How to Calibrate Your Monitor (2024)

How to calibrate your monitor

Many of us simply don’t realise that our computer screens need calibrating from time to time to keep them in top working order. That’s because, over time, monitors can fall out of whack. If you think the image on your screen isn’t quite what it used to be, your eyes probably aren’t deceiving you. Chances are it’s time for a calibration.

Luckily, it’s fairly straightforward to calibrate any monitor at home in just a few simple steps. There’s no need to put up with out-of-balance brightness or poor-quality images. Equally, chances are there’s nothing seriously wrong with your screen. By learning how to calibrate you’ll be saving yourself a lot of time and money in expensive repairs or replacements.

In this article, we’ll be teaching you all about calibration. Why is it important? How can you know if your monitor needs calibrating? And, last but certainly not least, how to calibrate your monitor.

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

You’ll have a crystal-clear screen in no time at all.

What is calibration?

Calibration is the process of optimising the colour output of your screen. Sometimes, over time, monitors can get out of whack. Calibration is just the process of getting your monitor display back to its factory standard. Calibration involves adjusting visual settings like brightness and contrast to reduce image distortion and inaccuracies.

Colour calibrating is super important. Especially if your work involves images, graphics, or photos. If your monitor isn’t properly calibrated what you see on the screen probably isn’t as accurate as it could be. The darks may appear darker and the lights may appear lighter, for example.

The images on our computer screens are made up of individual pixels. And each pixel is a combination of red, blue, and green. These three colours are combined in varying amounts to create the specific colours needed to display an image accurately. When a display is calibrated properly, an image will always look the same. Without calibration, images may become altered.

There are many ways to calibrate a monitor. You could take it to a professional. You could invest in a designated hardware calibrator. Or (and this is what we’ll be discussing today) you can use your computer’s inbuilt calibration application to manually adjust your monitor’s display settings and colour output.

Signs you need to calibrate your monitor

With time we tend to stop noticing things. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why so many of us forget – or never think to- calibrate our monitor displays. Unless you’re seriously on the ball, chances are you won’t even notice the gradual degradation of colour, brightness, glare, and tone.

But it’s there alright.

Signs that your screen is due a calibration include:

  • A ‘washed out’ effect
  • Excessive glare
  • Excessive shadow
  • Colour gradation
  • Oversaturation in images/ videos

If in doubt- calibrate. You’ll be amazed by the results.

Benefits of calibrating your monitor

Calibrating your own monitor regularly comes with some great benefits. Especially if you’re someone who spends a lot of time working with images and photos. It’s important that your monitor display is calibrated in order to achieve accurate photo retouching and editing.

Benefits include:

Increased colour accuracy

One of the main reasons for calibrating a display is to regain optimum colour accuracy. Show room settings do not last forever. You’ll need to calibrate your monitor regularly to retain full colour accuracy. It’s also important to calibrate your screen every time you move it to a different location.

Optimized performance

Calibration maintains optimal performance levels. Default calibrations are great for most of us, but if you have specialist needs (for example if you’re a graphic designer or photographer) then you will probably want to make some adjustments.

Standardised image outputs

If you want your image outputs to remain consistent in colour then it’s essential that you calibrate your monitor regularly.

Financial saving

Last but not least, calibrating your monitor means that it will serve you for longer. Most of the time, even if your monitor seems a bit out of shape, there’s no need to send it to the scrap heap. Calibration will give it a second chance at life and save you money in the process.

It’s better for your eyes

Did you know that calibrating your monitor can actually help reduce eye strain? Eye strain is a common problem these days, with more and more of us working long hours at computer screens. And a poorly calibrated monitor could be adding to the problem. If that’s not a reason to calibrate, I don’t know what is!

How to calibrate your monitor: A step-by-step guide

Calibrating your monitor manually is very straightforward. And almost all of us will need to do this at one point or another. For the majority of us a manual calibration will do just fine. This approach uses your computer’s pre-built calibration software to enhance and adjust your monitor’s colour balance.


The first step involves some basic prep. Look out for the signs that your monitor needs calibration and, if in doubt, do it anyway! Calibration is especially important for high-resolution monitors if you want to benefit fully from the full breadth of colour on offer.


Manual calibration involves using our own eyes, so it’s important to give your monitor a quick dust and clean before starting the process.


It’s important that your monitor is out of direct sunlight during the calibration process Aim for neutral lighting away from any artificial or direct natural light.


Connect your monitor to a laptop or computer using either a display port or HDMI cable. Then leave your monitor to warm up for approximately 30 minutes, ensuring that it doesn’t go into hibernation mode – you may need to stay nearby to jiggle the mouse around and prevent the screen from turning off.


Before commencing calibration, turn your monitor’s resolution back to its default settings. To do this on Windows PC simply navigate to Settings > System > Display > Resolution > Recommended. To do this on Mac navigate to System preferences > Displays > Display tab > default for display.


Finally, it’s calibration time. The process varies depending on whether your monitor is connected to a PC or Mac computer. But don’t worry, we’re going to run you through both options separately.

How to calibrate a monitor using a PC

If you’re using a Windows PC, you’ll need to open the calibration tool.

Type calibrate display colour into the start menu and select.

If using a dual monitor setup, ensure that the calibration tool is registering the correct display.

