Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Default Units that Change.

Default Units that Change

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 30, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Martyn likes to use millimeters as his default measurement unit in Word. So, he displays the advanced settings in the Word Options dialog box and sets the default units according to his preference. The problem is, a few days later those default units can change to something else, such as points. Martyn wonders why this occurs and how he can make his preference stick.

There are a couple of things that can be tried. First, open the Normal template. (Open the template directly, using the Open dialog box.) With the template open, set the default measurement unit and then save the template. Then close and restart Word. Unless you later change the Normal.dot template, the default measurement units should remain the same for all your new documents.

This brings up the second possible problem area—working with documents configured differently. It seems that the default measurement units are stored on a document-by-document basis. This means that if you have any documents configured to use a different default measurement unit or if you open a document sent to you by someone else and they don't use the same measurement unit as you, then you can find that you are all of a sudden working with different units.

The solution to this problem is to create an AutoOpen macro that sets your default measurement units. Something as simple as this could work:

Sub AutoOpen()
    Options.MeasurementUnit = wdMillimeters
End Sub

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10669) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Default Units that Change.

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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