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How to Calibrate your monitor to printer to get the best quality print out.

How to Calibrate your monitor to printer to get the best quality print out.

Matching the colors you see onscreen to colors on a printed page can be tricky. Several factors determine WYSIWYG printing. First, you need to verify your monitor is properly calibrated. If the monitor color settings are wrong, your final output will be skewed. There are a number of ways to calibrate the monitor, although the most popular is probably using the pricy ColorBlind Prove It! The next piece of the puzzle is correctly calibrating your printer, which often varies based on the type of paper you use, as well as whether your inks are from the manufacturer or from a third party.

The first step in printer calibration is to calibrate your monitor. Then, make sure you use the correct printer driver for your printer. Within the printer driver you will find controls for finetuning the overall appearance of color from your printer. Depending on your needs, this may be sufficient to get the color you want.

Two general methods for additional printer calibration: visual and mechanical. The sometimes more expensive and accurate option is to use a hardware device that can read the output from your printer and make adjustments as necessary. For most typical users, visual calibration or the use of generic color profiles for your hardware is adequate.

Basic Visual Calibration
Using test images with a wide range of tonal values — ideally consisting of a number of color bars, photographs, and blocks of colors — and your eyes you can visually match up screen and print colors. You would display and print a test image then compare and adjust grayscale and color output in whatever controls provided for your printer.

Obtain digital test images from the Web and from some software or hardware manufacturers.

Targets and Test Images
Whether visually or with color management software, target images provide a range of color and grayscale for calibrating monitors, printers, scanners, and digital cameras. Find free and commercial scanner targets, their reference files, and other test images.

Norman Koren describes one way to use these test images for monitor and printer calibration without using color management sytem software.

Color Calibration with ICC Profiles
ICC profiles provide a way to insure consistent color. These files are specific to each device on your system and contain information about how that device produces color. With printers the ideal situation is to create separate profiles based on various combinations of ink and paper because this affects the appearance of the printed material. However, the stock or default profiles for your printer model (available with your software, from your printer manufacturer, or from other Web sites) are often adequate for most desktop printing.

For more precise color management needs, you can use color management software to develop custom ICC profiles for any device. Additionally, some online sources that create custom profiles for you. One such vendor is

ICC profiles
Get an ICC profile for your printer as well as your monitor, scanner, digital camera or other equipment.

Calibration Tools
Color Management Systems include tools for calibrating monitors, scanners, printers, and digital cameras so they all "speak the same color." These tools often include a variety of generic profiles as well as the means to customize profiles for any or all of your devices.

Color Management Systems
Choose the calibration tools that match your pocketbook and your needs for accurate representation of color on screen and in print.

Anyway, these are just the most common ways people do it. I am not so technical about it so if anyone has any good tips comment below.

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