Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Changing Measurement Units.

Changing Measurement Units

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 7, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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Word allows you to modify your work environment extensively. One of the changes you can make involves the default units of measurement used in dialog boxes and on the ruler. By default, Word uses inches, but you can customize the program so it will use centimeters, picas, points, or millimeters.

To change the default measurement units, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll through the available options until you see the Display section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Display section of the Advanced options in the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Using the Show Measurements in Units Of drop-down list, select the units of measurement you want used by default.
  6. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6698) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Changing Measurement Units.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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Comments

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What is seven more than 4?

2021-05-16 06:29:49

John Mann

@Ronald On my computer (Windows 10 Region Canada) if I set the units to cm in the options, then that's what appears as the units in the Custom Margins dialogue box.

If your system is defaulting to inches, then maybe you need to look at the regional settings in Windows


2020-06-10 02:29:23

aniket

thanks it helped:)


2020-05-20 06:56:53

Ronald

You can switch the measurement unit, but that doesn't change the default sizes and spacings.
I have word set to use A4 paper and dimensions in cm but it still defaults to 1" margins (2.54cm) and 1/2" indents (1.27cm).
With the entire world except the USA and UK now using the metric system, isn't it time Word makes that the default?


2020-04-19 21:46:23

asdf asd f

Thank you- very helpful


2019-08-19 14:52:20

Bruce Burson

Peter Kirkpatrick, scroll down to see more selections in the blue box.

(see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. 


2019-05-16 00:23:06

Peter Kirkpatrick

I have recently switched to Office 365. This tip supposedly applies to that version, but I can't find the Options dialog box anywhere. Snap shot attached. (see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. 


2019-05-11 05:36:17

robomaster

This helped a lot. Thanks!


2019-04-01 21:48:39

GG

Thank you! I spent way too long trying to fix this. Your article saved me.


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