How to Proof Colors (Soft Proofing) in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 6 allows you to preview onscreen how your image will look on a variety of output devices. First, choose View→Proof Setup and select your desired setup. The Working options are based on the working spaces you specified in the Color Settings dialog box:

  • Legacy Macintosh RGB: Display your image as it’ll appear on a standard Macintosh monitor running Mac OS 10.5 or earlier.

  • Internet Standard RGB (sRGB): Display your image as it’ll appear on a standard Windows monitor or a Macintosh monitor running Mac OS 10.6 or earlier.

  • Monitor RGB: Allows you to view the image by using your current monitor’s color space. This setting essentially turns off your RGB working space and lets you see the image without any color management.

  • Custom: Allows you to choose a specific device. For example, choosing U.S. web Coated (SWOP) v2, from the Device to Simulate drop-down menu, lets you to see how your RGB images will look when they’re converted to CMYK for printing. Or you can choose your desktop inkjet printer profile from the Device to Simulate drop-down menu to see how your images will look when printed to that device.

After you select your setup, choose View→Proof Colors to view the image in your chosen working space. For the most reliable results, use a good-quality monitor and set up a good viewing environment. Keep in mind that although soft proofing is a good thing, it’s no substitute for a good-quality hard-copy proof. Some things — such as the quality of paper, certain inks, etc. — can’t be accurately simulated onscreen.

Photoshop also offers two proof setup settings to view how images will appear to those who are colorblind. Color Blindness Protanopia mimics red-green colorblindness with less sensitivity to red light. Color Blindness Deuteranopia mimics red-green color blindness with less sensitivity to green light.