Measurement of Choice Isn't Persistent

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 8, 2019)

Celeste recently got a new PC at work, and it has Office 2003 installed on it. This system defaults to using points for the measurement system, instead of the inches that Celeste desires. She tried changing the measurement units using Tools | Options | General | Measurement Units, but they keep reverting to points.

It appears that your new PC is not necessarily new; chances are very good that it used to be someone else's system, and in preparation for delivery to you, Microsoft Office was upgraded from an older version to Office 2003. The problem you are describing sounds suspiciously like a bug that occurs periodically when upgrading from Word 2000 to either Word 2002 or Word 2003. Microsoft describes the problem in the Knowledge Base:

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

Basically, what you are seeing is not points, but character units. Normally these are used only when Word is working with Asian languages. 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. (This shouldn't be a big problem if you are working with a "new" PC on which you haven't done much customization.) How to delete the data settings key, besides being described in the Knowledge Base article, is also described in other issues of WordTips. If you don't want to lose other settings, it may actually be best to try the second fix 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 you can use Tools | Options | General | Measurement Units to set your measurement of choice.

    WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (302) 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

    Deleting All Graphics

    Graphics can really add pizzazz to a worksheet, but they can also present some drawbacks. If you want to get rid of all ...

    Discover More

    Placing Many Graphics in a Document

    Word documents can contain more than just text. You can even create documents that contain almost no text at all. This ...

    Discover More

    Protecting Worksheets from Deletion

    If you share a workbook with others in your office, you will probably want to make sure that some of the worksheets don't ...

    Discover More

    Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

    More WordTips (menu)

    Switching between a Dialog Box and the Document

    Word uses lots of dialog boxes as a way of setting configuration options and gathering information from users. When ...

    Discover More

    Changing Word to Work in English

    What are you to do if you know English but need to work in a version of Word that uses a language other than your own? ...

    Discover More

    Creating a Calendar Tool

    Word has no way to add a calendar to your document that can be used for inserting dates, but you can add a calendar tool ...

    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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 one more than 7?

    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.

    Videos
    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.