Computers, Laptops & Tablets Accessories & Hardware 45 45 people found this article helpful How to Test and Adjust a Monitor's Settings Get the best picture by calibrating the settings by Mark Casey Writer Mark Casey was a Lifewire writer who specialized in computing and technology, including reviewing PC components and peripherals. our editorial process LinkedIn Mark Casey Updated on July 24, 2020 The Ultimate Guide to Monitors The Ultimate Guide to Monitors Introduction Monitor Basics All About HD PC Monitors TVs vs. Monitors CRT vs. LCD Monitors Learn About Refresh Rates 3D Computer Displays CRT Monitor Resolution Specifications Why You Need a Second Monitor Add or Connect a Monitor Is Having More Than One Display Useful? Add a Second Monitor to Your Windows Laptop How to Connect Your Computer to Your TV You Can Use Your Old iMac as a Monitor How to Use Your iPad as a Second Monitor Calibrate It Yourself Why Monitor Calibration Is Essential Adjusting a Monitor's Settings Why Printer Colors Don't Match Monitor Colors Color Gamuts on LCD Monitors Troubleshooting Issues Testing a Monitor That Isn't Working Fix a Second Monitor Not Working Checking for Loose Power Cables How to Degauss a Traditional CRT Monitor Can Burn-In Happen to LCD Monitors? How to Change Refresh Rate in Windows Our Recommendations: Best Monitors The Best Computer Monitors The Best 4K Monitors The Best 27-Inch LCD Monitors The Best 24-Inch LCD Monitors The Best 32-Inch Monitors The Best USB-C Monitors The Best Monitors for Coding The Best Curved Monitors The Best 5K & 8K Computer Monitors The Best Touchscreen Monitors The Best Ultra-Wide Monitors Tweet Share Email If you're a graphic designer, video editor, or someone who watches videos on your computer, your computer monitor must be crisp and clear. Over time, a monitor can start to look dull, fuzzy, or too bright. Often, adjusting the monitor's settings will help you get a better picture and improve your viewing experience. Here's how to test your monitor and adjust the display settings to ensure it's properly calibrated for optimum viewing. Information in this article applies broadly to different types of PC monitors. Consult your device's manual or the manufacturer's website for further guidance. Maskot / Getty Images Common Monitor Terms Explained Some monitor terms you may encounter can be confusing or redundant. Here's an explanation of common monitor settings: Color: Increasing or decreasing the color setting affects the color saturation, or how deep and bold the colors appear.Brightness: Changing the brightness makes the screen darker or lighter. Try it when the surroundings are dark and well-lit to make sure the screen is optimized for both conditions.Sharpness: Increasing sharpness makes the edges of the picture darker and more defined. Setting this too low results in a soft, hazy picture.Tint: The tint setting varies based on the manufacturer. On some displays, it can affect the color and the dimness. Capabilities vary according to monitor type. For example, the maximum screen quality differs for CRT and LCD displays. There's also a noticeable quality difference between IPS LCD and TFT LCD monitors. Manual Monitor Adjustments Most monitors have manual adjustment settings. If you want a simple tweak, adjust the screen's color and brightness settings using the monitor's physical buttons. Some displays also have a menu button that presents more options on the screen. Laptops often have buttons on the keyboard for controlling brightness and contrast. Familiarize yourself with the capabilities and limitations of your monitor before you make adjustments. On Windows PCs, control the screen orientation, default text size, dual monitor setup, and other settings in the Control Panel. How to Calibrate Your Monitor Macs and Windows PCs have built-in, free monitor-calibration tools that are a great first step to testing a monitor's settings. For more advanced help, online monitor-calibration tools provide in-depth analysis and setting guidance. Use Your Mac's Monitor Calibration Tools The macOS built-in Display Calibrator Assistant adjusts a monitor so that the display images closely match the original versions. This is particularly important for graphic designers and anyone who works with images. Here's how it works: Go to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences. Open Displays. Select the Color tab. Select Calibrate to launch the Display Calibrator Assistant. Select Continue. The Display Calibrator Assistant walks you through the process of adjusting the display. Follow the on-screen instructions. When finished, the Display Calibrator Assistant creates a calibrated color profile and automatically assigns it as the display's color profile. The number of adjustments in the calibration process varies depending on the type of display. Some displays have additional built-in color accuracy and calibration features. See your display's documentation. Use the Windows 10 Color Calibration Tool The Windows 10 Display Color Calibration utility adjusts different aspects of the display, including color, brightness, and saturation. Here's how to use it: Open the Windows 10 Settings app and select System. Choose the Display tab if it isn't open. Scroll down and choose Advanced display settings. Select Display adapter properties for the display you want to calibrate. Go to the Color Management tab. Select Color Management. Go to the Advanced tab. Select Calibrate Display. Follow the on-screen instructions to go through the calibration process. Calibrate Your Monitor With a Free Online Tool If you use your monitor for professional purposes, you may want to take some extra measures to ensure perfect video and image quality. Free online monitor-testing tools such as Lagom and Eizo Monitor Test can help you tweak the settings using objective source material such as color diagrams and test patterns. Lagom Online Monitor-Testing Tool Lagom helps you adjust your LCD monitor's settings to ensure the best picture quality. Go to the Lagom website and read the instructions on monitor calibration. From the top drop-down menu, select the tests you want to run, including Contrast, Sharpness, Gamma Calibration, and more. The tools at Lagom.nl are available for download so that you can use the tools when you don't have an internet connection. EIZO Online Monitor-Testing Tool EIZO's functionality is similar to the Lagom tool. Go to the EIZO website and view the available tests, including Color Distances, Gradients, Defective Pixels, and more. Choose the tests you want to perform, then select Start Test. Perform any or all of the monitor tests to adjust the settings. Professional Monitor Calibration Tools If you're looking for more in-depth monitor calibration, there are paid professional monitor-testing programs, many of which offer a free trial version. The Passmark MonitorTest software gives a full-screen view of various tests. It generates 35 test patterns and covers touchscreens and HDR while offering support for all available resolutions and color depths. MonitorTest works with all resolutions as well as multiple monitor setups. It also supports looped testing. DisplayMate is another professional monitor-calibration tool that aims to improve the image and picture quality of mobile displays, computer and video monitors, projectors, and TVs.