Lightroom Simulate Paper and Ink Greyed Out? [4 Fixes]

Adobe Lightroom is one of the most popular photo editing applications on the market, and for a good reason. This program gives photographers all the tools they need to create the best images possible, especially when it comes to simulating how images will look after printing using the “simulate paper and ink” option. But what do you do if this option is greyed out?

Below, we’ll discuss four fixes you can employ that will allow you to use this helpful soft proofing tool. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know!

Why Is Lightroom Simulate Paper and Ink Greyed Out?

Lightroom’s “Simulate Paper & Ink” feature is a great way for photographers to get a better idea of how their photos will look on paper and make adjustments accordingly. Part of a larger idea known as “soft proofing,” simulating the look of an image on paper allows you to optimize your edits to get the best possible printed result.

If you’d like to try your hand at soft proofing, you’re probably pretty excited to try out the Simulate Paper & Ink feature. But what happens if this option is greyed out on your menu?

The most important thing to remember is that this feature will only be available if you’re using the correct type of color profile. Any RGB-based color profile, such as Adobe RGB or sRGB, will not work.

How to Fix Greyed Out Simulate Paper and Ink On Lightroom

There are four fixes you can try to activate the “simulate paper & ink” option, all of which involve changing your color profile.

These include:

  1. Select a printer profile
  2. Connect a printer to your computer
  3. Download and install the correct printer profile
  4. Calibrate your computer monitor

Below, we’ll highlight how you can employ these four solutions.

1. Select a Printer Profile

The easiest way to make the “Simulate Paper & Ink” option available on Lightroom is to select a printer profile. This feature is not available for traditional RGB color profiles, so it will stay greyed out unless you’re using a printer profile.

Follow the steps below to change the color profile you’re using in Lightroom:

  1. Select the “Develop” menu
  2. Press “Soft Proofing” underneath the image you have open
  3. Go under “Profile”
  4. Select “Other”
  5. Choose the printer connected to your computer
  6. Go to the “Intent” menu
  7. Choose either “Perceptual” or “Relative”
  8. Check “Simulate Paper & Ink”

Now, you can see how your image will look once it’s printed on paper on your computer screen. If you’d like to save an untouched copy of the image, select “create proof copy.”

2. Connect a Printer to Your Computer

While not all printers include their color profiles in their software, there are a few that do. If you used to be able to choose your printer’s color profile in Lightroom but can no longer find it, it may be because you’ve since disconnected your printer or uninstalled the drivers.

If your printer is not currently plugged into your computer, reconnect it. If necessary, follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall the drivers and software.

Once you’ve successfully connected your printer and installed the necessary components, check your list of color profiles once again and see if you can find your printer profile.

3. Download and Install the Correct Printer Profile

On the other hand, there are some printers that do not offer their color profile information in the software that comes in the box. Until you have the correct color profile in your Lightroom library, you will not be able to select and use it to soft proof your photos.

Luckily, it’s not difficult to find your printer’s color profile online and download it to your computer. Be sure to choose your exact printer model, as well as the exact type of paper you’ll print your photos on.

If you’re having your photos printed elsewhere, such as at a pharmacy’s printing center, try calling ahead and asking what type of printer they use. Downloading the correct color profile will ensure the most accurate soft proofing experience possible.

How to Install Your Printer’s Profile

After downloading your color profile from the internet, you will need to install it on your computer.

If you’re using a Windows computer, this is as simple as right-clicking on the file and pressing “Install.” If you’re using Lightroom on a Mac computer, you’ll need to:

  1. Move the file to your profiles folder
  2. Navigate through “Library,”
  3. Go to “Printers,”
  4. Go to “ColorSync,”
  5. Select “Profiles,”
  6. Place the file there

Be sure to activate the “show hidden files” option before you do this. Otherwise, you may not see the folders you need to get to.

4. Calibrate Your Monitor

If you’ve chosen a printer color profile and still cannot select “Simulate Paper & Ink,” you may need to calibrate your computer monitor. While an uncalibrated computer monitor will not usually prevent you from selecting this option, it’s a good idea when you’ve exhausted all other options.

Calibrating your monitor involves changing various display parameters to show the most accurate:

  • Colors
  • Brightness
  • Level of contrast

It’s a critical process for photographers who want to create the best soft proofing they can before printing their photos.

How to Calibrate Your Monitor

The easiest way to calibrate your monitor is by adjusting your brightness and contrast levels using calibration test images, which can easily be found online. However, this is also the least accurate method.

If you want the most accurate calibration possible, download a monitor calibration tool from a reputable website. These tools can read your screen display, then automatically correct it to reproduce the best colors possible.

Final Thoughts

Adobe Lightroom’s “Simulate Paper & Ink” feature is a crucial tool for any photographer who wants to soft proof their photos to ensure the best possible look prior to printing. However, some users find this option greyed out in their soft proofing window.

If Simulate Paper & Ink is greyed out in Lightroom, it’s almost always because you’re not working with an appropriate color profile. This feature will only work if you’re working with a printer color profile, and it will not be available if you’re using a traditional RGB color profile.