Length units in PowerPoint

Posted on 2011-10-26
Last Modified: 2012-05-12

Is it possible to change the scale conventions for inserted lines in PowerPoint (2010)?

I have used PowerPoint for quite some time but not until doing some scale diagrams today did I realize that the scale for lines and arrows, etc., is different than that used for the remainder of objects from the Insert > Shapes menu.

For example, the three objects shown in the following three screenshots each measure 1 inch in width according to the Format Shape > Size box.  However, if the scale used to define the square is used to measure the line segments, they would each have a length equal to the square root of 2.
 1 2 3Questions:

1)  What is the rationale for using different units of length for these objects?

2)  Why is the difference in scale not reflected in the Format box?

3)  Is there any way to eliminate the difference so that line segments and arrows, etc. are on the same scale as other objects?

4)  Is there a way to change the format box so that it displays metric units rather than inches?  (That one is a bit off-topic but something I have wondered about so I decided to throw it in.)   :)


Question by:Steve_Brady
    LVL 24

    Accepted Solution

    I'm guessing you copied the first line and then rotated it. That's why the 2nd line says it's rotated 45 degrees -- it's actually based on the position/rotation of the original line.

    It's definitely odd that it measures both a width and a height rather than just the length of the line, though, when you draw a line at a 45-degree angle. I've never noticed that before. It looks like something that's by design, because it's obviously measuring the space it takes up width-wise and height-wise. Very strange.

    As for changing the measurement unit, PPT picks up your Windows settings from Control Panel | Regional Settings. Change to metric there if you want to see metric in PPT.
    LVL 31

    Assisted Solution

    by:Rob Henson
    I have just replicated the three shapes you have, drawn separately.

    By doing them separately, the size relationship is correct; the horizontal line is same size as the width of the square, the diagonal line fits across the corners of the square.

    The height of the horizontal line is shown as 0.

    Rob H

    Author Closing Comment


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