Loading
Excel.Tips.Net ExcelTips (Menu Interface)

A Ruler in Excel

It seems odd that Word allows you to display an on-screen ruler, but Excel does not. Perhaps it is because you can scale Excel so that you can make whatever you want fit on any size page; perhaps not. Whatever the reason, you are left to your own devices to come up with a way to "measure" whatever you place on the screen.

One way you can approach the problem is to simply use your own physical ruler to determine on-screen measurements. This may seem strange, but it works pretty well. Try this:

  1. Open a new worksheet.
  2. Change the font used in the worksheet to Courier New.
  3. Change the width of each column to 12.
  4. Place a number one (a single digit) in columns A through G.
  5. Print the sheet.

If you get out your ruler, you should find that the digits on the printed page are about one inch apart. If they are not, then you can adjust the column widths and print again, until they are very close to an inch apart.

Now, hold the ruler up to the screen and measure the distance between the digits. Reduce the zoom setting for the screen until the digits are very close to an inch apart. (On my system, I needed to set the zoom at 82%.)

That's it. You can now use the ruler to figure out horizontal measurements on the screen. Even if you change the column widths or change the font, the zoom setting is what counts. In my case, every time I set my magnification at 82%, I can rest assured that what I see on screen is a very close approximation of what will print.

You can also use the same general approach to create your own graphic ruler. For instance, you could use a screen capture of the ruler in Word, and then size it to match the settings you made above. The graphic is "overlaid" on the screen (the same as you would do with a physical ruler), and therefore serves the same function.

Obviously, either of these workarounds takes a little trial and error. Hopefully, just about the time you get an approach figured out, Microsoft will release a version of Excel that has built-in rulers.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2484) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Related Tips:

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

 

Comments for this tip:

Michael (Micky) Avidan    11 Jun 2014, 15:59
@Bethany,
Can you, please, explain how this is done in the Excel versions(!) this tip refers to !?
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2014)
ISRAEL
rw    10 Jun 2014, 18:17
With all this knowledge it is EXTREAMLY weird that this is suggested. it appears to even Excel with Word in #7 MS removed the ruler or made it extremely difficult to find: What up with that??????
Bethany    16 Apr 2014, 11:46
Or just go to View > Page Layout.

It's not pretty, but the rulers are visible.

Leave your own comment:

*Name:
Email:
  Notify me about new comments ONLY FOR THIS TIP
Notify me about new comments ANYWHERE ON THIS SITE
Hide my email address
*Text:
*What is 4+5 (To prevent automated submissions and spam.)
 
          Commenting Terms
 
 

Our Company

Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

About Tips.Net

Contact Us

 

Advertise with Us

Our Privacy Policy

Our Sites

Tips.Net

Beauty and Style

Cars

Cleaning

Cooking

DriveTips (Google Drive)

ExcelTips (Excel 97–2003)

ExcelTips (Excel 2007–2013)

Gardening

Health

Home Improvement

Money and Finances

Organizing

Pests and Bugs

Pets and Animals

WindowsTips (Microsoft Windows)

WordTips (Word 97–2003)

WordTips (Word 2007–2013)

Our Products

Premium Newsletters

Helpful E-books

Newsletter Archives

 

Excel Products

Word Products

Our Authors

Author Index

Write for Tips.Net

Copyright © 2014 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.