How to show and use a ruler in Word document

31 May 2024By Dasha

Working with Word documents often requires precise formatting and alignment. One of the most essential tools for achieving this is the ruler. In this article, we will explore what it is, how to display a ruler in a Word document, and various ways to use it effectively.

How to show and use a ruler in Word document

What is a ruler?

A ruler in a Word document is a vital tool that provides a visual guide for measuring and aligning text, images, tables, and other elements within your document. Positioned at the top and left sides of the document window, it helps ensure consistent and precise formatting. This tool is useful for setting margins, indents, and tab stops and is essential for creating professional-looking documents.

How to show and use a ruler in Word document

Margins define the blank space around the edges of the page, indents control the distance between the text and the margin, and tab stops allow for precise text alignment at specific horizontal positions. With a ruler, users can achieve a more organized and aesthetically pleasing layout, making their documents easier to read and more visually appealing. Whether you are creating a simple letter or a complex report, the ruler is an indispensable feature for maintaining proper structure and alignment.

Now, let’s see where is a ruler in Word documents using the ONLYOFFICE Document Editor as an example and how to use it.

How to show ruler in Word document?

By default, the ruler is added to the editor window. But if this is not the case, here is how to add a ruler in Word documents:

  • Open your document in ONLYOFFICE Document Editor.
  • Navigate to the View tab in the top menu bar.
  • Check the Ruler option to enable the ruler.

How to show and use a ruler in Word document

Once enabled, the ruler will appear along the top and left sides of the document editor.

How to show and use a ruler in Word document

You can also set the most convenient mode of working with the document and customize the following default viewing options:

Always Show Toolbar – when this option is disabled, the top toolbar that contains commands will be hidden while tab names remain visible.

Status Bar – to display the bottom bar, which contains the page number indicator, and word count indicator, as well as displays some notifications (for example, “All changes saved”, “Connection is lost” when there is no connection and the editor is trying to reconnect, etc.). It also allows setting the text language, enabling spell checking, turning on the track changes mode, and adjusting zoom.

Left Panel – to show the left panel where the Search and Replace tool, Comments, Headings panel, and other options are located.

Right Panel – to show the panel with Settings for a particular object, image, table, or diagram on the right.

How to show and use a ruler in Word document

How to use a ruler in Word documents?

The ruler in ONLYOFFICE Document Editor can be utilized for various formatting tasks. Here are common use cases.

Use case 1: Setting margins

Margins are the blank spaces around the edges of a page that help to frame your content and ensure that text does not run off the edges when printed.

You can select one of the available presets: Normal, Normal US, Narrow, Moderate, Wide. You can also use the Custom Margins option to set your own values in the Margins window by entering the required values for the top, bottom, left, and right margins of the page in the input fields.

How to show and use a ruler in Word document

If that’s not enough for you and you want to immediately see how your text will appear on the page, use the ruler.

To set margins using the ruler:

  • Locate the margin markers on the ruler. Gray areas on the rulers indicate page margins.
  • Click and drag the margin markers to adjust the left and right margins. You can do the same with the top and bottom margins using the vertical ruler on the left.

How to show and use a ruler in Word document

Use case 2: Creating indents

Indents are a crucial aspect of document formatting, helping to improve readability and structure. Indentation involves adjusting the space between the text and the page margins, commonly used for paragraphs and lists.

To set indents using the horizontal ruler:

Select the necessary paragraph(s) and drag the indent markers along the ruler.

How to show and use a ruler in Word document

  • The First Line Indent marker (top triangle) is used to set an offset from the left side of the page for the first line of the paragraph.
  • The Hanging Indent marker (bottom triangle) is used to set an offset from the left side of the page for the second line and all the subsequent lines of the paragraph.
  • The Left Indent marker (square beneath the triangles) is used to set an offset for the entire paragraph from the left side of the page.
  • The Right Indent marker is used to set a paragraph offset from the right side of the page.

Use case 3: Creating a hanging indent

A hanging indent is a special style of paragraph indentation when the first line is not indented, while all the subsequent lines of the paragraph are indented from the left margin of the page. Hanging indents are commonly used in a bibliography or references section. They help to quickly view all entries in the reference list, focusing on authors’ names.

On the left side of the horizontal ruler, you can see three markers used to adjust paragraph indents from the left margin of the page.

  • The upper one is the First Line Indent Marker, which allows you to set the offset from the left margin for the first line of the paragraph.
  • The lower triangular marker is the Hanging Indent Marker we must use to make a hanging indentation.
  • The lower rectangular marker, the Left Indent Marker, is used to move all the markers at once and allows setting the entire paragraph offset from the left margin of the page.

Click the triangular Hanging Indent Marker and drag it to the right until the necessary offset is reached.

Use case 4: Setting tab stops

A tab stop is a term used to describe where the cursor stops after the Tab key is pressed.

To set tab stops, you can use the horizontal ruler.

1. Select the necessary tab stop type by clicking the button in the upper left corner of the working area.

How to show and use a ruler in Word document

The following three tab types are available:

Left Tab Stop lines up the text to the left side at the tab stop position; the text moves to the right from the tab stop while you type.

Center Tab Stop centers the text at the tab stop position.

Right Tab Stop lines up the text to the right side at the tab stop position; the text moves to the left from the tab stop while you type.

2. Click on the bottom edge of the ruler where you want to place the tab stop. Drag it along the ruler to change its position. To remove the added tab, stop dragging it out of the ruler.

How to show and use a ruler in Word document

Use case 5: Adjusting table cell width

You can also adjust the cell width using the ruler.

To make one cell in a column wider or narrower than the column’s total width, select the desired cell and hover the mouse cursor over its right border until it becomes a bidirectional arrow, then drag the border. To change the width of all cells in a column, use the markers on the horizontal ruler to change the width of the column.

How to show and use a ruler in Word document

Try working with documents using the ruler and explore other functionality of the ONLYOFFICE Document Editor:

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Conclusion

Using the ruler in a Word document or any document editor like ONLYOFFICE is crucial for precise formatting and alignment. Following the steps mentioned above, you can easily show and use the ruler to set margins, create indents, and add tab stops. These skills will enhance the readability and professional appearance of your documents.