Question: I have been told that when showing pictures of photos on an external video projector, that it is best to use a Windows PC with PowerPoint…that the Mac and Keynote has the pictures showing up as dull or dark. Is this true?

Answer: If you are having issues with presentation slides showing up on an external projector that are less than optimal, this is likely due to the settings and configuration or software versions, not an inherent issue with Mac vs. PC or PowerPoint vs. Keynote.

First, make sure you are using the latest operating system version revision. (Please do a full system backup before doing this!) There were reports of some issues with this kind of issue around version 10.6.3 of Snow Leopard. There are various Color Display Profiles to choose from is the Displays System Preferences and a calibration process where you can adjust the gamma. In some cases there may be a problem with the default “VGA Display” profile.

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Click on Displays.
  3. Click on Color.
  4. Turn off “Show profiles for this display only”
  5. Choose “Generic RGB Profile” or “Wide Gamut RGB”.

On some versions of the Mac OS, the following may also help:

  1. From the Go menu in the Finder, choose Utilities.
  2. Open the “ColorSync” application.
  3. Click on Devices.
  4. Click on Displays and choose “VGA display.”
  5. Under “Current Profile” click the down-arrow, select “Other…” and select “Color LCD”.

Here’s an Apple support article that describes the process of calibrating an external display.

I would always suggest that you arrive early to a presentation and test your laptop with the particular model of projectors they have installed. Then you will have time to get the settings right. As an alternative, if you have the option, use your own projector that you have pre-calibrated.

Tim Cimbura – CEO and Software Engineer

Tim is an expert in creating custom business solutions that make businesses more effective, productive, and profitable. He specializes in rapid application development with FileMaker (certified in all versions) for macOS, Windows, iPad/iPhone and web app integration with WordPress. He also knows Apple technology inside and out.