How to Change the Color Depth of Your Monitor

Color depth and bit depth are two terms that are very frequently confused. While the two terms are somewhat interchangeable, bit depth is usually used in reference to printers, scanners, and other hardware devices, while color depth generally refers to monitors and other display devices. Either term refers to the number of colors used to create an image. The larger the number, the more colors, and the smoother and more accurate the image will appear.

Color DepthWhichever term is used, matching or exceeding the color depth of your computer monitor to that of your printer or scanner will allow you to view images more accurately, so that your prints will look the same as what you see on your screen. For example, if you choose a 24-bit color depth when scanning an image, you want to ensure that your monitor is set for 24-bit mode or higher so that you can see the full color spectrum of the image. When sending an image to a printer, if your color depth is set too low, the printed image may look very different than the image that was on the screen. Follow the steps below to change your computer’s color depth setting.

Changing the Color Depth

  1. Right-click anywhere on the desktop and choose Screen Resolution in the menu that pops up.
  2. In the window that opens, click Advanced Settings.
  3. Click the Monitor tab, then choose the highest setting available in the Colors dropdown box. In most cases, this will be 24-bit or 32-bit.
Here is a video demonstrating the previous steps:

You may also find it useful to reduce the color depth to get a better preview of how an image might look at lower settings. Bookmark this page and refer back to it so that you can change these settings anytime you need to.


Greg Gladman
Greg Gladman has two degrees from the University of Cincinnati and prides himself on managing the operations and customer service at Ink Technologies. With a mind like a vault, he is full of useful and useless information, making him an asset to the company and to his Tuesday night trivia team. When he is not working, he spends his time bowling and playing golf. Greg dedicates much of his free time to raising money and awareness in support of the fight against blood cancers.

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