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Misbehaving Rulers

Subscriber David Smith wrote concerning a problem he is having with Word 2002. It seems that every time he opens a document, the rulers don't show up. When he displays the rulers, they don't show measurements in inches, as he wants.

This problem seems to be one that Microsoft is aware of. It occurs primarily if you recently upgraded from Word 2000 to Word 2002. The measurement system you see displayed on the rulers is "character units," which is the default unit of measurement used when Word is configured for East Asian languages.

There are several ways you can solve this problem. The first is to enable an Asian language so that you can actually turn off the character units setting. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose Programs from the Start menu, and then choose Microsoft Office Tools.
  2. Run the Microsoft Office XP Language Settings program.
  3. Using the language settings tool, choose a language such as Chinese (Traditional) or Japanese, then click on the Add button. Make sure you leave the default version of Microsoft Office set to the one you normally run.
  4. Exit the language settings tool. If you are asked if it is OK to shut down applications, say No.
  5. Start Word 2002.
  6. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  7. Make sure the General tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  8. Figure 1. The General tab of the Options dialog box.

  9. Clear the Use Character Units check box.

You can, at this point, close Word and if desired repeat steps 1 through 4 to remove the Asian language you selected.

Another option is to turn the setting off from within Visual Basic. This is very easy to do; just follow these steps:

  1. Press Alt+F11 to display the VBA Editor.
  2. If the Immediate window is not visible, press Ctrl+G to display it, or choose Immediate Window from the View menu.
  3. In the Immediate window, type the following and press Enter:
  4.      Options.UseCharacterUnit = False
  5. Close the VBA Editor.

If neither of the above fixes work, you may have a corrupted Word Data key in the Registry. Follow these steps:

  1. Exit Word.
  2. Start your favorite Registry editor.
  3. Locate the following data key:
  4.      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Word\Data
  5. Rename the entire key to something else, or simply delete it.
  6. Close the Registry editor.
  7. Restart Word.

Information on this particular problem with Word 2002 can be found in the Microsoft Knowledge Base, at this address:


WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1807) applies to Microsoft Word 2002.

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