Section 10. About the Rulers

10. About the Rulers


1 Set Writer Options

4 Type Text into a Document


11 About Paragraph Breaks and Tabs

13 Apply Paragraph Formatting

14 Set Up Page Formatting

Writer has two rulers: the horizontal ruler and the vertical ruler . Both of these rulers are onscreen guides that display measurement values so you'll know where on the page your text will appear. For example, if your measurements are set to inches (see 1 Set Writer Options ), the 2 on your horizontal ruler means that all text beneath that ruler's 2 is exactly 2 inches from the left margin.


Horizontal ruler A guide you can display across the top of your document that shows the horizontal position of text and graphics on the page.

Vertical ruler A guide you can display down the left side of your document that shows the vertical position of text and graphics on the page.

By default, Writer displays the horizontal and vertical rulers. If you do not see the rulers, choose View, Ruler from the menu bar to display them.

The ruler measurements are relative to the left and right margins. For example, in this figure, the ruler's left edge is the left edge of the page, but the ruler's white area shows where the left and right margins appear.


Right-click either ruler to change the measurement to a different setting, such as from inches to centimeters.

Rulers show the positioning of text and graphics.

In addition to showing margins and the page width, the horizontal ruler also shows this additional information:

  • Tab stop (see 11 About Paragraph Breaks and Tabs )

  • Paragraph indent (see 13 Apply Paragraph Formatting )

  • Border (see 13 Apply Paragraph Formatting )

  • Columns (see 15 Create a Multicolumn Newsletter )


Tab stop Controls the horizontal placement of text on a line.

Indent The space between the left and right page margins and the current paragraph.

If you format different paragraphs in your document differently from one another, the ruler will change to reflect those differences. In other words, if the first paragraph has three tab stops and a first-line indent, when you click anywhere within that paragraph, the ruler changes to show those tab stops and the first-line indent, as shown in the following figure.

If a subsequent paragraph has a different set of indents, tab stops, and margins, the ruler will show those differences if you click within that paragraph, as shown in the next figure.

A ruler showing three tab stops and a first-line indent.

A ruler showing default tab stops and a left-margin indent.

The horizontal ruler is so tied to paragraph formatting that if you double-click the ruler, the Paragraph formatting dialog box appears. 13 Apply Paragraph Formatting explains how to use the Paragraph dialog box.

The Paragraph dialog box appears when you double-click the ruler.

Obviously, it's important that you keep in mind that the current horizontal ruler showing at any one time is only reflecting the current paragraph's tab and margin settings. A ruler can reflect each paragraph differently.


Don't confuse the ruler's half-inch default tab stops with the centered tab stop. Both look the same, but the centered tab stop will be larger, when present, than the default tab stops. See 11 About Paragraph Breaks and Tabs for more information on centered tabs.

The ruler does more than update to reflect the current paragraph's settings. You can use the ruler to change tab, indent, and margin settings without using dialog boxes. Unless pinpoint precision is required, the ruler is actually the best place to make these changes.

For example, click anywhere on the ruler and a tab stop will appear at that location. You can drag that tab stop left or right to adjust its position. You can drag any tab stop left or right, even those you applied using the Paragraph formatting dialog box. To change the type of tab you place, first click the tab character box at the left of the ruler to change the next tab you place on the ruler.

Click the tab character box to change the kind of tab you want to place on the ruler.

If you want to increase a paragraph's left-margin indent , click in that paragraph to display its horizontal ruler. Then, drag the ruler's left-margin indent character to its new location. After you drag the ruler's left-margin indent character, the paragraph's actual left-margin indent changes to reflect the new setting. To change the first-line indent , drag the ruler's first-line indent character to a new location. To change the right-margin indent , drag the ruler's right-margin indent character to a new location.


Left-margin indent An indention of the left edge of all lines in a paragraph, usually more so than in surrounding paragraphs, to set off the paragraph, as might be done for a quotation.

First-line indent A right indent of the first line in a paragraph where subsequent lines in the same paragraph align closer to the left margin.

Right-margin indent An indention of the right edge of all lines in a paragraph, usually more so than in surrounding paragraphs, to bring in the paragraph's right edge, as might be done for a quotation.

Although the horizontal ruler is constantly linked to individual paragraphs, the page's overall left and right margins also appear on the horizontal ruler. The margins are set off of the gray areas on either end of the ruler. You can change the left or right margin by dragging the ruler's edge of either margin (the position between the gray and the white of the ruler's typing area) left or right.


Be careful that you leave enough room for your printer's required margin. For example, many laser printers will not print less than one-half inch to the edge of the paper, no matter how wide you attempt to make your margins.

You won't use the vertical ruler as much as the horizontal ruler, but it can be handy for showing the top and bottom margins on a page as well as the general position on a page where certain elements appear. For example, you can tell from the vertical ruler exactly how many inches down on a page a graphic image will appear when printed.

One of the most common uses of the vertical ruler is to show the top and bottom margin used by the document and drag these margins to a different location.


Select Edit, Undo (or Ctrl+Z ) to undo changes you make to the horizontal or vertical ruler. 2, Firefox, and Thunderbird for Windows All in One
Sams Teach Yourself 2, Firefox and Thunderbird for Windows All in One
ISBN: 0672328089
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 232
Authors: Greg Perry © 2008-2017.
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