Changing Stubborn Ruler Measurements

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 11, 2020)

4

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.

    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 (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. ...

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    Comments

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    What is one more than 1?

    2019-10-15 22:32:35

    Sarah

    Thank you so much!!!
    There is nothing about this on Microsoft page, which is annoying.


    2019-10-06 19:08:26

    KarenS

    Hi, Allen - This is a great tip. I was hoping it might be the solution to a problem I'm currently having, but sadly, it's not. I wonder if there might be a similar type of glitch elsewhere in Word, though, that is related to my issue.

    I have a scenario where I'm trying to replace a string of characters (e.g., "xx") with the same string of characters plus some formatting (a 1" first-line indent):

    Find: xx
    Replace with: xx (plus Paragraph formatting of indent first line 1")

    My problem is that instead of reflecting my choice of a 1" indentation, Word changes that to "ch 0." I have tried this every which way to Sunday, and I get the same results. I made sure that my settings are set to use inches and not centimeters, just to make sure that didn't factor in to the equation. I also executed the command you suggested in the above tip, and that didn't change anything either.

    Any idea what's going on here?


    2018-03-09 18:04:13

    chi

    Thank you for this tip! This worked for Word 2010, which I 'd been struggling to fix for months. I'm truly lucky to have found this.


    2018-01-31 21:25:03

    Rudi

    This was very helpful for me to change to inches using the Word software in Japan! Thanks!


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