Word: Valid measurement units for indentation

October 9, 2012

James asked:

Can you create a paragraph indent in an MS Word style using any unit other than the default measurement (usually inches)?

I want to define an indent in em/en units like you can in HTML. I even have a faint memory of once being able to stipulate picas and points, although that may have been in a different application.

I did some testing in Word 2010, and these units of measure are accepted as valid measurements for indents (use the abbreviations in the parentheses when entering the value and unit of measure — yes, you can type them in over the default):

  • points (pt)
  • inches (in)
  • centimetres (cm)
  • millimetres (mm)
  • pixels (px)
  • picas (pi).

Word does not accept %, em, or en units of measure for indenting.

Note: When you enter a unit of measure that isn’t your default (see below), it will convert to the equivalent value in your default measurement unit after you click OK and reopen the Paragraph dialog box. In other words, 50 pt will convert to 1.76 cm, if centimetres are your default measurement unit.

All the valid units of measure are listed in the Word Options settings, except for pixels. But pixels (enter the measurement unit as px) work in the Paragraph dialog box anyway. You can find these settings here: File > Options > Advanced panel > Display section > Show measurement in units of.

See also:

[Links last checked October 2012; thanks for asking the question, James!]

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