Windows 10 How to calibrate your display

Out of the factory, monitors and laptop screens can present washed out colors, a shift in RGB tones, and various other issues. Other times, the ambient lighting of the room can affect the visuals of your display and make it hard to see. As such, it’s often worthwhile to calibrate your monitor in Windows 10, and we’re going to show you how.

The changes you make through Windows 10 color calibration won’t drastically change the quality of your monitor – for that, you’ll need new hardware. However, they can fix glaring issues like poor gamma, warm or cold hues, and washed-out colors by adjusting your ICM/ICC profile.

The tool also guides you towards the correct settings for your screen’s OSD, which can do a better job than Windows software alone. Calibrating your monitor with Windows 10’s native tools is still no replacement for a professional hardware-based approach, and shouldn’t be used for serious photography work, but it can enhance your general day-to-day experience when playing games or watching movies. Let’s get started:

Calibrate Your Monitor in Windows 10

Time needed: 5 minutes.

You don’t need advanced knowledge to Calibrate your monitor in Windows 10 is easy, but you will need some familiarity with the display’s OSD and a good eye for detail.

  1. Open the display calibration tool

    To start the process press the Windows key and type “calibrate display color”. Select the relevant control panel result, as pictured below.

    Windows 10 - Calibrate Display Color

  2. Start the wizard

    The Display Color Calibration wizard will now launch. Read the text on its start screen and press “Next”.

    Windows 10 - Display Color Calibration

  3. Reset your Windows 10 color calibration and align the OSD

    You’ll want to start on a level playing field when calibrating your display, which means resetting your monitor to its defaults via the On-Screen Display (OSD). Some interfaces have an option specifically for this, but on others, you’ll have to manually move each back to where they started. Things to look out for include the color sliders, which should all be at 50, and the gamma setting. If your monitor allows it, you may also want to move the OSD to the side so you can get an uninterrupted view of the calibration window. When ready, hit “Next”.
    Windows 10 - Display Color Calibration - Set basic color settings

  4. Take note of the correct gamma calibration

    The wizard will now show you what a display with correctly optimized gamma should look like. Essentially, you want the dots in the middle to be a grey tone that blends, rather than a black or white circle. Press “Next”.

    Windows 10 - Display Color Calibration - How to adjust gamma

  5. Adjust your gamma to match

    Windows will now provide you with a slider from which you can calibrate your display’s gamma. However, it’s worth noting that you should always use your monitors OSD gamma first if it has one. It may instead have the option of several presets, in which case you should select the one that looks closest to use and use the monitor calibration slider to get the rest of the way. This should remedy issues if your Windows 10 colors are washed out. When ready, press “Next”.

    Windows 10 - Display Color Calibration - adjust gamma

  6. Decide if you need a brightness and contrast adjustment

    The next step is to adjust the brightness and contrast of your display, but it’s worth noting that you can skip this if you’re already happy with those values. If this is your first time calibrating, find the brightness and contrast settings on your display and press “Next”.

    Windows 10 - Display Color Calibration - Find the brightness and contrast controls for your display

  7. Study the example images

    Again, Windows 10 will show you what a good brightness and contrast ratio looks like. Once you’re happy you can spot the difference, press “Next”.

    Windows 10 - Display Color Calibration - How to adjust brightness

  8. Adjust your brightness

    In the OSD, move the brightness up and down until you’re happy with the results. The X behind the man should be just visible, but you should be able to tell the shirt from the jacket. If your monitor is low quality, it may not be possible to hit both at once. In such a case, just go for what’s closest or most visually pleasing to your eye. Test your calibration with the lights on and off to ensure the brightness won’t be too strong in the dark but is visible during the day. Press “Next”.

    Windows 10 - Display Color Calibration - Adjust brightness

  9. Study the correct contrast guidance

    You’ll be presented with more example images that show the difference between low, high, and good contrast. When you’ve studied them, press “Next”.

    Windows 10 - Display Color Calibration - How to adjust the contrast

  10. Adjust your contrast

    Move your OSD’s contrast slider to be as high as possible without losing detail. Too high, and the whites on the shirt will be ‘blown out’, rendering you unable to see the buttons and creases.

    Windows 10 - Display Color Calibration - Adjust contrast

  11. Read the color balance guidance

    Now it’s time to perform your Windows 10 color calibration. The purpose of this step is to remove any ‘tint’ to your monitor, making the greys appear truly grey, instead of having a green, blue, or red shift. Check the images for examples and click “Next”.

    Windows 10 - Display Color Calibration - How to adjust color balance

  12. Perform Windows 10 color calibration

    A series of grey bars will appear on the screen, like in the example images. Sit in the position you normally use the PC to account for any viewing angle differences and use your OSD to get the greys as neutral as possible. If you’re unable to do so, you can use the built-in software sliders instead. Press “Next”.

    Windows 10 - Display Color Calibration - Adjust color balance

  13. Decide whether to optimize your text display

    You have now calibrated your monitor with Windows 10’s built-in tool. You can check this configuration against your previous one with the “Previous calibration” button, but bear in mind that this will not roll back changes made via your monitor’s OSD. As a result, it’s of limited use and could give inaccurate comparisons.

    Finally, decide if you’d like to start the ClearType Tuner, which lets you adjust your font thickness and other properties for the best viewing experience. Tick or untick the box and press “Finish”.

    Windows 10 - Display Color Calibration - Start Cleartype Tuner