Adobe Photoshop: How to Change Ruler Units to Pixels from Inches

Adobe Photoshop is an incredibly powerful tool used by graphic designers, photographers, and creatives of all types. One of the key aspects of using Photoshop effectively is understanding how to use its various measurement options. If you’re working on web graphics or any digital project, you might need to change the ruler from its default setting in inches to pixels. Luckily, this is a quick and easy process.

After changing the ruler to pixels, you will see the measurements around your canvas switch from inches to pixels, which is the standard unit of measurement for digital images. This will make it easier to align elements precisely and create designs that are optimized for web usage.


Adobe Photoshop is a versatile software that caters to the needs of many professionals in the digital space. Whether you’re a web designer, photographer, or artist, understanding how to navigate and use Photoshop’s features is crucial. One such feature is the ruler, which helps in measuring and aligning objects within your project. By default, the ruler might be set to inches, which is useful for print projects.

But what if you’re not creating a print project? What if you need to design a website, a banner, or any other digital asset? You’ll need your measurements in pixels, not inches. This might seem like a small detail, but it can make a huge difference in your workflow and the accuracy of your designs. Knowing how to switch the ruler to pixels is vital for anyone working in the digital realm. It’s not just about convenience; it’s about precision, and in the world of digital design, precision is king.

Step by Step Tutorial: Change Ruler to Pixels

Before we dive into the steps, let’s quickly go over what we’re about to do. We’re going to change the ruler measurement from inches to pixels in Adobe Photoshop. This will help us design more precisely for digital platforms.

Step 1: Open the “Edit” Menu

Go to the “Edit” menu at the top of the screen.

In this step, you will find the “Edit” menu at the top of your Photoshop screen. Click on it to open the dropdown menu where you will find various options for customizing your Photoshop workspace.

Step 2: Select “Preferences”

Choose “Preferences” from the dropdown menu, then “Units & Rulers.”

After clicking on “Preferences,” a side menu will appear. Here, you’ll see “Units & Rulers.” This is where you can change the units of measurement that Photoshop uses.

Step 3: Change Units to Pixels

In the “Units & Rulers” dialog box, change the “Rulers” dropdown to “Pixels.”

Once you’re in the “Units & Rulers” dialog box, you’ll see an option for “Rulers.” Click on the dropdown next to it and select “Pixels” from the list. This will change the measurement system for your rulers throughout the program.


AccuracyChanging the ruler to pixels allows for precise placement and sizing of elements, which is crucial for digital design.
Workflow EfficiencyIt streamlines your workflow, saving time and reducing the need to convert measurements manually.
ConsistencyEnsures consistency in design, especially when working with web or app layouts that rely on pixel dimensions.


Limited RelevanceThe pixel measurement is relevant only for digital projects and not for print designs.
Possible ConfusionSwitching between units can be confusing and may lead to errors if not tracked properly.
Adaptation CurveThere might be a learning curve for those accustomed to working in inches or other units.

Additional Information

When working in Photoshop, you might wonder why there’s such an emphasis on pixels. Pixels are the smallest unit of a digital image or graphic. They are the building blocks of all the visual content we see on screens. By setting your ruler to pixels, you’re aligning your design process with the very foundation of digital imagery. This not only ensures accuracy but also gives you more control over the final output.

Another tip to keep in mind is that when you switch the ruler to pixels, it might be helpful to adjust your grid settings as well. This way, you can snap your elements to a pixel-perfect grid, ensuring even greater precision in your designs. Lastly, remember that while pixels are perfect for digital work, if you’re designing something that will be printed, you’ll need to switch back to inches or centimeters.


  1. Open the “Edit” menu.
  2. Select “Preferences” and then “Units & Rulers.”
  3. Change the “Rulers” dropdown to “Pixels.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I want to change the ruler to pixels?

For digital projects like web design, working in pixels is more precise and standard for screen resolutions.

Will changing the ruler to pixels affect my print designs?

No, it will only affect how you measure elements in Photoshop. For print designs, you can switch back to inches or centimeters.

Can I switch between pixels and inches easily?

Yes, you can change the measurement unit any time by following the same steps and selecting your desired unit.

Does changing to pixels affect image quality?

No, it only changes the unit of measurement for the ruler. Image quality is determined by other factors.

Can I set pixels as the default unit of measurement?

Yes, once you change the ruler to pixels, Photoshop will remember your preference until you change it again.


In the world of digital design, pixels reign supreme. They’re the language of screens, the measure of all things web. And Adobe Photoshop, the versatile tool that it is, can speak that language fluently. All it takes is a few clicks to change the ruler to pixels, aligning your canvas with the demands of the digital age.

This simple adjustment can make a world of difference in your design process, ensuring that every element is placed with pixel-perfect precision. So next time you fire up Photoshop for a digital project, remember to speak in pixels; it’s the language your design deserves.

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