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Calibrating multiple monitors.


by eduardoangel – September 8th, 2009

By Mary DeCator

When you calibrate multiple monitors to match each other, they may match closely but not exactly. You may especially notice a change in cases where you are using a mix of backlighting technologies.

In order to be sure that your monitors match each other as closely as possible, please be sure to set them to the same color temperature and luminance settings when walking through the Advanced mode of the process. After you calibrate each monitor, determine which one has the lowest luminance and use that information as a reference for your other monitors.


After profiling, you still may find that your monitors display very slight color variations due to hardware differences. Depending on your workflow, you may choose to designate one monitor as the color critical monitor and use the other for additional workspace.

Categories: Displays, Education, How-To, ICC, Lighting, Profiles, RGB, Viewing, Vision | Tags: , ,

11 responses to “Calibrating multiple monitors.”

  1. My experience calibrating multiple monitors has pointed out a number of things:

    One monitor per graphic card. I started out using multiple monitors on a laptop and could never get it to work properly. Transferring to a desktop with multiple cards fixed all these problems.

    Turn off DDC. This caused me problems in that Colormunki kept adjusting the contrast and brightness on the first monitor, and never the second. Turning of DDC and adjusting contrast and brightness manually worked.

    Don’t expect two of the same monitors to have the same (or even close) brightness and contrast settings to look the same. Variability between two monitors can be greater than you would expect.

    If using Vista, turn off the screen dimming that happens when Vista asks you to confirm some actions. Vista may (does) not restore the colour profiles correctly after this happens. See here:


    Finally, make a shortcut on the desktop to allow you to easily reload the colour profiles. You can copy this from the startup folder. This means you can always reset the profiles manually, just in case.

  2. Kelly you’re absolutely right that each monitor should be profiled on its own even it they are “identical.” Assuming your video card supports two LUT’s, profiling should be as easy as dragging the open software window to each monitor, profiling it, dragging the software window to the other monitor and profiling that one. On a Windows system you may need to double check that the correct profile is being used on each monitor. But if your video card can handle two LUT’s, you should be in business. Just keep in mind that some cards drive two monitors but do not have the capacity to handle two separate LUT’s.

  3. MeiLim says:

    I use an LED monitor…built into the latest 21″ iMac running Snow Leopard. The monitor is very bright indeed and I think I will have difficulty calibrating it. SHADES has been recommended..has anyone any ideas/comments abt this?

  4. David Andrew says:

    My dual monitors do not match at all after calibration… Using: Monaco EZ Color Optix XR, iMac 24″, Samsung SyncMaster XL 2370. I made separate profiles for each of the two separate monitors using the Optix XR (using same White Point and Gamma). When viewing a 50% grey image, the iMac looks close, but slightly purple. The Samsung is WAY more yellow, has way too much contrast, and way too much saturation. I manually adjusted the Samsung (using the monitor’s controls) to get it somewhat similar to the iMac, but it’s not dead on. What’s the point of calibrating if I have to manually adjust it until it “looks right”? Do I need a machine with dual graphics cards, as a previous poster mentioned?

    • Dear David,
      Please double check the white point hardware setting on your Samsung monitor. Insure that it is set for 6500K. Then be sure that your are NOT in mirrored mode when you do the profile. It sounds like the machine may not be clear on what monitor you’re profiling.
      If none of these options solve your issue please contact cmsupport@xrite.com so that our customer success team can assist you further.
      Brenda K. Hipsher

  5. Kishan chandra says:

    x- rite instrument give a error for caliberation. it can not be caliberated. what should we do for that .? Sent me all process of x-rite caliberating or other error showing.


  6. Alastair McAra says:

    Are there any recommendations for calibrating a Win 7 laptop and second screen that is plugged in when at home. The idea is to be able to use the machine out and about and have a fairly good calibration for its screen, but when at home to be able to rely on the much better Dell Ultrasharp monitor. Anything anyone can suggest for doing this with the Eye 1 Display 2?

    • Brenda K. Hipsher says:

      You should be able to profile your Dell monitor when attached to your laptop and then just manually change the profile selection in your display control panel setting. Unless your laptop graphics card has the capacity to run two LUT’s you’ll have to choose which display you want to have critical color, contrast, and luminance on when you’re plugged into the desktop monitor but this should be relatively easy to accomplish.

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