Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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 March 31, 2016)


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 Word 2013 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, and 2013. 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. ...


Changing Default Languages

Modifying the default language used by Word.

Discover More

Slowing Down Mouse Selection

Ever tried to select a range of cells using the mouse, only to have the cells scroll by so quickly you can't make the ...

Discover More

Quickly Transposing Cells

If you want to turn a range of cells by 90 degrees within a worksheet, you need to understand how Excel can handle the ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Setting User Information

Need to change the information that Word stores about you? Here's how to find the info.

Discover More

Potential Shortcut Key Problems

When configuring Word so that it matches your preference in shortcut keys, you need to be careful about what shortcut ...

Discover More

Displaying the File Tab of the Ribbon by Default

When you first start Word, it displays the Home tab of the ribbon. If you want to display a different ribbon tab by ...

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 9 - 4?

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.