Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Understanding Picas.

Understanding Picas

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 2, 2017)

A pica is a typographical term for a unit of measure. It is roughly equivalent to 1/6 of an inch. Picas are understood and used extensively by everyone in the publishing trade, particularly in design, typesetting, and printing.

If you are familiar with picas, you can use them as a standard measurement in Word. When entering a measurement in picas, simply use the characters pi at the end of the measurement. For instance, if you want to specify the space to be left after a paragraph as 2 picas, you would enter 2 pi in the After box of the Paragraph dialog box.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1070) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Understanding Picas.

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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