How to Read a Ruler

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How to Read a Ruler


The ruler is used for various measuring and drawing techniques. You can perform the perfect straight line, build an entertainment center or know that the newly purchased couch will fit in its intended area. There are basics as well as more advanced things you need to know.

The Basics

  1. Learn the markings on the rule as well as in your blueprints:
    • The apostrophe is measured in feet.
    • The quote symbol is inches
    • Some plans read in feet as well as inches, others read inches only.
  2. Metric rulers are shown in centimeters and millimeters only.
  3. English rulers are presented in inches and deal mainly with fractions.

Learning Metric Rulers

  1. Measuring with a Metric ruler is simple.
  2. Finding the length of a remote:
    • You begin at either side of the remote.
    • Start at the 0 marking on the ruler.
    • Directly at the end of the ruler, mark the spot with your finger or tape.
    • If the remote is 9 centimeters(cm) and 3 millimeters(mm) long, you would write down 9.3 cm or 93 mm.
    • You never use centimeters and millimeters in the same measurement.
  3. The small lines are the millimeters and the larger ones are the centimeters.
  4. 10 millimeters are present in one centimeter:
    • If you are measuring something and the end is between 2 and 3 cm, then count the smaller lines to receive the exact count.

Learning English or Standard Rulers

  1. Measuring with a standard rule is much more difficult.
  2. The ruler is separated by inches as well as fractions of the inches.
  3. There are three lines of different sizes on the ruler.
    • The largest is inches.
    • The middle size line is 1/4th of an inch.
    • The smallest are 1/8th of an inch.
  4. When you measure, make a note of the exact spot.
  5. If the end of the object is in between the inches, you must count the lines.
  6. Most standard rulers stop at 1/8th; however some go all the way to 1/16th.
  7. If you are using a standard 1/8th ruler and the measurement stops in between, you will need to count upward.
  8. Each fraction measurements start again about the inches:
    • If you have 3 inches and 5 small marks, that would be 3 5/8th inches.
    • 4 inches and 7 small marks would be 4 7/8th inches.
  9. Measuring the same remote as before:
    • You begin at either side of the remote.
    • Start from the beginning of the ruler, before the 1 inch mark.
    • At the end of the remote, mark the spot carefully.
    • If the remote is 6 inches(in.) long and 2/8th, this would read 6 2/8th in.

Tips and Suggestions

  1. Standard rulers are different. However, the concept is the same. 1/16th can be counted in the same method as 1/8th or 1/4th.
  2. Always convert the measurements to one style. IE. 3 cm 2mm is 3.2 cm or 32 mm.
  3. When measuring any object, mark each side carefully to receive an accurate reading.

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