I'm developer; I use Windows but my designer uses Mac. Whenever he sends a graphic file to me (.psd and .ai files) the colors show differently on Mac and Windows, even if I take the color code from color picket [sic].

Is there any solution to this? I want to set my Windows 7 color scheme in that way so I can get the same color as a Mac.

6 Answers 6


It sounds like the issue is (yet again) monitor calibration. If you're using the same color profile (sRGB, etc.) the values will be the same regardless of the OS used.

You and your designer should agree on a color profile (there are many, many profiles and they're mostly OS independent) simply for the sake of consistency. Since color is part of design I'd let them take the lead in that part. Color profile can't really be set in the OS; it really comes into play with browsers and print materials.

If you're concerned about the display not matching you could always calibrate your monitor with a calibration tool. Unfortunately, even if your display matches that of your designer's it's not going to match what's out there in the real world - no one outside of design studios really calibrates their monitors so despite your hard work it's always going to look different on end-users' displays.

  • This is not the case for me. Me (using windows) and a coworker (using mac) have the same image test that we base the darkness/lightness of the image we are working on. In his mac computer; our test image is darker and the image we are working on is lighter. But when we bring it to my computer, operated by windows, the test image is lighter and the image we are working on is darker. it cannot be color calibration. The image we are trying to fix is being manipulated on my computer (windows) using Photoshop CS6
    – user15807
    Oct 6, 2013 at 5:22

This isn't a Windows vs. Mac issue, especially if your designer is on the latest OS X platform. The last upgrades have brought OS X in line with the international graphics display standards, so Win and Mac both use the same gamma setting.

I would suggest that in the Wonderful World of Web Wizardry this color difference is not a bad thing. As lawndartcatcher says, every visitor's screen will display the site differently, so the fact that you have at least two different views of the design works in your favor. Recording engineers usually have a couple of crappy players and speakers around to check how a particular mix will work in the real world. It's not a ridiculous idea to do something similar for web dev.


This sounds more like a monitor problem rather than a color management issue. Apple manufactured monitors, laptops and iMacs use IPS LCD display technology that has a very wide color gamut and dark blacks. Most Windows PC monitors use TN LCD technology which has a very poor color gamut and washed out blacks. No amount of color calibration or profile swapping can make the colors match on these two types of displays. If the Windows developer's monitor is of the TN variety it should be replaced with a IPS based display that is certified by the manufacturer to reproduce 100% of the sRGB color space.


Yes, calibration matters. If two designers are on the same project unless you mastered the theory in color and reading color mixes whether, in curves, color palettes and profiles being used in a project and for what platform definitely need to match, especially if others on the outside have no calibration.

I have been doing graphics for web and print, offset and silkscreening about 30 yrs and I can tell you, IT MATTERS! Matching calibrations from monitors, inkjet printers "GO EPSON", rip software for films or digital RHODurst printers and UV SK, Offset printers IT MATTERS from the start to finish.

If two systems are way off from each other they will produce entirely differences in white, black, mids and contrast, then yes you have a problem. Use the same brand or specs close to one another. You are working with DMAX, DMINS, Highlights, Shadows, Midtones, and Color Contrast, and Color Hues, so yes it matters. Especially when working from rgb to cmyk conversions or cmyk and rgb conversions. So if you are a designer and are working off a monitor way off of its delta, then how much more to other platforms from the outside? If there is a group that are working on a project, it is imperative that all systems are calibrated. My opinion on the fly!


Also being a designer who prints fabric , I suggest you ask your printer ( if this is the case ) to print a full set of pantone colours with the cmyk references. Then on a mac( in my instance) I know the given reference AND the colour output on the printer should match( irrespective of the colour the mac monitor is showing.) So again using the cmyk reference on a mac and then using a jpg of your mac design in windows -will show the correct colour for the printer which is probably using coreldraw to display the mac image. Ie the printer pantones will in all probability match the mac in CMYK which will match the windows CMYK. A different printer will print a different colour hue of pantones. So you have to find a printer you are happy with and work only with that printer or have different printers with different pantone outputs. My experience is proof of the above.

  • If one wants to have a possibility to match color you need to calibrate your monitors (with a colorimeter, no software calibration is going to help) and change the ambience of the room to neutral gray. Full stop. Doing what you suggest obviously works, but its not going to do anything for the monitors. Its the 1980's method of color matching. But hardwae color matching is possible, if you want.
    – joojaa
    Sep 19, 2019 at 4:08

I have the same problem and understand it well.

One way to get closer to the colour required on Windows is to get a JPG of the Mac image and display it on a Windows computer. Then tweek the Mac image to try and get the colour you require on windows. The colours on your Mac will be in most instances (lilacs etc.) garish to say the least but with a little patience and tweeking you can achieve an acceptable tolerance. Also always set your colours in CMYK mode to match a given CMYK reference code and then reset to RGB.

Further if you go to system settings and click on display, you can calibrate your mac monitor under various settings (experiment) go to colour / and CIE RGB (+calibrate) usually gives me a closer colour to match Windows and cuts down the tweeking time.

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