Changing the Measurement Units for Your Word Documents (Inches to Centimeters or Vice Versa)

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated January 10, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® Word® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

You can easily change the measurement system units in Microsoft Word for all of your documents. If you'd prefer to work in inches rather than cm (centimeters) or vice versa, simply change the measurement system in Word's Options. You can choose inches, centimeters, millimeters, points or picas. Changes in the measurement system will affect Word's Ruler as well as various dialog boxes (including the Paragraph dialog where you can change paragraph indents).

Unless the client or publication has a specific requirement for a type of measurement, most Microsoft Word users measure in inches or centimeters. Word and most graphic design programs support points, picas and other units and it is easy to convert from one unit to another.

Recommended article: How to Hide Comments in Word (or Display Them)

Do you want to learn more about Microsoft Word? Check out our virtual classroom or in-person Word courses >

Changing the measurement system in Microsoft Word

To change the measurement system in Microsoft Word from centimeters to inches or to another unit of measure:

  1. Click the File tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Click Advanced in the categories on the left.
  4. Scroll down to the Display group in the panel on the right.
  5. Beside Show measurements in units of, choose inches, centimeters, millimeters, points or pics from the drop-down menu.
  6. Click OK.

Below is the Word Options dialog box with the option to change measurement settings:

Word Options dialog box to change measurement system units.

Below is the Ruler in Microsoft Word in inches:

Microsoft Word Ruler in inches.

Below is the Ruler in Microsoft Word in centimeters (cm):

Microsoft Word Ruler in cm.

If the Ruler is not displayed, click the View tab in the Ribbon and ensure the Ruler check box is checked.

Understanding points and picas

The two units of measurement most commonly used for typesetting and design are points and picas.

A point is equal to 1/72 inch (72 points in an inch). To be more precise, 1 point is equal to .013836 inch so 72 points are actually .996264 inch. This is rounded up for practical reasons. Points are the measurement unit most often used in printed publications created by graphic designers to indicate the size of type (font size) as well as the space between lines (this would be line spacing in Word but is called leading in many other programs). Points are often abbreviated as "pt". Typographers would have traditionally referred to a type setting as 12/16 which would mean a 12 point type with 16 point leading or line spacing.

A pica is slightly less than 1/6 inch and contains 12 points. Picas are often used for fixed horizontal measurements (most often column width). They are commonly used by graphic designers when designing newspapers, magazines, newsletters and ads. Picas are often abbreviated as "p" (such as 16p). For example, the standard width for one column of text on a three-column grid on an 8.5" x 11" document is 14 picas and 4 points (normally abbreviated as 14p4).

Although most Microsoft Word users tend to use inches or centimeters as their preferred measurement system, points are used for font size and the space before and after paragraphs (in the Paragraph dialog box).

Subscribe to get more articles like this one

Did you find this article helpful? If you would like to receive new articles, join our email list.

More resources

How to Insert a Line in Word (3+ Ways)

How to Number Pages in Word (Step-by-Step)

How to Compress Images in Microsoft Word to Reduce File Size

How to Insert or Type the Degree Symbol in Word (5 Ways to Insert °)

How to Create a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word (Insert, Format and Update a TOC)

Related courses

Microsoft Word: Intermediate / Advanced

Microsoft Word: Styles, Templates and Tables of Contents

Microsoft Word: Designing Dynamic Word Documents Using Fields

Microsoft Word: Long Documents Master Class

Microsoft Word: Accessible Word Documents

Microsoft PowerPoint: Intermediate / Advanced

VIEW MORE COURSES >

Our instructor-led courses are delivered in virtual classroom format or at our downtown Toronto location at 18 King Street East, Suite 1400, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (some in-person classroom courses may also be delivered at an alternate downtown Toronto location). Contact us at info@avantixlearning.ca if you'd like to arrange custom instructor-led virtual classroom or onsite training on a date that's convenient for you.

Copyright 2022 Avantix® Learning

You may also like

4 Ways to Delete a Table in Word

4 Ways to Delete a Table in Word

You can delete a table in a Word document in 4 simple ways – using the Ribbon, using the context menu, using the Backspace key or by selecting a paragraph and a table and pressing Delete.

How to Make Columns in Word

How to Make Columns in Word

You can make columns in Word documents in a few different ways. There are two types of columns you can create – newspaper-style columns where the text flows from column to column or tables with columns and rows. You can create documents that contain two, three or more columns. In this article, we'll review how to set up newspaper-style columns. If you want to create a table, check out How to Create a Table in Word (4 Ways).

4 Ways to Create a Table in Word

4 Ways to Create a Table in Word

You can create a table in a Word document in 4 easy ways using the Ribbon. A table is a grid made up of columns and rows that intersect to form cells. You can insert text, numbers and images in a table. Once you have inserted a table, you can easily add and resize columns and rows and change table formatting.

Microsoft, the Microsoft logo, Microsoft Office and related Microsoft applications and logos are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in Canada, US and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of the registered owners.

Avantix Learning |18 King Street East, Suite 1400, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5C 1C4 | Contact us at info@avantixlearning.ca

Summary
How to Change the Measurement System Units in Microsoft Word (from Inch to Cm and Vice Versa)
Article Name
How to Change the Measurement System Units in Microsoft Word (from Inch to Cm and Vice Versa)
Description
You can easily change the measurement system units in Microsoft Word for all of your documents. If you’d prefer to work in inches rather than centimeters (or vice versa), simply change the measurement system in Word’s Options.
Author
Publisher Name
Avantix Learning

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This