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Eye-Based Monitor Adjustment

- Simple & inexpensive computer monitor adjustments -

Summary: Use this simple and inexpensive method for adjusting your computer monitor. Eye-based adjustment can be used for non-critical applications or minor adjustments. You'll need a colorimeter for more precise adjustment/calibration.

Jack DeAngelis, PhD
OSU Ext. Entomologist (ret.)

Use the steps outlined below to make rough adjustments to your computer monitor using your own eyes as the "calibration" standard. For more precise adjustments you'll need a colorimeter and calibration software (see Calibrating Computer Monitors).

Steps to a better view of the web

(1) Set your video display to at least 24-bit color (millions of colors). Check your manual on how to do this. If your video setup is not able to display 24-bit color accurate calibration may not be possible.

(2) Allow your monitor to warm up for at least 15 minutes. Adjust room lights so that they approximate your normal viewing conditions, and block any bright reflections on the screen. Subdued room lighting is best. This step is important since room lighting that reflects off the monitor will significantly change how screen images appear.

(3) Adjust the screen black point. Set the monitor's Brightness and Contrast controls both to 100% (see your monitor's manual for instructions on how to do this). Now, using the adjustment target above, decrease the Brightness until there is just barely a separation between the darkest steps marked 11 & 12.

(4) Adjust the screen white point. Most monitors will work well with Contrast set to 100%. However, if there is no clear separation between the lightest two steps, 1 & 2 above, decrease the Contrast a bit. (5) If it is possible to set the color temperature of your monitor (see your manual), set it to 6500 degrees Kelvin. (6) Lock these settings in or tape down the controls. Your monitor is now adjusted as well as possible using only your eyes as the calibration standard. Further adjustments require a hardware colorimeter and calibration software (see Colorimeters for Accurate Monitor Calibration).

Correcting color casts in lcd and crt monitors

If your monitor has a significant color cast (an overall red, blue or green tint) you'll need to adjust the individual RGB controls and you'll need a colorimeter to accurately make these adjustments. Some inexpensive monitors do not allow for adjusting individual color channels, see Related Articles below for additional information.

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