Color Printing: Printed Image Doesn't Match Monitor Color?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Robert I. writes

" Dear Dennis,

I operate Windows XP Pro with Service Pack 3 installed on my PC. I own an Epson stylus printer which is capable of printing color. Problem: whenever I print anything, the printed colors do not match what is shown on the monitor. Is this a problem with my computer, printer or monitor? Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated. "

My response:

Great question. The 'quick and simple' answer is that you likely need to calibrate your printer and monitor.

Since all printers and monitors are made by varying manufacturers, I can't give you a one-size-fits-all answer on how to calibrate either device; instead, I can offer you a generic approach.

Calibrating a Monitor

Most monitors made within the last 10 years or so offer some sort of automated calibration. This option should be available when you enter the "setup" or "OSD" (On Screen Display) mode of the monitor. To find out how you enter the setup mode, refer to your monitor manual. If you can't find the manual, try to find it online.

From inside the monitor setup you can adjust colors and/or use pre-defined default values for 'warm' or 'cold' displays. The best way to test the colors is to view a photo that uses red, blue and green and adjust your monitor so all 3 colors are vibrant and distinguishable.

Calibrating a Printer

Almost all printers offer calibration software. The software is either part of the driver itself and the calibration menu is available before you print a page (probably tucked away in 'advanced' settings or such). It's also possible that there is a separate printer calibration program that is available on your driver CD that came with the printer.

In either case, simply run the calibration software and follow the on screen instructions. You can then print a test page and readjust your settings to provide sharper images and more vibrant, realistic colors.

Calibrating the Photo Itself

If the image still doesn't look right after you've calibrated your monitor and printer, you can also adjust the source picture using photo imaging software, such as Photoshop (for example).

Rate this article: 
No votes yet