How to Read a Ruler
What is a Ruler
A ruler is a device for with measurement markings on it and used for measuring. Rulers are used in math, construction, architecture, sewing, landscaping, and more. According to Dictionary.com, a ruler is a strip of wood, metal, or other material having a straight edge and usually marked off in inches or centimeters, used for drawing lines, measuring, etc.
There are several types of rulers including wooden or metal rulers, yardsticks, seamstress tapes, measuring tapes, carpenters rules, and architects scales. Rulers have measurements in imperial and metric, imperial-only, or metric-only. Get more information on rulers, including different types and uses, or download and print one of our free printable rulers.
Using a Ruler – Standard Imperial Measurements
The markings on a standard ruler represent the fractions of an inch. The markings on a ruler from the start to the 1″ mark are: ^{1}⁄_{16}“, ^{1}⁄_{8}“, ^{3}⁄_{16}“, ^{1}⁄_{4}“, ^{5}⁄_{16}“, ^{3}⁄_{8}“, ^{7}⁄_{16}“, ^{1}⁄_{2}“, ^{9}⁄_{16}“, ^{5}⁄_{8}“, ^{11}⁄_{16}“, ^{3}⁄_{4}“, ^{13}⁄_{16}“, ^{7}⁄_{8}“, ^{15}⁄_{16}“, and 1”. If the measurement is over 1″ simply use the number on the ruler and add the fraction, eg. if you’re two ticks past the number 3 tick then the measurement is 3 ^{1}⁄_{8}“.
What Do the Markings on a Ruler Mean
Using a Ruler – Metric Measurements
Watch for More Information on Reading a Ruler
Ruler Measurements: Inch Fractions on a Ruler
These are the measurements and fractions that are on a ruler and the decimal and millimeter metric equivalents. If you need to convert larger inch fractions to decimal or metric use our inch fraction calculator.
Fraction, Decimal, and Millimeter Equivalent Measurements
Fraction | Decimal | Millimeters |
---|---|---|
^{1}⁄_{16}” | 0.0625 | 1.5875 |
^{1}⁄_{8}” | 0.125 | 3.175 |
^{3}⁄_{16}” | 0.1875 | 4.7625 |
^{1}⁄_{4}” | 0.25 | 6.35 |
^{5}⁄_{16}” | 0.3125 | 7.9375 |
^{3}⁄_{8}” | 0.375 | 9.525 |
^{7}⁄_{16}” | 0.4375 | 11.1125 |
^{1}⁄_{2}” | 0.5 | 12.7 |
^{9}⁄_{16}” | 0.5625 | 14.2875 |
^{5}⁄_{8}” | 0.625 | 15.875 |
^{11}⁄_{16}” | 0.6875 | 17.4625 |
^{3}⁄_{4}” | 0.75 | 19.05 |
^{13}⁄_{16}” | 0.8125 | 20.6375 |
^{7}⁄_{8}” | 0.875 | 22.225 |
^{15}⁄_{16}” | 0.9375 | 23.8125 |
1″ | 1 | 25.4 |