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What's a good (preferably free) on-screen ruler for Windows? I just need to measure a few things in pixels on the screen. I need it to be flexible (easily resizable and able to measure both vertically and horizontally), and hopefully not look like crap. A quick Google search revealed a ton of different applications, and I don't want to try every single one.

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closed as not constructive by random Apr 4 '13 at 0:51

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I used JR Screen ruler for ages, and just realised there are better alternatives. Thanks for the question. – wonea Jul 3 '12 at 10:16
You could also try – giorgio79 Dec 29 '15 at 7:00
up vote 65 down vote accepted

I use Ruler for ages now. Very easy to use, simple program with simple options:

  • Always on top
  • Vertical and horizontal measurement
  • Option to show ToolTip for smaller dimensions.
  • Resizable by dragging
  • Can open multiple instances
  • No installation required


Forked on GitHub and enhanced

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Ah yeah, I forgot to mention transparency :) np. – Andrija Cacanovic Aug 6 '09 at 20:29
hmm.. only pixels, can't change units of measurement. No free rotate. