Accurate color representation on a monitor is critical for any photographer, for anyone who edits videos, and even for gamers, because all displays are not created equally, and they render colors differently. So it's important to use the correct color profile to make sure your Windows 10 device shows colors as accurately as possible.

A color profile is a set of data that tells the OS how colors should be displayed. Only when the correct profile is installed on your computer for an image device (a monitor, camera, printer, or scanner) will you experience color accuracy as intended by the company that designed that device.

If there isn't a correct profile associated with your device, colors could look washed out or otherwise off on your screen. In other words, even though the OS does a pretty good job with color management, without a proper profile, colors could look a lot different than they would in real life or on paper.

If colors don't render correctly on your display, chances are that's not due to a problem with the monitor. It's likely that your computer is either not using the custom profile created by your display manufacturer or it's using the wrong profile.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to use Color Management to install the proper color profile on your computer, to get the best color representation on your monitor.

How to get the correct color profile for your monitor

Usually, manufacturers bundle their color profiles as .icm files within the display-driver packages that you can download from the web, or inside the disks that come with the monitors.

If you have your disk, simply open it on your computer, and extract the .icm file. If you don't have the disk, the best way to get the color profile you need is to visit your monitor manufacturer's support website and download the latest driver for the device.

This process may be slightly different depending on the manufacturer, but you can use the steps below to get the color profile you need.

  1. Head to your monitor manufacturer's support website.
  2. Using the model number, find and download the latest monitor driver. (Note: You want to get the monitor driver, not the video driver.)

  3. The download usually will be a package file with a .exe or .zip extension. When you find it, double-click the file and extract the content.

Inside the folder, you'll find a .icm file, which is the color profile for your monitor.

How to install the correct color profile for your monitor

The next step is to install the color profile .icm file on your computer. On Windows 10, you'll need to use the Color Management utility.

To install a color profile for your monitor, do the following:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Color Management and click the result.
  3. On the Devices tab, select the display for which you want to change the color profile from the drop-down menu.

    Quick Tip: If you have a multi-monitor setup, and you don't know which color profile you want to update, click the Identify monitors button.

  4. Check the Use my settings for this device option.
  5. Click the Add button.

  6. On the Associate Color Profile page, click the Browse button and locate the color profile you extracted earlier.

  7. Double-click the .icm file to install the new profile.
  8. Click Close to complete the task.

Once you complete these steps, you may notice that colors on your screen changed a bit. This is expected because you're telling the OS how to display the correct colors for your monitor.

If something goes wrong, or you simply want to revert the changes, you can follow the same steps mentioned above, but this time on step 3, click the Profiles button, and select Reset my settings to the system defaults.

Wrapping things up

Color Management on Windows 10 gives you an easy way to install custom color profiles. However, remember that most of the time, other devices, such as cameras, printers, and scanners, install their color profile automatically during the installation of the device drivers. You usually only have to worry about setting the proper color profile for your monitor.

In this guide, we're just scratching the surface on the topic, and there is a lot more to learn about color management. However, these simple steps will help you make sure colors look as natural as possible on your device.

More Windows 10 resources

For more help articles, coverage, and answers to common Windows 10 questions, visit the following resources: