Custom printer profiling - fix your colour management issues with a profile from Pure Profiles

How to use a custom printer profile

Once you've got yourself a custom printer profile, you need to install it to the right location. Once that's done, how do you go about using it? First of all, you need to use some printing software that is ICC printer profile aware - this means it will be able to find and use that printer profile when it prints an image. The majority of the more well known photo editors out there support printer profiles, but not all do, so please check first before you order a custom printer profile!

The software ranges in price from the very expensive Photoshop - the industry leader - to the relatively cheap Photoshop Elements which is a cut down version of Photoshop that retains almost all the standard features that you might want. We would also recommend Qimage as a cheap printing program - whilst there are some image editing features, it's really all about creating drag and drop page layouts for one or more images, and getting the very best quality print out of your printer. Other options include Lightroom, Aperture and Paint Shop Pro.

Installing your custom printer profile

When you receive your custom printer profile, it will be as a file attachment on your email. Unfortunately you cannot click it just to install it, but instead you must save it onto your hard drive first. Your email should have a menu option (usually under 'File') to allow you to save attachments. Use this to save the printer profile to somewhere safe on your hard drive. Once saved, you can bring up the folder that contains the new printer profile, and then you can either copy it into the relevant location as shown below, or you can use the Windows method to install the printer profile :

  • XP, Vista and Windows 7 : copy the profile to \Windows\system32\spool\drivers\color
    There is an easy way to install a printer profile with XP, Vista and Windows 7. First of all you must save the emailed printer profile onto your hard drive (it doesn't really matter where). Next, go to the folder where you have saved the printer profile, put the mouse cursor over the printer profile and press the right mouse button. A menu should now appear, and the top option will be to 'install profile'. Click on this, and the printer profile will be installed (you do not get a confirmation to tell you that it has been done, but you should now see it in your printer profile list in your image editing software). Please note though that this will not work if you are updating a printer profile with another printer profile of the same name. In this case you will have to manually overwrite the old printer profile with the new one at the location shown above.
  • Windows NT/2000 : copy the profile to \Winnt\system32\spool\drivers\color
    Windows 2000 also allows automatic installation as described for XP, Vista and Windows 7.
  • Windows 98/ME : copy the profile to \Windows\System\Color
  • Mac OS X : copy the profile to /Library/ColorSync/Profiles
    This directory makes the profile visibile to all users. Otherwise copy the profile to
    /Users/your username/Library/ColorSync/Profiles
    This directory makes the profile visible only to the current user.
  • Mac OS 9.x : copy the profile to System Folder:ColorSync Profiles.

Using your custom printer profile

Our latest PDF guides for using our custom printer profiling service contain a section on how to use a profile. The basic theory is to set the printer profile up within the printing options of the software that you're using (e.g. Photoshop), and then keep the printer driver set to the same options as when the original profiling charts were printed. Our PDF guides can be found on our downloads page.

Installing and using the custom printer profile on a Mac

For more tutorial videos showing the profiling process broken down into the 5 steps, please go to our Videos page.