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Rulers in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Learn about viewing and using rulers in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows.

Rulers in PowerPoint are typically located on the top and left parts of the active slide, and by default they might not be visible at all. However, it is a great idea to make them visible because not only do they provide you with a visual cue about where you are placing slide objects, they also let you use other PowerPoint features like the grid and guides more useable. In this tutorial, you will learn how to show/hide these rulers in PowerPoint 2010. You will also explore some of the settings that influence the measurement units in the rulers.

To learn how to show/hide rulers in PowerPoint 2010, follow these steps:

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2010. Typically, the program opens with a new presentation with a blank slide as shown in Figure 1 below. As you can see, there are no rulers visible by default.

  2. Figure 1: Default PowerPoint interface with no Rulers visible
  3. To make the rulers visible, select the View tab of the Ribbon, locate the Show group and within this group select the Ruler check-box, as shown in Figure 2 (highlighted in red).

  4. Figure 2: Ruler check-box within View tab 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.
  6. This will turn on the visibility of both horizontal and vertical rulers in the slide area, as shown in Figure 3 below. If you want to hide them again, just uncheck the Ruler option shown in Figure 2 above.

  7. Figure 3: Rulers made visible


  8. If you see only the horizontal ruler, and no vertical ruler (see Figure 4 below), you need to make sure that the vertical ruler's visibility has not been turned off.

  9. Figure 4: PowerPoint interface with only horizontal Ruler visible
  10. To check these preferences, select the File tab of the Ribbon, and select Options within the resultant Backstage view as shown in Figure 5.

  11. Figure 5: Options selected within File tab
  12. This opens the PowerPoint Options dialog box that you can see in Figure 6. Make sure that the Advanced tab in this dialog box (refer to Figure 6 again) is selected.

  13. Figure 6: PowerPoint Options Dialog box
  14. Locate the Display group within this tab, and select the Show vertical ruler check box that you can see highlighted in red in Figure 7 below. Conversely, you can also uncheck this option to turn off the vertical ruler.

  15. Figure 7: Show vertical ruler check box selected
  16. Now you will be able to see the vertical ruler, as shown in Figure 3 above.
Tip: Does your ruler show inches or centimeters? The unit of measurement shown cannot be changed within PowerPoint, in fact this setting is influenced by whatever you choose in your Windows Control Panel, here are instructions to access these settings in Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

See Also:

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