Getting Started with Calibrating

Calibrating a monitor sounds horribly complicated, but it's actually not that difficult and it's even kind of fun. You get an added benefit in that your monitor may look about a thousand times better than you thought it could. Calibrating may even make it easier to read text in Word, for instance, because the contrast is better.

When you install Elements, Adobe gives you the Adobe Gamma Utility to calibrate your monitor. To get to it, choose Start —* Control Panel —'* Appearance and Themes —t Adobe Gamma. Click the utility and follow the onscreen directions. Figure 12-4 shows you the Adobe Gamma window.

Figure 12-4. Despite its intimidating name, the Adobe Gamma Utility is actually fairly easy to use, as you can see from this straightforward first screen. Choose the wizard if you've never calibrated your monitor before. If you want a step-by-step guide to using the Adobe Gamma Utility, Photoshop guru Ian Lyons has an excellent tutorial on his Web site at www.computerdarkroom.com/ps8 colour/ps8 2.htm. (It was written for Photoshop, but Adobe Gamma works the same no matter which program you use.)

Note: If you have an LCD (flat panel) monitor, here's a bit of bad news: Adobe didn't design Adobe Gamma to work with your type of monitor. The good news is that sometimes Adobe Gamma does help (despite Adobe's claims). It's certainly worth a try, and the odds are that you can improve your view at least a little, even if you can't make it perfect. If that doesn't help, you may want to try (read: buy) a third-party monitor-calibrating solution.

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