About Windows Color System Version 1.0

Microsoft Windows Color System (WCS) technology ensures that a color image, graphic or text object is rendered as close as possible to its original intent on any device, despite differences in imaging technologies and color capabilities between devices. Whether you are scanning an image or other graphic on a color scanner, downloading it over the Internet, viewing or editing it on the screen, or outputting it to paper, film, or other media, WCS 1.0 helps you keep its colors consistent and accurate.

WCS 1.0 is an integral part of Microsoft Windows Because WCS 1.0 is built into the Windows family of operating systems as a set of Win32 API functions, it is readily available to any application, device driver, device calibration tool, or color management module (CMM).

Version 1.0 of Image Color Management (ICM) was delivered in Microsoft Windows 95, and provides basic color management capabilities within Windows device contexts.

ICM version 2.0 is included in Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 2000, and Windows XP and included functions that implemented color management outside of device contexts. These functions were suitable for more demanding color management requirements, and give applications greater control over the color-management process.

WCS version 1.0 is included in Windows Vista and includes a variety of new functions that provides significant improvements in flexiblity, transparency, predictability and extensiblity for vendors.

What kinds of applications will benefit from using WCS 1.0? Almost any application running in a Windows Vista environment today. Basic color management capability is becoming a requirement for applications of all kinds.

Color display and printing have improved in recent years to the point where photo-realistic color images and complex color graphics are now commonly used not only in desktop publishing, but also across a broad spectrum of data and presentation applications. Object technologies such as COM and ActiveX have embedded color objects in virtually every kind of data space.

Clothing catalogs, online art, family photo albums, business logos, charts, graphs, presentations, print previews, and color simulations are just a few examples of everyday applications where color matters.

As a result, more and more users are requiring their applications to be capable of accurate color display. Poor color rendering ruins the images and graphics that are increasingly important to users.

On a fundamental level, almost any application should be able to adjust color automatically so that its output looks the same on different monitors and printers. WCS 1.0 provides a set of functions to deliver this kind of color management that is transparent to a user and requires little overhead in the application.

On a higher level, WCS 1.0 provides additional functions that deliver more complex and controllable color management. Graphics and desktop publishing applications need these additional capabilities to let their users work precisely with consistent color across many devices throughout a production process.

In general, software vendors whose products deal with color input or output and hardware vendors of color peripherals will find WCS 1.0 a key technology for simplifying the delivery of successful products. The following sections include: