Ever wondered why an image looks different on every monitor? Why do some of the pictures taken from a phone look surprisingly better on another phone’s display? The answer is how the display has been configured to output the correct color of that picture. Imagine a configuration file that is built according to the hardware to make sure it can pick up the right color from the images and display it. This file is called a Color Profile.
Install a Color Profile using an ICC Profile
In this post, I will show how you can install a color profile in Windows 11/10 using an ICC Profile by covering the following topics:
- What is a color profile?
- What are ICM and ICC Files?
- Find and download the color profile for your Monitor
- Install a color profile in Windows 11/10
Make sure to go through each of them before installing the color profile for your monitor.
1] What is a color profile?
While I have explained it in simple words above, let’s dig a little deeper. There are aspects when it comes to displaying an accurate color—Display Driver and Monitor. A combination of both defines how many colors it displays. I will keep the display driver away from here.
A color profile is like a manual that defines how a monitor can create colors, and how to use the colors. They are written per the hardware of the monitor. You can also call them Blue Prints. So when OS wants to print color on display, it needs to use this blueprint to draw accordingly.
If you don’t see the same color as you see in the real world, then the display or the monitor doesn’t have the correct color profile.
And it is not just the monitor. Printers need a color profile to print correctly; Scanners need a color profile to scan files with the same color of the document and so on.
2] What are ICM and ICC Files?
Image Color Management or ICM is the extension of the color profile for displays. When a display driver is installed, an ICM file is also installed. If the ICM file is not available, then Windows will use a general ICM file that works with most of the displays. That’s the reason why the installation of the ICM file is essential.
ICC or International Color Consortium is the same as ICM files. Windows 10 treats both of them as equals.
3] How to find and download color profiles for your Monitor?
You must find the correct ICC profile, which is specifically for your monitor. If you install an incorrect color profile, then the colors will not appear correct.
The only place you can get the right profile for your monitor is the OEM website. The ICC or ICM file is available with the driver setup.
- First, find out the exact monitor model. You should have it in your bill, or you can find it written at the back of the monitor. If you still cannot find it, open Device Manager > Monitors, and it will list all the monitors with the exact model name. Note it somewhere.
- Go to the OEM website and locate the Driver download section. It is usually available in Downloads or Support.
- When you find it, download it on the computer and extract it.
For example, LG has drivers available in its Software and Support Page. I recently bought a 24-inch LG monitor model 24MP59G. So here is how I downloaded the drivers
- Open their Software and Support Page.
- Type model no 24MP59G, and hit the Search button
- It automatically located the drivers for Windows, Mac, and if there is anything else.
- Download the file and extracted the folder. It has the driver and the ICC file inside it.
The chances are that if there is additional software available for the monitor, it will be listed here.
I downloaded the OnScreen software, which helps me split my screen into different sizes and then place the windows accordingly.
4] How to install a color profile in Windows 11/10 using ICC Profile
Installing a color profile is very close to how we install fonts in Windows 11/10.
Locate the ICC or ICM file in the folder you extracted above. Then right-click on the file and then choose the install profile from the context menu. That’s it.
The color profile is installed instantly without any additional steps. A restart of the computer may finally make it effective. When using multiple monitor setups, you need to install the color profile for individual monitors.
Install a color profile using Color Management
If for some reason, it doesn’t work, then we can use the Color Management feature in Windows 10 to install the ICC or the ICM file.
In the Start menu search box, type “Color Management.” It will display the Color management option. Click to open. Here you can manage color profiles for all the devices related to the display. It can be Fax machine or printer or display.
- Select the monitor for which you need to install the color profile. Click on the identify monitor to confirm.
- Under profiles associated with the selected display, all the color profiles will be listed. Yes it is possible to have multiple color profiles, and you can switch between them
- Check the box which says — Use my settings for this device
- It will enable the Add button. Click on it, and select the ICM or ICC file.
- Once added, it will be available as one of the profiles.
- Select it and set it as the default profile in Windows 11/10.
Having done that, the next thing you should do is calibrate your display. It is crucial, as per my experience. While setting up the monitor at home, I found the red balance of the screen was on the higher side. I had to reduce it a bit to make it look natural.
I hope this tutorial was easy to understand, and that you were able to install a color profile in Windows 11/10 using ICC Profile.