In Windows 10, you can simply right-click on the .icc profile and click ‘Install Profile,’ or you can copy the file to the following location: C:Windows\system32\spool\drivers\color.
Next, you need to make some adjustments in Control Panel, all of which are described in the article.
What Is An ICC Profile?
ICC profiles are used to match the color values of your display with a particular device such as your camera, printer, scanner, etc.
In other words, an ICC profile is a LUT (Look-Up Table) with certain properties of a color gamut where a particular color will be displayed as the exact shade of it, not just any random tone of that color.
Now, when doing color-critical work in software such as Photoshop, it’s imperative to have a calibrated display/printer as you would, naturally, want to see the same results on the print as they are on your monitor.
Additionally, these ICC profiles can increase the color accuracy of your monitor as well, if you can find the optimal profile for your display.
Keep in mind that the ICC presets work best with the particular monitor/graphics card or printer combo since they are based on the individual’s computer setup.
So, even if you have the same monitor as another user’s ICC profile, the results won’t be precisely the same. In fact, even the monitor manufacturers change the panels of their monitors over time.
Regardless, you could still get an enhanced picture quality with better colors.
If you happen not to like it, you can always restore the settings to default. It’s also advisable to apply the recommended OSD settings that you find in the ICC profile database or wherever you have downloaded the profile from.
However, for the most accurate settings, you will have to use a hardware calibration device, also known as a colorimeter, for your own display — which is how you create the ICC profile in the first place.
How To Install ICC Profiles
In Microsoft Windows, after you download the .icc profile, you can simply right-click on it and select ‘Install Profile.’
If you can’t add the ICC profile that way — which can be the case if you have already installed a profile before and want to replace it, copy the profile to the following folder location where the ICC profiles are stored:
Next, open the Color Management from the Control Panel. Tick ‘Use my settings for this device‘ option and then ‘Add…‘ the ICC profile.
After that, go to the ‘Advanced‘ tab where you will have to click on the “Change system defaults” first, then ‘Advanced‘ again and tick ‘Use Windows display calibration‘. You can now close all windows.
That’s how easy it is to load an ICC profile.
This method works for installing the ICC profiles for Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10 and 11.
MAC OS X users can copy the profiles to:
Depending on whether the profile should apply to the entire system or just a specific user.
There’s also a great and free ICC software called DisplayProfile, which you can use to store many ICC presets and quickly swap between them.
It will list all ICC profiles found in the C:/Windows/system32/spool/drivers/color location and you just select which one you want to apply.
For multiple monitors, you just drag the DisplayProfile window to the background of a monitor you want to change the ICC profile and select the profile.
Some games will ignore your ICC profile when run in full-screen. In this case, you’ll need to use software such as Color Clutch, Color Profile Keeper, or Reshade to force the ICC profile, but this method may not work for all games.
The DisplayCAL Profile Loader is also a very useful free application that will re-apply the ICC profile you set as default anytime Windows or a certain application reverts to the default sRGB IEC61966-2.1 profile. You’ll need to use it in combination with the above-mentioned apps for the full-screen games.
If you’re unsatisfied with the results, you’ll have to get a colorimeter and calibrate your monitor or try manually fine-tuning your monitor calibration using Lagom test images.