How to change the ruler marks in illustrator

Written by elizabeth mott
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Email

Adobe Illustrator CS5 offers the ability to display and customise document rulers so you can evaluate the size of objects and place them at precise locations in your documents. You can make overall or document-specific decisions about the measurement system your rulers display and change these preferences at any time for the application itself or an individual document. You also can relocate and reset the zero point of your rulers, which is the point at which both your vertical and your horizontal rulers measure zero.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Other People Are Reading


    How to Change the Measurement System Your Document Rulers Display

  1. 1

    Choose "Show Rulers" from the "Rulers" flyout of the "View" menu or press "Control" and "R" (Windows) or "Command" and "R" (Mac) to display the rulers in your Adobe Illustrator CS5 document. By default, Illustrator hides the rulers unless you make them visible.

  2. 2

    Set the measurement system for your current document by choosing "Document Setup" from the "File" menu. From the "Units" pop-up menu, choose points -- the default -- or select picas, inches, millimetres, centimetres, pixels or Qs. One Q equals 0.25 millimetre.

  3. 3

    Change Illustrator's "General" measurement defaults from the Adobe Illustrator CS5 "Preferences" dialogue box. Open this dialogue box by choosing "Units" from the "Preferences" flyout, which appears in the "Edit" (Windows) or "Illustrator" (Mac) menu. The "General" measurement preference controls ruler units. This preference affects all documents.

  4. 4

    Click on the "OK" button to confirm your choice of application-wide or document-specific measurements. Your ruler markings and tick marks change to reflect the units you've chosen, as do all measurements displayed in Illustrator's panels. You always can change your document's measurements without affecting your application-wide measurements.

    How to Move and Reset the Zero Point of Your Rulers

  1. 1

    Choose "Show Rulers" from the "Rulers" flyout of the "View" menu or press "Control" and "R" (Windows) or "Command" and "R" (Mac) to display the rulers in your Adobe Illustrator CS5 document. By default, Illustrator hides the rulers unless you make them visible.

  2. 2

    Place your pointing-device cursor on the intersection of your document rulers at the top-left corner of the file window and drag downward, to the right or both directions at once. This movement displays a cross hair that shows your cursor location on both horizontal and vertical rulers. Illustrator establishes a new zero point at the spot to which you drag the cross hair.

  3. 3

    Double-click on the ruler intersection point at the upper-left corner of the file window to reset the zero point to the default point of origin. You also can right-click on the ruler intersection or anywhere on the rulers themselves to change to another measurement system.

Tips and warnings

  • You always can enter dimensions in a measurement system other than the one your rulers use. To override your ruler units for an individual measurement, simply enter the numeric value in the dialogue box or measurement field, followed by the name of or abbreviation for your desired unit. Thus, in a document whose rulers are set to points, you can enter "12in" for 12 inches.
  • Unlike prior versions of the software, Adobe Illustrator CS5 uses the fourth-quadrant rather than the first-quadrant coordinate system. This means that Illustrator places the zero point of the width and height of your document at the top-left corner, not the bottom right. Thus, if you move an object down from the top of your document, its y value -- the ruler value for its vertical position -- increases instead of decreasing. If you're accustomed to earlier versions of Illustrator, you may need some time to acclimate yourself to the new coordinate system. If you prefer the old system, double-click on your rulers and set them to "Global" rather than the new default of "Artboard."

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.