ICC Profile Installation

ICC profiles are binary files, and are opened automatically by Photoshop, the operating system, printer drivers, and similar files. Profiles need to be installed in the correct location on your computer for them to be available to image editing and other applications. These locations are:

Mac OS X:

  • Storing profiles in /Library/ColorSync/Profiles allows all users to use them. An alternative area, for users without Admin privileges, is /Users/<username>/Library/ColorSync/Profiles. Profiles stored here are available only to the current user. The ColorSync Utility gives access to the details of individual profiles, shows gamut plots, can rename profiles, validates profile structure, among other useful tasks.
  • OSX 10.7.3 (Lion) and above: The system profile folder is hidden by default. Storing profiles in this folder is possible, but requires following the steps described here.
  • OSX 10.9 (Mavericks) and above: Depending on the printer profile, individual system configuration, and perhaps the phase of the moon, Adobe products (e.g. Photoshop, Lightroom - and particularly the Creative Cloud or CS6 versions) sometimes refuse to recognize profiles installed outside an Adobe-specific location. If a printer profile installed to either the system or per-user folder does not show up from within an Adobe product, move the profile to /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Color/Profiles/Recommended. A reboot may be required for the profile to be visible from within the Adobe application.

Windows (all versions):

  • All profiles should be stored in \Windows\system32\spool\drivers\color
  • The easiest way to install a profile in Windows Windows is to right click on the profile in Windows Explorer and select "install profile". Windows copies the profile to the correct directory automatically.
  • Important note: If you are replacing a profile in Windows, the above shortcut does not work. The profiles must be manually copied to the correct directory for the original profile to be replaced. Microsoft has listed this as a bug since Windows 98.
  • Windows 7 and Vista have a Control Panel applet that allows selecting default profiles for devices and manually installing profiles that are not already in the system profile directory. The functionality is limited, and a right-click automatic install or manually copying the profile to the system profile directory is much easier.



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