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: Detailed Measurements.

Detailed Measurements

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 28, 2015)

5

The ruler, when displayed in Word, is a very helpful tool. However, it would sometimes be very nice to know a bit more than what the ruler can quickly show you. For instance, you can see on the ruler that you have a tab set at three inches, but what if you want to know how far that tab is from the right margin instead of the left?

Word includes a nifty feature that allows you to see exactly where your tabs and margin settings reside on a line. To take advantage of this tool, click on a tab or margin marker on the ruler. Do not release the mouse button, however. Now, click on the right mouse button. You should now be holding down both mouse buttons.

If you move the mouse ever so slightly, you'll notice that the normal ruler measurements disappear and instead there are distance measurements. The measurements outside the margins show how far to the edge of the paper; those inside show how far it is from a tab to both margins.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7980) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Detailed Measurements.

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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What is 4 + 1?

2015-10-28 10:07:59

Kathryn

I am collaborating with about 7-8 folks on a large document. We use numbered headers and sometimes when I move the header below another section or promote or demote a header, it will not automatically update. Does anyone have a good remedy to handle the automatic numbering of headers?


2013-03-25 09:22:41

John Patrick

A slight revision to Harry's tip. You can hold down the ALT key and then click on various items to get precise measurements. This works for tables, cells within tables (if the cell is selected), tabs, paragraph margins, and probably other items as well, if I could think of them!


2013-03-23 23:50:15

Juan

Wonderful tip, thanks a lot Harry for enriching the trick, I tested with ALT key and now it works!


2013-03-23 07:59:49

Harry Stone

This tip also works by clicking on the ruler (and hold) then press the <Alt> key from the keyboard (rather than the R/H mouse). No 'ever so slight' mouse movement required - except for Word 2013 (strange).


2013-03-23 07:32:55

Lynn McDonald

This is brilliant - something I have needed to know many times and would never have figured out myself. Thank you so much for all your great tips!


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