How to calibrate your monitor: An in-depth guide

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Disappointed by your monitor’s image quality? You might be able to improve it through monitor calibration. Learning to calibrate your monitor will make the most of its potential, and while you can purchase expensive tools for this task, you can often achieve a noticeable improvement without them.

This guide will explain how to calibrate your monitor, step by step.

How to start monitor calibration in Windows 10

Windows and MacOS have very basic built-in calibration utilities. They’re limited and won’t help you understand how your monitor works, but they’re a good place to start.

Here’s how to start calibrating a monitor on Windows.

  • Use Windows Search to search for display calibration.
  • Select Calibrate display color from the results.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions.

Here’s how to start calibrating a monitor on MacOS.

  • Open System Settings.
  • Select Displays.
  • Open the Color tab in the Displays menu.
  • Tap Calibrate.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions.

Taking the next step

The calibration utilities in Windows 10 and MacOS are only a start. They will help you work out serious problems with your calibration, like an incorrect contrast setting or wildly terrible display gamma value. They’re more focused on providing a usable image than an enjoyable one, however. You can do more.

Before we get started, let’s bust a popular myth about calibration: there is no such thing as a perfect monitor or a perfect calibration. Image quality is subjective and, for most people, the goal of calibration should be improving perceived quality on the monitor you own.

With that said, a variety of standards exist. Each provides a set of values everyone can target. Dozens, perhaps hundreds of standards exist, but sRGB is the standard most common to computers. Other common standards include:

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