Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 3, 2018)


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 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, and 2016. 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. ...


Alternative Ways of Creating Random Text

You can use a built-in Word feature (RAND) to create random text, but such text may not be to your liking. This tip ...

Discover More

Getting Rid of Blank Labels in a Filtered Merge

If you are filtering a mail merge in Excel, and you get blank labels in the printout in Word, chances are good that ...

Discover More

Finding the Nth Root of a Number

Finding a square root is easy because Excel provides a worksheet function for that purpose. Finding a different root may ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Changing the Ribbon Font Size

Changing the size at which your document is displayed is easy. What, though, of the elements that make up the Word ...

Discover More

Viewing Multiple Pages

If you have a large monitor, you can view more than one page at a time in Word. This is very handy when you want to ...

Discover More

Changing the Startup Directory

When you start Word, it makes an assumption about where your documents are stored. If you want to force Word to change ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four more than 2?

2018-08-09 04:43:39

Dolly Mohan Kotwani

Great Help Thank you

2017-12-19 04:50:12


Thank you

2017-11-13 10:14:14

ray allen

Being able to use metric units of measure to specify paper sizes is only half the solution.

I also want to specify type sizes in millimeters, but have been unable to find a way to do that in MS Office.

There is a Germain digital typesetting standard (DIN 16507-2), but most programmers seem to ignore either this standard or the English Metric Unit ( and assume that the entire the world uses Imperial units of measure.

Any suggestions?

2017-11-09 00:29:58

Arjay Talosig

thank you!

2017-10-27 03:34:01


Thank you. It was most helpful.

2017-10-22 04:29:15


Thank you for useful info

2017-10-04 10:03:09


This was helpful. Thanks Allen

2017-08-22 00:17:26


Thank you soo much

2017-08-05 11:06:19


Thank u very much

2017-04-12 07:34:18


Great help

2017-02-09 04:31:58

from mongolia

Thank you

2017-01-26 07:46:34


Tips was to the point and thus very helpful. Thank you

2017-01-03 13:34:43

barakat nasher

great thanks. this was helpful.

2016-12-13 10:04:19


it was confusing to use!!!!!

2016-12-06 04:59:08


Tips was to the point and thus very helpful Grazzi.

2016-08-25 15:08:19


Much appreciated

2016-08-09 13:16:52


Thanks you

2016-07-27 10:13:01

Lori Collins

I cannot get to a "Word Options" screen. Options does not come up on my File drop down. Please advise!

2016-07-21 10:40:53



2016-06-23 05:05:52

Hilario Diaz


2016-06-02 02:05:09

Ed Babington

I have changed the default measurement setting to centimetres and use centimetres throughout all documents. Why then do the default normal, narrow, wide etc margin measurements still appear in imperial measures? How can they be removed?

2016-03-17 13:15:39


Hi. My MS Word on my Mac is always in the unit of centimeters. I keep changing it to inches but when I close the Word and open again, it's back to centimeters. What do I do???

2015-02-22 20:17:17


Thankyou so much!

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.