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Tools 011


Using Rulers

Use these frameworks as rulers to measure non-data-driven information – qualitative assessments. The rulers are unique and easy to use. They can also be animated easily to provide a more vivid message.

There are three versions of rules within this series:

  1. Version 1 contains one through five 2-segment bars with 4 "inches" of measurements
  2. Version 2 contains one through five 2-segment bars with 5 "inches" of measurements
  3. Version 3 contains two sets of one through five 2-segment bars, each with 3 "inches" of measurements. This version can measure two different criteria or positives and negatives.

Just delete any "inches" if you need. If you need more than 5 inches, copy and paste as many inches as you need onto the ruler.

The rulers can be also used as sets on a page or added to a dashboard – the dials and gauges used with these rulers can be quite appealing. Look at the versions carefully so you download the ruler that best suits your purpose.

Once you have identified the best-suited ruler, download it to a specific location on your computer so you'll be able to find it (the desktop is always a good choice).

Customizing Rulers

Adjust size

If you want to change the size/shape of the rulers, be sure to group it and resize the entire group. Once resized, ungroup to proceed with other customizations.

If you want to size the bars in the ruler, simply size it using the handles shown below.

The white double-headed arrow is the tool in PowerPoint that appears if you put your cursor over an active bar segment. then just slide to left or right as indicated by the red arrows. Size both of the stacked bar segments individually unless you want them to keep the same ratio (then you would group the two bar segments and size them together as one field).

We've included text in the PowerPoint downloads. If the text skews, select all (Ctrl-a) and apply the correct font size and, while everything is still selected after changing the font size, remove any bullets that may be applied from the default settings in your company's template. In pre-PowerPoint 2007 versions, go to Format, Bullets and Numbering, and select none. If you are using PowerPoint 2007, just click on the bullet icon on the Home ribbon and they will disappear. There will probably still be an indent formatted in these fields, but you can ignore that unless the text you add to the field wraps. This is a big commercial for setting your text hierarchy up correctly in your slide master. The top level should always be left-aligned text with no bullets.

Alternatively, if you'd rather not reformat the skewed text, delete it and place your own text fields where you want them. We added the text because in some cases we used center labels and wanted you to have the fields there if you needed them. Center headings are not the norm.

PowerPoint 2007

Be careful about adding too much design embellishment to things that are conveying measurements. Measurements must be clear and easily readable, so decide against using any design effect that makes the ruler less readable or too busy and visually confusing.

Color variations

Select color from your document's color palette or a complimentary color so that the rulers will reflect the color scheme of the rest of your document. Select "No line" if you want to eliminate the outline of the object, or change the line point size if you want thinner or heaver lines.

3D variations

3D doesn't work terribly well with this tool; but if you believe that 3D would add the continuity you need, be sure to use a very short depth (3 points or thereabout). Be aware that applying a 3D effect will change the color of your object(s).


Be very conservative with your shadows as well. Use a very tight shadow colored very lightly. You don't want design enhancements (shadow effects) to interfere with reading the measurements clearly. If you do use a shadow, you may need to reorder the bar segments so that they appear correctly on the page, depending on which way your shadow falls.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients, patterns, and pictures can be added as fills from the "Fill Effects" menu.


Animations should be selected that will enhance the meaning of the message, not merely to add interest to the slide. Getting the bar segments to grow or shrink is a matter of adding wipes from either the left or the right. If you are using both bar segments, an idea for animation might be to leave the first one unanimated and animate the second. Download the animation example for an idea of you you might approach animating your rulers.

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