In the United States, the default unit of measurement for the ruler, margins, and indents in Microsoft Word is inches. However, you can change that unit of measurement to centimeters, millimeters, points, or picas.
Note that Word doesn’t provide a way to change the unit of measurement for the ruler, margins, and indents independently of each other.
This tutorial is available as a YouTube video showing all the steps in real time.
Watch more than 150 other writing-related software tutorials on my YouTube channel.
The images below are from Word for Microsoft 365. These steps also apply to Word 2021, Word 2019, Word 2016, and Word 2013.
Are you on a Mac? Please see “How to Change the Unit of Measurement for the Ruler, Margins, and Indents in Word for Mac.”
How to Change the Unit of Measurement for the Ruler, Margins, and Indents
- Select the File tab in the ribbon.
- Select the Options tab in the Backstage view.
- Select the Advanced tab in the Word Options dialog box.
- Scroll down to the Display section.
- Select Inches, Centimeters, Millimeters, Points, or Picas from the Show measurements in units of menu.
- Select the OK button.
Your horizontal and vertical rulers should change to your new unit of measurement.
In addition, you can select the Layout tab in the ribbon to ensure that the Margins and Indent menus have also changed to your new unit of measurement.
This change will apply to all your current and future documents.
However, existing custom margins or indents will not be physically changed. Instead, they will be displayed in the converted equivalent to their original custom setting.
For example, if you changed the unit of measurement from inches to centimeters, an existing two-inch margin would display as 5.08 centimeters.
Updated August 28, 2022