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: Understanding Point Sizes.

Understanding Point Sizes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 1, 2017)

1

A point is a typographical term for a unit of measure. It is equivalent to 1/72 of an inch. Points are understood and used extensively by everyone in the publishing trade, particularly in design, typesetting, and printing. They are most commonly used with type specifications. Word uses point sizes to specify the height of all the fonts it uses. Thus, when you use a 12-point type, you are using one that occupies a character box approximately 12/72 (or 1/6) of an inch high from the top of the highest riser, to the bottom of the lowest descender. Likewise, 72-point type uses a character box that is about one inch tall.

In typesetting, points are also the measurement of choice when specifying line leading (as discussed in the next tip). It is not uncommon to specify type in the format 10/12, meaning 10-point type on 12-point line leading.

If you are familiar with points, you can use them as a standard measurement in Word. When entering a measurement in points, simply use the characters pt at the end of the measurement. Alternately, you can set your default measurement to points by following these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and Word 2013 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Select the Advanced option at the left of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll down until you can see the Display section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The advanced options of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Use the Show Measurements in Units drop-down list to choose Points.
  6. Click OK to save the change.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8797) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding Point Sizes.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Converting Numbers to Text

Got some numbers you need spelled out? Here's a handy macro that can convert numbers like "123" to words like "one hundred ...

Discover More

Blocking the First Sentence from File Info

When you save a file, the information from the start of the file is saved in the properties for the document, and can be seen ...

Discover More

Deletions Don't Work as Expected

We all get into habits, including in how we use Word. If you are used to deleting text in a particular way, and all of a ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Squeezing Everything In

Do you have just a line or two of text that 'spills over' onto another printed page? Here are some ways you can compress your ...

Discover More

Noting Formatting Inconsistencies

When you create a document, Word is constantly checking behind the scenes to make sure that what you type makes sense. Tools ...

Discover More

Making a Customized Theme Available to Others

Microsoft Office applications (including Word) allow you to work with collections of common formatting specifications, called ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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 less than 6?

2017-07-06 06:32:14

Amith

I am designing some labels stickers in MS word. In word 1 inch = 72 points, but in my label it should be 1 inch = 100 points.

I am using a formula to convert which is: MS Word Point = (Given Point x 72) / 100

So for suppose i need to print a text with 8 points(given) the MS word point would be "5.76" , but MS word does not allow 5.76.

Is there any setup with which 5.76 is allowed in MS word ?? OR can we setup 1 inch =100 points in MS word???


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
Subscribe

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.