How to Display Ruler in Word Office 365 Guide

Some common questions that people can have about Microsoft Word are “how do you turn on the ruler in Word” or “how do you add the ruler in Word?” It’s a very useful tool, so its absence is pretty noticeable. Luckily you are able to make some simple changes and show the ruler in Word Office 365.

How to Add the Ruler in Word for Office 365

  1. Open the document.
  2. Click View.
  3. Check the Ruler box.

Our guide continues below with additional information on adding the ruler to a Word document, including pictures of these steps.

Sometimes when you’re working with a document in Microsoft Word, the physical size of some of the elements on your page can be important.

That’s why it can be so useful to have the ruler in Word Office 365 when you are trying to line up document objects or measure how big something will be when it prints.

You can use gridlines to help with that, but they might not be as effective as you would like.

The size of certain elements can be difficult to determine on the screen, as what you see on your computer usually doesn’t reflect the actual size when it’s printed.

One way to solve this is to display the ruler on the screen. This lets you determine how large an image, table, column, or other document elements will be when it’s printed.

Our tutorial below will show you how to display the ruler in Microsoft Word if it’s not currently visible.

Find out how to get character count in Word if you need to know how many letters and numbers are in your document, or a partial selection in your document.

How to Show the Ruler in Microsoft Word (Guide with Pictures)

The steps in this article were performed in Microsoft Word for Office 365, but will work in many earlier versions of Word as well. When you’re done with this article, find out how to hide comments when printing in Word if that’s an issue you’ve encountered before.

Step 1: Open your document in Word.

Step 2: Select the View tab at the top of the window.

click the view tab

Step 3: Check the box to the left of Ruler in the Show section of the ribbon.

how to display the ruler in word

You should now see a ruler at the top and left side of the screen, like in the picture below.

what the ruler looks like in microsoft word

You should now know how to insert ruler in Word in the future if you discover that it’s missing.

Our tutorial continues below with additional discussion about how you can show vertical ruler and horizontal ruler elements next to your document.

If you need to add or reduce the number of columns in a document, then check out our how to make columns in Word Office 365 guide.

Why Can’t I Show Vertical Ruler Unless I’m in Print Layout View?

The various display settings that you can switch between on the View menu are meant for specific things.

You might want to use Read Mode, for example, if the main reason that you have a document open in Microsoft Word is so that you can read it. Word limits the number of proofing tools on the screen when you’re in Read Mode, as it is trying to reduce the visible distraction to allow you to focus on the content. You will also not be able to view ribbon controls when you are in this view mode.

Print Layout mode lets you see how the document will look when it’s printed on paper. Since the size of print elements is important for a printed document, the inclusion of the vertical and horizontal rulers is important.

The Web Layout view is how the document would look as a web page. The display section spans the entire width of the window, which can be a useful characteristic when you have large tables or other wider elements that aren’t easy to view when you’re in the Print Layout.

Hopefully, this provides some additional clarity on why you may be struggling if you followed our instructions above on how to put ruler on Word documents.

More Information on How to Get the Horizontal and Vertical Ruler in Word Office 365 User Interface

As you can see there are just a couple of steps involved when you need to activate ruler in Word. Since it’s such a useful utility that can help to resolve some common problems, be sure to check that View tab when the ruler is missing from the Word interface.

The steps in our article above assume that you are viewing the document in the Print Layout view. If you are in Web Layout or Read Mode then you will need to switch back to Print Layout to show window elements like the ruler.

The ruler provides more than just a convenient way for you to see how large various elements of your document are.

You can also use the ruler in Word Office 365 to add things like:

  • left indent
  • right indent
  • first line indent
  • hanging indent
  • adjusting margins

Most of these ruler tool options are found by clicking the various buttons and guides that appear once the rulers are in active view in the Word panel.

If you make a mistake when you are adjusting the ruler controls and are having trouble getting them back, you can go to Layout > Page Setup and adjust the options on the Page Setup dialog box instead.

Note that you open the Page Setup dialog box by clicking the tiny Page Setup button that appears at the bottom-right corner of the Page Setup section on the ribbon.

Are you working on a document with other people, and the comments in the document keep printing with the document text? Find out how to hide comments when printing in Word if you don’t need them on your physical copy of the document.

Additional Reading