Windows Color System

Color management technologies in Windows help users reproduce color consistently across scanners, cameras, displays, printers, and applications.

In this section

Topic Description

Royalty-Free Windows Color System (WCS) Specification License Agreement

This is a legal agreement (Agreement) between the user of the Specification (either an individual or an entity) ("Company"), and Microsoft Corporation ("Microsoft") (collectively the "Parties").

Windows Color System (WCS) Profiles and Schemas License Agreement

This license governs use of the following Color System Profile files and schemas.


Windows Image Color Management (ICM) 2.0 is the API that applications use to take advantage of color management capabilities in Windows. Windows supports using color profiles that comply with ICC.1:1998-09 File Format for Color Profiles to support flexible, state-of-the-art color control.

sRGB Color Space Profile. sRGB is the default color space in Windows, based on the IEC 61966-2-1 standard. An sRGB-compliant device does not have to provide a profile or other support for color management to work well.

Topic Description
Microsoft Standard CMYK Profile

Some software applications manage color to ensure that the colors appearing on the monitor or sent to the printer are as accurate as possible. Color management involves converting from the source profile (the color profile of the device, such as the camera, that created the image) to the destination profile (the color profile of the device that displays or prints it). If either color profile is unavailable, the color conversion fails and the image is not displayed or printed.

The RSWOP.icm CMYK color profile targets the widely-used US SWOP printing standard. This profile is installed with Microsoft Office but is not installed by default on Windows. This causes unexpected failures in applications that manage color on some images or devices. Installing this profile will correct the problem.


See also

Color at Microsoft (blog)

Improved Color Printing

Using WCS 1.0

Windows Color System (Desktop technologies)

Windows Vista Display Driver Model (WDDM) Design Guide



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