February 16, 2023

When to use Color Inspector vs. Print Inspector

If you are measuring process color bars or care about G7 (CMYK, nColor) then you will be using Print Inspector to assess and track the data.

If you are measuring customer supplied samples and trying to match them "on the fly" then you will want to use Quick Inspector within Capture to print grids and find best match colors.

If you are measuring brand/spot colors, then both Color Inspector and Print Inspector can be used to assess the precision and accuracy of brand colors during manufacturing. But there are key differences that will help you determine which Inspector will be best for your given application and that is the purpose of this document.

There are a couple of key differences that should help you determine which Inspector is best for your needs, and if these differences are not enough, keep reviewing the content below. First, if you are using control strips with automated measurement instruments then you will want to use Print Inspector. If you are measuring random brand colors with manual instruments with different geometry (spherical, 45/0) or different surface characteristics (gloss, roughness, surface match) you will want to use Color Inspector. 

One of the fundamental differences is that Color Inspector can allow multiple instruments to define the color and appearance of the desired subject. It is possible to use a spectrophotometer, together with a goniometer, and a gloss meter which defines multiple characteristics of the samples, including texture, gloss, and special effects such as metallic, pearlescent, and brushed surfaces. It can also account for the differences that result from different measurement devices due to numerous variables such as type of light source, measurement geometry, measurement method, aperture, and more. 

When working with Color Inspector we recommend users measure physical samples to create the references for each instrument, and then the brand color will have multiple tracks to accommodate how each instrument measures the color differently. 


The table below compares the main features. The indications below are often not absolute, as there may be exceptions - the table was created to build a general overview of the differences.



 Features Comparison

Print Inspector

Color Inspector
Process CMYK, and ECG (extended color gamut, nChannel)
Control strip used (ordered sequence of patches)
Single spot color measurements (no ordered sequence of patches)
Sample auto-recognition / unordered sample sequence
Simulated spot values (using a process build of CMYK-OGV to simulate color) 1
Press calibration • Curve generation
ICC Profiling 
illuminant = D50
Illuminant ≠ D50
Observer = 2°
Observer ≠ 2°
Geometry 0/45°, 45°/0
Geometry D/0°, D/8° • SPIN/ SPEX
Samples with surface effects
Metallic, high-glossy samples
Metamerism analysis
Multi M-condition data
Multi-instrument parallel sample definition
Sample averaging and consistency index


Support data from Press side instrument/software: X-Rite Intellitrax, eXact AutoScan, Techkon Spectrodrive, etc.
Built in-systems: Image Control, Axis-Control,  HP Color Beat
X-Rite i1iO with CC Capture
Handheld Instruments: i1Pro, eXact, SpectroDens, 
Pocket Instruments supported by CC CAPTURE or CC NANO or Variable Spectro1
Myiro Tools
Barbieri Gateway+LFP (Color Inspector requires CC Uploader) 2


1 Color Inspector can translate Spot into simulated spot by defining process build values and tracking but as spot color only -event if printed as a process.

2 Requires manual creating scripts for measurement coordinates


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