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Color Bleed of Monitors

What it is: How much the color from one area of the screen affects the color in another area of the screen.
When it matters: All usages, but especially media creation.
Score components:

Color bleed is an undesirable artifact that appears on some displays causing discolored stripes to appear on the screen both vertically and horizontally. Essentially, large elements (either uniform in color or with a very fine grid) that are being displayed have a faint "ghosting" that extends past their boundaries across other parts of the screen.

Test results

When it matters

While color bleed isn't apparent with every type of content, it can be an issue with the majority of usages for PC monitors. It is not uncommon for modern user interfaces to incorporate single color flat elements, which is exactly the type of content where color bleed can appear.

Our tests

Visible vertical color bleed on Acer XB271HUVisible vertical color bleed (Acer XB271HU)
Color Bleed Test SetupColor Bleed Test Setup
Simulated Color Bleed Test Sequence

To accurately measure the amount of color bleed that appears on monitors, we developed a test sequence with large blocks of primary colors, secondary colors and white, arranged in a row and column over a gray background. With the test pattern shown on screen, we place a Colorimetry Research CR-100 colorimeter aimed at the center of the screen and take a measurement of the grey area beside the pattern.

After each measurement, the pattern shifts to change the color aligned with the colorimeter's measurement area to consistently measure the amount of bleed that appears. We then measure a pure grey slide as a control and calculate the average variance both horizontally and vertically (Color dE).

Pixel Row Error

What it is: The amount of bleed that appears across the screen horizontally.
When it matters: General usage of a PC monitor, can appear when browsing the web or with media creation like graphics.
Good value: <0.2%
Noticeable difference: 0.1%

The pixel row error test represents the amount of color variance that appears in the area surrounding our test pattern horizontally. They usually look like faint bands that spread across the entire screen on either side of the image.

Horizontal Bleed Pattern 1Left side color bleed test pattern
Right side color bleed test patternRight side color bleed test pattern

Pixel Column Error

What it is: Amount of color bleeding that appears across the screen vertically.
When it matters: Most uses of a PC monitor. Can appear while browsing the web or when editing images or graphics.
Good value: <0.2%
Noticeable difference: 0.1%

The pixel column error test is equivalent to the previous test but it evaluates color variance of areas above and below the pattern instead of the sides. The pattern is also rotated to better enable the effect.

Vertical Bleed Pattern 1Top side color bleed test pattern
Bottom side color bleed test patternBottom side color bleed test pattern

How to get the best results

Unfortunately, color bleed tends to be an inherent property of the screen itself, so little can be done to reduce its appearance. We are not currently aware of methods to reduce its effects, so if this is an issue you feel might be problematic for your use-case, it is best to pick a monitor free of it when shopping.


Color bleed is an effect that appears on some monitors where colors seem to extend past the element they are supposed to be in and shade over the rest of what is shown on-screen. Not much can be done to limit its appearance except limit the amount of large uniform elements displayed on-screen. It is not an issue on most monitors, as even those that do show some bleed don't have an amount significant enough to be distracting.

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