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

Pulling AutoShape Text from a Worksheet Cell

AutoShapes can easily contain text—just click on the shape and start typing away. You may want the text in the ...

Discover More

Changing Chart Type

Charts can either be embedded in a worksheet or take up an entire sheet by themselves. Changing from one type of chart to the ...

Discover More

Highlighting Duplicate Words

One way to help improve your writing is to minimize the number of duplicated words you use in your prose. Depending on the ...

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)

Finding a Lost Menu Bar

Once in a while Word can get confused and stop displaying an object you need to fully use Word. If your menu bar suddenly ...

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 order ...

Discover More

Removing Errant Buttons

Got some toolbar buttons that are rather stubborn? Getting rid of buttons that are installed by an external program can be ...

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. 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 four less than 8?

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.