Changing Ruler Units from Inches to Centimeters in PowerPoint 2010

By default, the rulers in PowerPoint display measurement in inches. The same is true of the other Microsoft Office applications. If you prefer to view and work with metric units, this setting can be changed from within Microsoft Word and Excel (via Options > Advanced > Display) but not from within PowerPoint.

If you want to use a metric ruler in PowerPoint, you must go into your Windows settings and make the change there. To do this in Windows 7, follow the directions below:

  1. In the bottom left corner of your screen, click the Start Orb. The Start menu appears.
  2. To continue, on the right side of the Start menu, click on Control Panel.
  3. Verify that the Control Panel view (top right corner) is set to Category.
  4. To access the language settings, click on Clock, Language, and Region.
  5. In the Region and Language section, click on Change the date, time, or number format. A Region and Language dialog box appears.
  6. At the bottom of the dialog box, click on the Additional settings button. The Customize Format dialog box opens:
  7. Click on the drop-down arrow at the end of the Measurement system field.
  8. Click on Metric.
  9. To apply the new setting, at the bottom of the Customize Format dialog box, click on the Apply button and then click on the OK button.
  10. Close all open windows.

Now when you turn on the ruler in PowerPoint, the units will be displayed as centimeters instead of inches. (This will also change the way the ruler displays in Word and Excel, but it does not affect the ruler in WordPad.)

PowerPoint ruler with centimeters displayed



  1. Pete Benson

    It is ridiculous that you answer the question only for users of Windows 7 and not for the several other versions of the MS OS commonly in use.

  2. Don

    I never would have found this on my own. Thanks for the instructions. Worked like a charm for me.

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