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: Precise Ruler Adjustments.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 7, 2015)
You already know that you can precisely adjust items by using the various dialog boxes that Word makes available through the use of the menus. For instance, you can precisely adjust tab settings by using the Tabs dialog box, which is displayed by starting at the Home tab of the ribbon, clicking the icon at the bottom-right of the Paragraph group (to display the Paragraph dialog box), and then clicking the Tabs button at the bottom-left of the dialog box.
There are times, however, when you may want to do some precise formatting using the mouse, instead of pulling up a dialog box. If the formatting element is displayed on the Ruler, you are in luck—Word provides a handy way to be very precise. All you need to do is hold down the Alt key as you use the mouse to drag different items around on the Ruler. When you do this, Word displays distances on the Ruler very precisely, allowing you to adjust positioning to a hundredth of an inch.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10596) 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: Precise Ruler Adjustments.
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!
Want to know exactly how far something on the ruler is from the left and right margins of your document? It's easy to figure ...Discover More
Legal documents often use automatic line numbering for their documents. If you want to format those line numbers, you can do ...Discover More
Want to copy a format from one place to another without taking your hands off the keyboard? It's easy to do if you apply the ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.