Changing Stubborn Ruler Measurements

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 10, 2014)

Barbara has a problem on her system: The Ruler seems to be divided into points, but she needs it to display inches. She went through the usual approach of choosing Tools | Options | General tab to change the measurement units, but that wouldn't change things for her.

What Barbara is experiencing is a glitch in Word related to the Ruler. What she is seeing is not points, but character units, which are used when Word is working with Asian languages. This problem is described, along with a fix, at the following Knowledge Base article:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/299339

As the article says, this problem sometimes occurs when upgrading to Word 2003, but there have also been reports of it happening spontaneously in other versions of Word. As the article describes, there are two possible solutions.

One solution is to delete the data settings key in the Registry. This, of course, may also delete other configuration settings you don't want to lose in Word. (How to delete the data settings key, besides being described in the Knowledge Base article, is also described in other issues of WordTips.) Because of this drawback, it's best to try the other solution first:

  1. Press Alt+F11 to display the VBA Editor.
  2. Press Ctrl+G to display the Immediate window.
  3. Type this single command into the Immediate window, then press Enter:
     Options.UseCharacterUnit=False
  • Close the VBA Editor.
  • That's it; the character units should be gone, and your Ruler will use whatever setting you've made in Tools | Options | General 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 (240) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

    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

    Creating Oval Pictures

    A couple of ways to create oval shaped pictures in a Word document.

    Discover More

    Applying Conditional Formatting to Multiple Worksheets

    If you just updated your copy of Excel, you may have noticed some differences in how the program handles applying conditional ...

    Discover More

    Selecting a Paper Source

    If your printer allows you to specify different paper trays as sources for paper, you need to know how to select those other ...

    Discover More

    Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

    More WordTips (menu)

    Dotted Letter Fonts

    Teaching children to write the alphabet can be rewarding. One common way to teach is to create worksheets that show letters ...

    Discover More

    Scope of Word Options

    There are dozens and dozens of settings you can make in Word. Some of them affect only the current document, while others ...

    Discover More

    Persistent Reviewing Toolbar Display

    How to fix a problem with the Word 2000 issue of the Reviewing Toolbar disappearing.

    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 8 - 3?

    There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


    This Site

    Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon 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.