The world is full of color, and when it comes to seeing the world on screen, it should be captured in all its vivid glory.
Having a 4K display is all well and good, but ambient temperature changes can affect color, brightness, and other settings on your screen. That’s why it’s a good idea to carry out a monthly monitor color test.
Why is it important to run a monitor color test?
For professional graphic designers and photographers, color accuracy is essential and there are a ton of pricey gadgets available to fine-tune their monitors. But what about the rest of us? Does color really matter for the average user?
Absolutely! And here’s why.
Nowadays, so much of the entertainment we enjoy is done via our computer screen. Whether it’s marveling over your latest holiday photos or binge-watching the new must-see Netflix special, the chances are that you’ll be doing it out on a monitor.
So, you want to see the content in the way that it was created. Imagine taking an incredible panoramic shot of a turquoise sea, only to find it reproduced in a lifeless gray color.
Let’s find out how you can ensure your computer’s color accuracy is on point without having to shell out for an expensive piece of kit.
How to run a monitor color test
Monitor color tests are a quick and easy way to configure your monitor’s color accuracy, as well as other settings, like contrast and sharpness.
Before starting any test, always do the following:
Let your computer warm up before carrying out the test (30 mins for LCD monitors, 50 for CRT monitors and 70 mins for LED monitors). This is because monitors take a short while to reach their full brightness.
Set your monitor to its native resolution. This is the actual number of pixels physically built into your monitor. All other resolutions are ‘supported resolutions,’ but the native resolution is the one your monitor was made for.
To do this on a PC, go to the control panel. Then, select settings and appearance. Select personalization, then adjust screen resolution. Click the drop-down menu and tick the resolution that’s marked ‘recommended.’
On a Mac, go to System Preferences, then Displays. Under Resolution, make sure Default for display is selected.
Check your room’s lighting. You want moderate ambient lighting – neither super bright or dark, but well-lit.
Familiarize yourself with your monitor’s display settings — such as color, contrast, brightness, etc. You’ll find them in your control panel, system preferences under the Display tab, or on the side of your monitor.
Now it’s time to run a test. Online monitor color tests offer you a quick, free calibration utility by showing you a series of test patterns. Then, depending on what you can and can’t see, you’ll adjust your monitor’s color settings, contrast, brightness, sharpness, etc.
TechBuddy recommends the following color test websites:
Eizo – a simple online test that enables you to test your monitor’s color, as well as other attributes like sharpness, pixels and optimum viewing angle.
Lagom – a detailed yet relatively easy to use color test website. Good for those with a decent understanding of computers.
W4ZT – a very simple test page that’s straightforward and quick. Ideal for those who aren’t quite so tech-savvy.
Calibrize – not strictly an online color test – you’ll have to download this one – Calibrize helps you to adjust your monitor’s color in three simple steps.
How to calibrate your monitor color through your OS
Your operating system will have a built-in color calibration feature. Here’s how to use it.
PC users can find a useful calibration tool in the Windows settings menu. It works much like online monitor color tests, where you look at images and adjust your monitor’s settings accordingly.
Go to the Start menu, then PC Settings, System and then Display. Scroll down and click on Advanced display settings.
On the next screen, click on Display adapter properties for Display 1.
Click on the Color Management tab, then click on the Color Management box.
Click on the Advanced tab, and select Calibrate display.
The Display Color Calibration utility will open. Follow the onscreen instructions, and manually adjust your settings.
For Mac users, there’s an automatic calibration tool that finds your monitor ideal color settings.
Open your System Preferences menu then click on Displays.
Click on the Color tab then on Calibrate. The Display Calibrator Assistant will open.
Click continue, then on the next screen make sure the box ‘Use native white point’ is ticked and click continue again.
At the next screen, if you’re not the only user profile on your computer tick the box saying ‘Allow others to use this calibration.’ This saves the settings for all users.
Next, give your profile a name and click continue. Your calibration is now complete.
So, there you have it. An important yet often overlooked part of setting up your computer, monitor color tests are a simple and effective way of making sure an optimal on-screen experience.
Need more help setting up your computer? Give a TechBuddy a call today!
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