How to Change Color Management Settings

Change color management settings

Associate color profiles with a device
Change color settings for a device for all users on the computer
What’s the default rendering intent?
Display calibration

Color management systems ensure that color content is rendered everywhere as accurately as possible—including on devices, such as your monitor display and your printer.

Color management systems help to ensure that colors appear the same on different devices

Different types of devices have different color characteristics and capabilities. For example, your monitor display can’t show the same set of colors that a printer can reproduce. This is because each device uses a different process to produce color content. Scanners and digital cameras have different color characteristics as well. Even different programs will occasionally interpret and process colors differently. Without a consistent color management system, the same picture can look different on each of these devices.

How color content appears also depends on the viewing conditions (such as ambient lighting) because the human eye adapts to different lighting conditions, even when viewing the same picture. Color management systems maintain an acceptable appearance of color on devices with different color capabilities and across different viewing conditions.

When to change color management settings
You shouldn’t have to change your color management settings very often. Usually, the default color management settings will be fine. Only change these settings if you have specific color management requirements that aren’t being met by your current color settings. These options are generally meant for use by color professionals.

Consider changing your color management settings if you want to do one or more of the following:

Add or remove a color profile.

Associate one or more different color profiles with one of your devices.

Change the default color profile for one of your devices.

Change the system default color settings for a specific device for all users on the computer.

Change your default rendering intent or color space default.

What’s a color profile?
A color profile is a file that describes the color characteristics of a specific device while it’s in a particular state. A profile can also contain additional information defining viewing conditions or gamut-mapping methods. Working with your computer’s color management system, color profiles help ensure that color content is acceptably rendered, regardless of the device or viewing condition.

In a color management system, color profiles are used to create color transforms, which programs use to convert color from one device’s color space to another. (A color space is a three-dimensional model in which the hue, lightness, and chroma of colors are graphed to represent the rendering capabilities of a device.) When a new device is added to your computer, a color profile for that device might be installed automatically.

There are two main types of color profiles that Windows continues to support: Windows Color System (WCS) and International Color Consortium (ICC) color profiles. This provides you with the greatest variety of choices for customizing color management options and color workflows. WCS is an advanced color management system found in recent versions of Windows. While supporting ICC profile–based color management, WCS provides advanced capabilities not found in existing ICC color management systems.

To add a color profile for a device
Color profiles are usually added automatically when new color devices are installed. Color profiles might also be added by color management tools, such as calibration devices for monitors. It’s likely that color profiles for your devices are already installed on your computer. However, if you need to install a new color profile, follow these steps:

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