Preferences and choose the Color tab in the window that opens. Now, press the Calibrate button  located on the right and, in the Monitor Calibration Assistant screen , press the Continue button to start the wizard for creating a custom profile.

Follow the instructions given to you scrupulously: basically, you have to keep pressing the Continue button as you read the information you are given and, once you have created the calibrated profile, press the Finish button .

In particular, in the Introduction screen you will be explained in detail the calibration possibilities offered by the instrument. Check the Expert mode item to have more functions available. The first step is to determine the Target Range , which is what you want to achieve for your monitor.

Use the on-screen slider to increase or decrease the gamma, or click the Use original gamma checkbox to see the changes in progress. Once this is done, press the Continue button and repeat the operation through the next slider, the one to change the target white point .

At this point, all you have to do is press the Finish button to save the ColorSync profile that you set manually. This profile will also be assigned to any connected printers.

As soon as the monitor profile is ready, it will automatically be assigned to the monitor color profile . Since some third-party monitors that may be connected to your Mac have additional built-in functions for color calibration, I encourage you to also consult the documentation provided by them to make sure you are proceeding correctly.

How to calibrate the photography monitor

Now that I have shown you the various methods to correctly calibrate the colors, brightness and contrast of your monitor, it is time to give you some useful advice to set these parameters in the best possible way if you use your monitor for work in the field of photography .

First of all, you must know that to obtain a correct value of the colors red, blue and green, what you perceive “with the naked eye” is not enough . A tool called a colorimeter comes in handy for this function . This tool is nothing more than a sensor , which attaches to the monitor and scans the digital colors coming from it. You can also buy them at a good price online.

Remember that before calibrating the monitor with a colorimeter, the monitor itself must remain on for at least 30 minutes , in order to warm up and achieve true color display. Follow the instructions of the colorimeter itself to install and use it correctly on your monitor. In many cases, the colorimeter software itself will automatically calibrate .

In case you do not intend to spend too much, I suggest you to calibrate the colors through the Lagom website . This site allows you to carry out various tests to best view each type of image on your monitor. First, log into the site and get ready to set colors, gamma and brightness through one of the methods I mentioned earlier .

Once this is done, all you have to do is scroll through the pages of the site and calibrate your monitor properly as you are instructed . In any case, my advice to achieve an optimal result without having to spend anything is to rely on color profiles .

These profiles are in effect the instructions that are given to the monitor, which will display a greater or lesser number of colors in a certain way depending on the profile installed. One of the most used color profiles on monitors, for example, is the one called sRGB .

In case you intend to display a greater range of colors , that is the one that is used professionally on the most expensive cameras, the profile to install on your monitor is the one called Adobe RGB . Be careful though, only high-end monitors can correctly display this type of gamma.

But how do you download and install these profiles? You can find the Adobe RGB profile installation file directly on the manufacturer page . Click below on the operating system you want to install it on, then click on ICC profile download for End Users and accept the terms on the next page.

If the download does not happen automatically, you can click here . Once the downloaded file has been extracted, go to the RGB folder , then right-click on the AdobeRGB1998.icc profile and then click on Install profile .

Alternatively, you can manually move the profile into the path \WINDOWS\system32\spool\drivers\color. On Mac , the way forward is as follows: Utenti/[Nome]/Library/ColorSync/Profiles. Done! Now you will be able to use the profile with the most common photo editing software such as Photoshop , which I will tell you about shortly .

If, on the other hand, you want to search for a specific color profile for your monitor , I suggest you visit the TFT Central website , which contains hundreds of color profiles created by users for many monitor models.

What you have to do is simply browse the site through the Database Index panel , selecting the initial of your monitor and looking for it from the list that appears. Click on the monitor name to download the suitable profile. The installation of the profiles is always the same.

How to calibrate the monitor with Photoshop

To use the newly installed color profile on Photoshop and other Adobe software , such as Illustrator , the procedure is always the same. First, go to the Edit submenu , then access the Assign profile section .

In the drop-down menu that appeared, all you have to do is select one of the installed profiles, then click the OK button to confirm. The screen image will be displayed through the new color schemes installed on the PC. You can find more info here .

In case this method is too complicated, or you don’t need it, you can use one of the color calibration methods that I have indicated above , valid both for Windows devices and for Apple Macs .

How to calibrate the screen of smartphones and tablets

You bought a smartphone, but the screen colors seem too dull, right? No problem, you can refer to my guide on how to restore screen colors , in which I explain how to change the color settings on both Android devices and those with iOS / iPadOS operating systems .

Know that the procedure is really simple and intuitive and is often managed by a small function inside the Settings of the smartphone itself. If, on the other hand, you are wondering how to calibrate the touch-screen , know that for iOS / iPadOS devices this is not possible.

Different speech for the Android ones , so I invite you to read my guide on how to calibrate the touch-screen on Android .

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