How to Display Ruler in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Need to measure something in your Word document or align text precisely? Displaying the ruler in Word is a quick fix you might be looking for. In just a few clicks, you can have a handy ruler appear at the top and side of your document, making formatting a breeze. Let’s dive into how to make that happen.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Display Ruler in Word

Before we start clicking, know that displaying the ruler will give you a visual guide to help with text alignment, indentation, and overall layout of your document. Here’s how to get that ruler up on your screen.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word

Open your Microsoft Word program to get started.

Whether you’re working on a new document or an existing one, you’ll need to have Word open to display the ruler. If Word is already open, make sure you’re in the document where you want the ruler to appear.

Step 2: Go to the View Tab

Click on the ‘View’ tab located at the top of the Word window.

The ‘View’ tab is where you’ll find various options to customize how your document appears on the screen, including the ruler option.

Step 3: Check the Ruler Box

In the ‘Show’ group within the ‘View’ tab, check the box next to ‘Ruler.’

Once you’ve clicked ‘Ruler,’ the rulers will immediately appear at the top and left side of your Word document. If you don’t see them, it might be because your window isn’t maximized, so try adjusting the size of the Word window.

After you complete these steps, the ruler will be displayed in your document, and you can start using it to measure and align your content.

Tips on How to Display Ruler in Word

  • If the ‘Ruler’ option is greyed out, make sure you’re not in ‘Read Mode’ or ‘Web Layout’ view, as the ruler is not available in these views.
  • The horizontal ruler can be used to set tab stops, adjust margins, and indent text, while the vertical ruler can help with aligning objects like images and tables.
  • Double-clicking on the ruler will open the ‘Page Setup’ dialog box where you can make more precise adjustments to margins and layout.
  • If you frequently use the ruler, consider adding it to your Quick Access Toolbar for easier access.
  • Remember that the ruler units are based on your system’s settings, so if you need a different unit (like centimeters instead of inches), you’ll have to change your system’s regional settings.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I display the ruler in Word on a Mac?

To display the ruler in Word on a Mac, go to the ‘View’ menu at the top of the screen and select ‘Ruler’ from the dropdown list.

Why can’t I see the vertical ruler in Word?

The vertical ruler only appears in ‘Print Layout’ view. If you’re in another view, switch to ‘Print Layout’ by going to the ‘View’ tab and selecting it.

Can I customize the units of measurement on the ruler in Word?

Yes, you can customize the units by going to ‘File,’ then ‘Options,’ and selecting ‘Advanced.’ Scroll down to ‘Display’ and choose the unit you prefer from the ‘Show measurements in units of’ dropdown.

Is there a shortcut to display the ruler in Word?

There isn’t a direct keyboard shortcut, but you can add the ruler to your Quick Access Toolbar and then use Alt + a number key to activate it.

Will the ruler settings be saved for all my Word documents?

The ruler display is a per-document setting. If you open a new document, you will need to display the ruler again following the same steps.


  1. Open Microsoft Word.
  2. Click on the ‘View’ tab.
  3. Check the box next to ‘Ruler.’


Displaying the ruler in Word is a simple yet impactful way to enhance your document formatting. By following the steps outlined above, you can quickly add this tool to your document and take full advantage of its features. Whether you’re setting tabs, margins, or aligning objects, the ruler is an indispensable asset.

Remember, like most things in Word, it’s all about finding the tools that work best for you and your specific project. So give it a try, play around with it, and see how much easier it makes your formatting tasks. You might find yourself wondering how you ever managed without it!

And if you’re ever in doubt or run into any hiccups, revisit this guide or reach out to the many Word user communities out there. There’s always something new to learn, and someone willing to help. Now go forth and measure away with your newly displayed ruler in Word!

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