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How to calibrate the printer

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How to calibrate the printer: Have you bought a new photo printer to imprint your memories on paper but, after using it, did you realize that the colors look different from what you see on your computer screen? Most likely, you need to calibrate the printerthat is, to align the color gamut displayed on the screen with that used by the printer.

If you don’t have the faintest idea how to do it, then know that you are in the right place, at the right time: in the course of this tutorial, in fact, it will be my responsibility to provide you with some valuable information regarding the calibration of printing devices, together with a series of tips to put everything into practice in the best possible way.

So, without hesitating further, make yourself comfortable and carefully read everything I have to explain to you on the subject: I’m sure that, at the end of reading this guide, you will have acquired the necessary skills to be able to make more than satisfactory prints. Having said that, there is nothing left for me to do, except wish you good reading and have fun!

Preliminary information

In most cases, the need for calibrate the printer arises from an obvious discrepancy between what is displayed on the screen and what is subsequently imprinted on paper: it is not uncommon, in fact, that an apparently perfect image on the PC screen (perhaps following targeted changes ) is then rendered, in the printing phase, with some imperfections, especially on the brightness of the colors applied or on the small shades, which could be “smudged”.

I think it is right to clarify immediately that solving this problem is not always very easy, since the factors that affect the “inequalities” between the display on the screen and the result obtained in the printing phase are really many: the color profile in use from the monitor, the printer and any photo editing program; there quality of the color cartridges; the general state of the printer; there quality and watermark of the paper used are just a few examples.

A fairly effective way to get at least an acceptable result is to have your monitor, printer, and software share the same same color profile (or ICC): by doing so, the digital information on color should be interpreted equally by all the devices involved, ensuring that, during the printing phase, the result is as faithful as possible to what is seen on the screen.

In a professional setting, custom color profiles (which can vary greatly depending on your monitor, video card, and printing hardware) can be generated using a device called digital colorimeter: it is a kind of probe which, combined with a special software, allows to generate a specific color profile for the monitor and graphics hardware in use, also taking into account “external” factors, such as ambient light. This personalized profile must then be given “as a meal” to the printer.


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Colorimeters have a cost that is anything but low and are not easy to use, especially if you are not familiar with the work and are not familiar with the color adjustment parameters.

The theme of my guide, on the other hand, will be to carry out a basic calibration at a “home” level: I will teach you, in fact, to intervene on some system settings and programs, so that all the elements involved in the manipulation and printing of the photos share the same ICC. You may not get a super-professional result, but I guarantee you that, in many cases, the improvement is really noticeable!

How to calibrate the printer

Having made all the necessary clarifications, the time has come to take action and to explain to you, in practice, how to calibrate the printer, in order to minimize the differences between what you see on your computer monitor and what you see on printed paper. As I have already explained to you previously, everything is based on the use of the same color profile between hardware and software, at least in the home environment.


How to calibrate the Windows 10 printer

If you use Windowsyou have to intervene on the color profiles in use using the Control panel classic. So first, open the menu Start (by clicking on the icon in the shape of flag located in the lower left corner of the screen), type the words color management in the search field and click on the first result that appears (the one that says “Control Panel”).

Once in the Color Management screen, go to the tab Devices and select the name of your monitor from the drop-down menu located next to the wording Device. Then, put the check mark next to the item Use custom settings for the deviceclick on the button Add… and select the ICC profile of your interest, among those present under the heading OCC profiles (eg. sRGB IEC61966-2.1). To conclude, click on the button OK in order to apply the changes.

Now is the time to take action on printer: returned to the main screen of Color managementselect yours first name from the list of available devices and repeat the same operations already seen for the monitor (the steps are almost identical). Finally, click on the button several times OKin order to close all active windows and restart your computer.

The bulk is practically done! From now on, Windows and all system applications (eg. Photo) will use the same color profile installed on the printer. Keep in mind that some photo editing programs (eg. Photoshop) bypass this setting, applying different color profiles if necessary. To ensure that this does not happen, you have to manually set one, acting through the settings of the program itself: further on I’ll explain how to do it.


How to calibrate the Mac printer

If you employ a MacInstead, do this: To choose a custom screen color profile, open the System Preferences (by clicking on the icon in the shape ofgear placed on the Dock), click on the icon Monitor and then on the board Color, located on the screen that opens. Finally, select the monitor profile which you prefer (eg. sRGB IEC61966-2.1) from the appropriate box.

At this point, all you have to do is apply the same color profile to the printer: to be able to do this, go to the menu Go> Utilities located on the Mac menu bar, open theColorSync utility and go to the card Deviceswhich stands at the top.

Once this is done, expand the entry Printers (located on the left), select the first name of your printer, then the voice Color and click on downward angular arrow placed next to the wording Current profile (To the right). Finally, choose the voice Other from the menu that is proposed to you and select the printer profile of your interest (eg. sRGB Profile) by clicking on its icon. When you’re done, hit the button You open and, if prompted, enter the Mac passwordto apply the changes.

Also in this case, what has already been said for Windows applies: if you use a third-party program (eg. Photoshop) for the manipulation and printing of the images, you will have to set the ICC profiles for viewing and printing, directly from within it. Find everything explained in the next section of this guide.

Third Party Software

How to calibrate the printer

As I explained earlier, some programs dedicated to images bypass the system settings, applying custom color profiles when viewing images (with consequent potential discrepancy during printing).

To remedy the problem, you must make sure that this software is configured correctly and that, as a color profile, the same one in use by the printer is applied. On Photoshopfor example, you have to go to the menu Edit> Color Settingsselect the item Personal from the drop-down menu Settings and choose the color profile you prefer from the drop-down menu RGB. When you are done, click on the button OK to apply the changes.

On GIMPon the other hand, you can make sure that the color management profile of the images coincides with the one in use by the monitor: to do this, go to the menu Edit> Preferences and click on the section Color management placed on the sidebar of the screen that opens.

Now, set the drop down menu Image view mode on Color managed screen and put the check mark next to the item Try using the system monitor profile. When you are done, click on the button OK.

Now, don’t forget to set the same profile, if the printing operation was managed by the same software: always taking Adobe Photoshop as an example, after going to the menu File> Printmake sure in the drop-down menu Color treatment the wording is specified Color management performed by the printer.

If, on the other hand, you have chosen to use a display profile that is only available within Photoshop, set the aforementioned drop-down menu to Color management performed by Photoshop and choose the ICC profile you prefer (the same one you used for the image rendering) from the drop-down menu Printer profile.

Regarding GIMPinstead, the profile set for the printer is used by default.

Clearly, the menus and windows may vary according to the program you are using but, in any case, the steps I mentioned earlier can be easily readjusted to the most “popular” software.