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Does anyone use the rulers provided by the applications like Word?  How would you design the ruler to make it better?  I personally don't use them because I think they are useless, maybe it's because I don't understand (how to use) them though.

Monday, December 8, 2003

I think those rulers are a poor UI concept in applications such as word processing.  They attempt to emulate the typewriter.  Unfortunately a word processor is not a typewriter.  IMO a rulers usefulness comes from it's ability to place things precisely and also measure the same object.

Monday, December 8, 2003

On the other hand, the ability to use drag-and-drop to set the various indents, tab stops, and column-widths is a nice feature. Even if you're a style junkie, having the visual/interactive tools can save a lot of time in the early stages of defining styles.

Ron Porter
Monday, December 8, 2003

I use rulers in Word all the time to set the margin and tabs.  It's very effective.

The best feature is the ruler in powerpoint, where you can set a baseline by which everything else lines up.

Ged Byrne
Monday, December 8, 2003

If you've ever actually used a typewriter, you might find the ruler intuitive.

Monday, December 8, 2003

I really like the rulers in MS Word. As others have stated, setting tabs as well as being able to manage left, right and hanging indents very effectively. It's an example of a real world metaphor that does work (these are, admittedly, few and far between. :-) )

Tim Sullivan
Monday, December 8, 2003

I used to use the Rulers, but now that I've become used to using Styles I'm finding that when I go back to older documents and start to make changes I'm frustrated by them.

Who's this idiot who used the indent in 80 places instead of a style... oh, that's me.

Monday, December 8, 2003

I've written rulers for a report editor app, and I did NOT make fields drag with the ruler.  It used to annoy me that rulers crystal reports were very hit and miss as to what objects were attached to what ruler (or I ended moving more than I meant to).

Having said that the other thing I did add was the ability to set multiple horizontal rulers at a sensible line spacing (eg 12pt) to allow folks to line things up. Since I also forced a 15 twip[1] grid for movement it worked fairly well.

Add some alignment buttons ala the dialog editor in VS6 and the jobs done.

[1] It's 15 twips 'cos normal windows video drivers set the screen res to 96dpi so 15 twips is 2 pixels at 100% zoom. (72*20/96)

Peter Ibbotson
Tuesday, December 9, 2003

>> "[1] It's 15 twips 'cos normal windows video drivers set the screen res to 96dpi so 15 twips is 2 pixels at 100% zoom. (72*20/96)"


96 dots per inch / 1440 twips per inch = 0.066666667 dots per twip

2 dots / 0.066666667 dots per twip = 29.99999985 twips

So about 30 twips for 2 dots.

I'm not sure what your calculation is:

72 points per inch * 20 ? / 96 dots per inch

72 points per inch is not the same as 96 dots or pixels per inch.  Points is a separate unit of measure.  20 * 72 does equal 1440 but the result of that calculation would mean 20 inches = 1440 points.  Again not the same as dots per inch. 

A point is .013837 of an inch.  Thus 1 / 0.013837 = 72.27000072 points per inch.

Key things to remember is that a "point" is a unit of measure separate from a "dot" or a "pixel".  Dots normally refers to a printer and pixels to a screen device but can and are used interchangeably.

Dave B.
Tuesday, December 9, 2003

I should say about 30 twips for 2 dots on that particular device. A printer normally has much higher resolution thus more dots per inch than a display device.

Dave B.
Tuesday, December 9, 2003

I think they'd be better if you could customize what values they snap to when you're dragging.  Then dragging could be easier because you'd have a potentially bigger target.

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

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