How to enable the ruler in Word

Aligning text, tables, images, and other graphical elements in Microsoft Word is done using a special auxiliary tool - the ruler. There are two types of rulers - horizontal and vertical. By default, this tool is disabled. Let's see how to enable it depending on the Word version.


Word 2007-2019

The latest versions of Microsoft Word have a rich set of features, but they are all based on MS Word 2007. The editors have a very similar interface and functional buttons. Therefore, adjusting the ruler in versions 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and MS Office 365 is practically the same. Word 2003 has its own differences, which will be discussed in the corresponding section at the end of the material.

Method #1

Go to the "View" tab on the toolbar, click on the "Display" button, and check the "Ruler" option in the drop-down menu. The ruler will be displayed below the toolbar and along the left side of the page.

Method #2

For convenience, MS Word provides a set of hotkeys. The key combinations may vary depending on the version. Here is an example for the Russian version:

To enable the ruler:

  • MS Word 2010 - press the "Alt" + "V" + "W" keys.
  • MS Word 2013-2019 - press the "Alt" + "V" + "I" keys.

The ruler will appear at the top and left side of the screen. Use the same sequence to disable it.

Method #3

Some users may only see the vertical ruler after using the methods described above. To enable the horizontal ruler, go to the "View" tab and click on the "Page Layout" button.

Then follow these steps:

  1. Go to the main Word menu by clicking on the "File" tab, scroll down, and select "Options".
  2. In the left menu, click on the "Advanced" section, and look for the subheading - "Display" or "Show" (depending on the version of the software).
  3. Check the "Show vertical ruler" option.

Method #4

This method only works in Word 2010, the functional button is not available in other versions of the software. To enable it, click on the "Ruler" button below the toolbar, just above the scroll bar.

Enable ruler in Microsoft Word 2010

Word 2003

Usually, the ruler is enabled by default in Word 2003. To enable it, click on the "View" tab and select the "Ruler" option from the drop-down menu. Disabling it is done in the same sequence.

If only the horizontal ruler is displayed after enabling it, go to "File", then "Options", and select the "View" section. In this window, look for "Layout and Web Document Options" and check the "Vertical ruler" option. Confirm the settings with the corresponding button below.

Unit of Measurement Settings

By default, the units of measurement are selected based on the region. In the Russian version, "Centimeters" are enabled. To view and change the units, click on the "File" tab, go to "Options", and select the "Advanced" section. In the "Display" subsection, the "Show measurements in units of" option is available. You can choose: inches, centimeters, millimeters, points, or picas.

Possible Display Issues

The solutions for the problem of only vertical rulers being displayed were mentioned in sections "Method #3" and "Word 2003". This is the most common issue.

In some Word builds, the display of fields is disabled by default, which may also cause issues with displaying the ruler. In this case, you need to go to the editor's "Options" through the "File" tab. In the left section, look for "Display" and the "Show field codes instead of their values" option. It should be checked.

In Word 2003, the settings are enabled in a similar way. Click on the "Tools" button, go to the "Options" section, select "View", and check the option to display fields.

If you've tried these steps and the issue with displaying the ruler persists (which is unlikely), please describe the problem in the comments and we will be happy to help.

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