If you haven’t already, set your monitor to factory-default colour settings.

Review the Good Gamma example and adjust your display gamma using the slider to match.

Review the Good Brightness example and adjust your display brightness using the slider to match.

Review the Good Contrast example and adjust your display brightness using the slider to match.

Adjust your colour balance until it reads neutral.

Click Previous Calibration to review before and after calibration samples.

Alternative calibration methods

Using our own eyesight to calibrate our monitors using the in-built calibration applications on our computer is usually perfectly adequate. However, there are some disadvantages. After all, human eyesight is not 100% reliable. The alternative is a calibration device. for many of us this is an unnecessary investment, however for professional photographers and designers, it’s probably worth the expense. A calibration device will offer accurate colour profiling and pre-print previewing. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Datacolor SpyderX Pro
  • X-Rite i1 Display Pro
  • Datacolor SpyderX Studio
  • X-Rite i1Display Studio
  • X-Rite i1Display Pro Plus

Calibrate for better colour

Whatever you use your monitor for, whether that be general use or professional image rendering, regular calibration is important for keeping your screen working at its best. Failing to calibrate your monitor can result in poor quality imagery, distortion, and colour inaccuracies. Calibrating your monitor is the best way to maintain accurate colour balance and a clear display. Only with regular calibration can you know whether what you’re seeing is actually what most people are seeing. Whatever your motivation, go out there and calibrate your monitor today!

How to Calibrate Your Monitor (2024)


Can you calibrate a monitor without a tool? ›

If you don't own a calibration device, you can still calibrate a monitor manually, but you can't profile it. The disadvantages of calibrating a monitor without a device are as follows: Human eyesight is unreliable, so the more you “eyeball” during the calibration process, the further astray you may go.

What is the best calibration setting for a monitor? ›

If you're working with video on an LCD monitor, the recommended white point is 6500K or D65. This is also known as the native temperature of your monitor. If you're working with still images that you plan to print, the white point of 5000K (D50) is recommended, as it looks more like white on paper.

How do I calibrate my monitor to look the same? ›

To get the best possible match between your monitors, calibrate them to the same color temperature, brightness and gamma settings if possible. Use the monitor with the lowest brightness as your common denominator for all the other monitors.

How do I get my monitors perfectly aligned? ›

To line up your monitors effectively, right-click on the desktop and go to Display Settings. For people using Windows 10 and 11, all you need to do is drag the rectangles until they can match the monitor's orientation.

Do all monitors need calibration? ›

some monitors cannot be calibrated. you need RGB controls, brightness controls, a video card and driver that can take a profile, and not too much ambient light in the room.

Is there an app to calibrate monitor? ›

The Windows HDR Calibration app helps you improve color accuracy and consistency. It also lets you customize how vividly colors will appear for both HDR and SDR (standard dynamic range) content when HDR is turned on.

Is it worth it to calibrate your monitor? ›

It's an essential part of your editing workflow in the first place! Because, if your monitor isn't calibrated, (and especially as your display ages) you may be editing your photos “wrong”, and because your monitor is off, that means everybody else is seeing something very different from you!

How much does it cost to calibrate a monitor? ›

Monitor calibration kits and/or monitor-printer calibration kits have been around for some time now, and many work quite well. They can range in cost from just under $100 to more than $500. Without question, hardware calibration is the most accurate method.

How should a monitor be adjusted? ›

Monitor tips
  1. Adjust the monitor height so that the top of the screen is at—or slightly below—eye level.
  2. Your eyes should look slightly downward when viewing the middle of the screen.
  3. Position the monitor at least 20 inches (51 cm) from your eyes—about an arm's length distance.

How often should you calibrate a monitor? ›

Most color experts recommend calibrating your display monitor every two weeks for optimal results.

How do I tell if my monitor is calibrated correctly? ›

On a perfectly calibrated monitor, you'd be able to distinguish (if only just barely) the difference between the white central row and the block labeled 254. More typically, a "good" monitor would let you see the boundary between the center row and the 250 or 251 block.

Where do I calibrate my monitor? ›

Here are some steps on how to change your color settings:
  • Open your control panel.
  • Navigate to color management.
  • Click on the calibrate display button.
  • Read the instructions on how to adjust your screen.
May 23, 2023

How do I manually adjust my monitor settings? ›

View display settings in Windows
  1. Select Start > Settings > System > Display.
  2. If you want to change the size of your text and apps, choose an option from the drop-down menu next to Scale. ...
  3. To change your screen resolution, use the drop-down menu next to Display resolution.

How do I realign my monitor? ›

Simply type “Control Panel” in the search bar and select “Display” from the menu. From here, you can adjust the screen resolution and position. If the option doesn't appear, ensure you're using the latest version of Windows.

How to properly adjust monitor brightness and contrast? ›

For Windows users, right-click on the desktop and select “Display Settings.” Here, you'll find options to adjust the brightness and contrast. For macOS, go to System Preferences and select "Displays." You'll find similar settings to adjust.

How do I adjust monitor Display settings? ›

View display settings in Windows
  1. Select Start > Settings > System > Display.
  2. If you want to change the size of your text and apps, choose an option from the drop-down menu next to Scale. ...
  3. To change your screen resolution, use the drop-down menu next to Display resolution.


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