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How to read centimetres on a tape measure

Most people in the U.S. feel comfortable measuring in inches and feet with a tape measure. Instead of using the U.S. units of measurement, metric units can enable you to measure with a standardised system used throughout the world. Acclimate yourself to metric measuring tools and read centimetres on a tape measure. With a little practice, you may find metric measuring to be simpler than imperial measuring.

Stretch out the metric tape measure and notice the markings on it. You will see centimetres labelled with large numbers. Between each centimetre, you will see lines indicating millimetres. Because there are 10 millimetres in each centimetre, the tape measure will have nine smaller lines between each larger centimetre line, indicating the millimetres.

Place the tape measure along an object to practice measuring. For example, if you wish to measure the width of a book, place the end of the tape measure at the left edge of the book and stretch it across to the right edge of the book.

Note the measurement on the tape measure. Using the same example, if the width of the book measures 16 centimetres and 6 millimetres, the edge of the book will come to just slightly more than the halfway point between 16 and 17 centimetres on the tape measure. Count the millimetres and you will arrive at 6 millimetres.

State the measurement in centimetres and millimetres by using decimals. Using the same example, state that the book measures 16.6 centimetres (16 centimetres, 6 millimetres).

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
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About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.