How to Convert Munsell to Pantone

By Noah Christman

The Munsell color system, recognized internationally by a wide variety of standards organizations, identifies colors based upon three dimensions -- hue, value and chroma -- which can be changed independent of each other. Munsell colors uniqueness is that it can be displayed in three-dimensional space, with hue, or the general color, represented as a circular ring surrounding a column of value, or lightness, and then with chroma, or the saturation of the color, representing layers in the ring. Using a spectrometer, you can select Munsell color values and have it identify the closest Pantone color.

Things You'll Need

  • Spectrometer
  • Color matching software with Pantone color library

Step 1

Identify the Munsell color you wish to select. If it is printed, set it away from other colors and ensure nothing is behind it that may show through.

Step 2

Connect the spectrometer to the computer and open the color matching software. Load the Pantone color library.

Step 3

Rest the spectrometer on the Munsell spot color, so that the sensor is directly above the color swatch and have it sample the color.

Step 4

Click the button on the spectrometer to have the color matching software automatically load the closest Pantone color swatch, identify its Pantone number and show a preview of the color swatch on your screen.

Tips & Warnings

  • Because Pantone and Munsell colors are determined using different color values, it is nearly impossible to get a perfect color match between the two systems. A spectrometer will use its sophisticated algorithms to most closely match the spot color to a Pantone swatch.
  • Calibrating your computer monitor before using the spectrometer will ensure the color shown on your screen is as close to the Munsell spot color as possible.