Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Enabling Firefox 3 Color Management

One of the great features of Firefox 3 is that it now natively supports color management. However, for some reason by default it is disabled (well, it actually makes sense – see caveat below).

To enable it:

  • Enter the url “about:config
  • If prompted that you are risking Armageddon, say “Ok” anyway.
  • Find the key “gfx.color_management.enabled”.
  • Click on it until it changes to “true” (note the line should turn “bold” when enabled).

Note this caveat from the mozillaZine entry on the subject:

Without a properly calibrated monitor and a correct color profile, color management may actually make colors look worse.

For those of us with calibrated monitors, it’s pretty handy though. The only problem is you’re definitely not going to see what uncalibrated users are going to see if you’re posting photos et al!

As an additional note, you may want to investigate the variable “gfx.color_management.display_profile” as well. According to the mozillaZine entry by default the color profile used is the system default, or if not set sRGB. If you’re doing something funky (ie: not setting the system default) you may need to muck with this.

You will need to restart Firefox after you make the change(s).


There’s actually an easier tool (plugin) to work with here:

to change these settings without going into “about:config”. The only problem is because it’s beta, requires you to register first. Also, it’s not totally intuative how you actually use it. Once installed (I’m going to assume you know how to install Firefox plugins) you actually have to:

  1. Select “Tools / Add-ons”, which bringsĀ  up “Add-ons” window listing all your Firefox plugins.
  2. Find the “Color Management” tool (should be on top since you just installed it).
  3. Select “Options”, which will bring up “Color Management Preferences”.
  4. Select (check) “Enabled” and if necessary, fill in “Set Color Profile”. Usually you don’t need to set the later since your default color profile should already be set when you ran your profiling/calibration software.

I would also note that turning on color management has its minuses. Any image that doesn’t have a color profile embedded (which is most GIFs for instance) will be converted into your default monitor color space. That may create a ugly color shift you’re not expecting. For things with profiles embedded, you’ll see what the author intended, but otherwise, you may not!

One Comment on “Enabling Firefox 3 Color Management”

  1. Cool. Thanks for the tip!

    Take care,
    Huy (sounds like “we”)

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