An Unruly Ruler

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 18, 2014)

Most people who do a lot of work with Word utilize the horizontal ruler that appears just below the toolbar at the top of your document. You may not know it, but the behavior of the ruler is fairly complex, and is affected by several settings in Word.

You can control the availability of the ruler by using the Ruler option on the View menu. When this option is selected, the ruler is visible most of the time. In reality, the ruler is only displayed in Normal, Page Layout (Word 97), Print Layout (Word 2000 and later), and Web Layout (Word 2000 and later) views. It is also visible if the Document Map is turned on. The ruler is not visible if you are using the Outline or Master Document views.

Even with the ruler turned off, it may still be available to you. This availability is controlled by a rather obscure setting in Word. Select Options from the Tools menu, then make sure the General tab is selected. If the Provide Feedback with Animation check box is selected, the ruler is available even when turned off—at least in some of the views.

What happens is that with the ruler turned off (again, from the View menu), it "rolls up" to a thin gray line that appears just below the toolbar. If you position the mouse pointer over the gray line for a short period of time (about the time it takes to normally display a Tool Tip), the ruler becomes visible. When you subsequently move the mouse pointer away from the ruler, it rolls back up to the thin gray line.

This behavior of the rolled-up ruler is available in Normal, Web Layout (Word 2000 and later), Page Layout (Word 97), and Print Layout (Word 2000 and later) views. It is also available with the Document Map turned on. It is not available in Outline or Master Document view.

Online Layout view, which is available only in Word 97, is a bit different. If you have Provide Feedback with Animation selected, the ruler always appears as a thin gray line, even if it is selected on the View menu. If the Provide Feedback with Animation option is not selected, then the ruler is not displayed, even if it is selected on the View menu.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1362) 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

Automatically Capitalizing Day Names

Type the name of any of the seven days into your document, and Word automatically makes sure it is capitalized. This is ...

Discover More

Margins for All Documents Changing

Have you had the margins in a group of documents change without you knowingly doing anything? This tip explores some ...

Discover More

Ensuring Proper Page Numbers for a Table of Authorities

Automatically create a Table of Authorities entry in your document, and Word might place the necessary field at the wrong ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (menu)

Reveal Codes in Word

While there are no true Reveal Codes in Word, as in WordPerfect, as they are vastly different word processors, there is a ...

Discover More

Changing Dialog Box Pull-Down List Item Order

When selecting options within menus, Word frequently displays additional options in dialog boxes. While customizing the ...

Discover More

Moving Found Text Down On a Page

When you use the Search feature to find information, if the information is not on the visible page, then Word displays ...

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 - 2?

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.