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Rulers in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn about viewing and using rulers in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

OS: Windows 7 and higher






When working with multiple slide objects, you should have a visual cue about where you are placing them. You can get exact coordinates of your slide objects using the positioning options in PowerPoint, but most of the time, you just need an approximate idea of where your objects are placed, and this can be easily obtained by using the Rulers option available in PowerPoint. By default, the Rulers may not be visible, but when made visible, they are located on the top and left parts of the active slide, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1.

Rulers in PowerPoint 2016
Figure 1: Rulers in PowerPoint 2016

Rulers are not only useful for placing slide objects, but they make other PowerPoint features like the grid and guides more useable. In this tutorial, you will learn how to show and hide Rulers in PowerPoint 2016. You will also explore some of the settings that influence the measurement units in the rulers, as explained in the following steps:

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2016, and open a Blank Presentation as shown in Figure 2. Note that there are no Rulers visible by default.
  2. Default PowerPoint interface with no Gridlines visible
    Figure 2: Default PowerPoint interface with no Rulers visible
  3. To make the Rulers visible, select the View tab of the Ribbon, and make sure you select the Ruler check-box, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3.
  4. Ruler check-box selected
    Figure 3: Ruler check-box selected
  5. Tip: To turn on the visibility of the rulers, you can use the keyboard shortcut Alt + Shift + F9. Use the same shortcut key to toggle it away. Want more keyboard shortcuts? Get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts Ebook.
  6. This will bring up the rulers placed horizontally and vertically within the Slide Area, as shown in Figure 4. If you want to hide them again, just deselect the Ruler check-box (refer to Figure 3).
  7. Rulers made visible
    Figure 4: Rulers made visible
  8. If you see only the Horizontal Ruler, and no Vertical Ruler, as shown in Figure 5, you need to make sure that the Vertical Ruler's visibility has not been turned off.
  9. PowerPoint interface with only Horizontal Ruler visible
    Figure 5: PowerPoint interface with only Horizontal Ruler visible
  10. To check these preferences, access the File menu and choose Options (highlighted in blue within Figure 6).
  11. Options within File menu
    Figure 6: Options within File menu
  12. This opens the PowerPoint Options dialog box that you can see in Figure 7. Make sure you choose the Advanced option within the sidebar, shown highlighted in red within Figure 7. This shows the relevant options on the right side of the dialog box (see Figure 7 again).
  13. PowerPoint Options Dialog box
    Figure 7: PowerPoint Options Dialog box
  14. Now, scroll down the Display group within the PowerPoint Options dialog box, and select the Show vertical ruler check-box that you can see highlighted in red within Figure 8. Conversely, you can also deselect this check-box to turn off the vertical ruler.
  15. Show vertical ruler check-box selected
    Figure 8: Show vertical ruler check-box selected
  16. Now you will be able to see both the Vertical and Horizontal rulers, as shown in Figure 4, earlier on this page.
Tip: Does your ruler show inches or centimeters or points? If you want to know how to change the measurement unit from one to another in PowerPoint 2016, look at our Change the Unit of Measurement in Windows tutorial.

See Also:

Rulers in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Rulers in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Rulers in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Rulers in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

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