Aside from the obvious measurement use for these rulers, concepts can be conveyed with them as well. Think about the "you must be this tall to get on this ride" use and tweak it to apply to businesses: you must have achieved this level of efficiency, for example. There are many, many applications for this type of a concept; and animation makes them come alive. View the animated flash and download the animated example to see a possible use and scheme.
The rulers are both inches and centimeters. There are developed in different sizes in both vertical and horizontal orientations. There's also a version that plots percentages, which is what was used in the series example.
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 ruler(s), group and scale by holding the shift key down as you resize to the desired size.
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.
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 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. The animation used in the downloadable animated example is easy to do. It is a set of vertical motion paths that are adjusted by hand to begin/end at points on the ruler. There are not mathematical equations to worry about. Open the animation scheme on the downloadable animation scheme so see how each motion path activates.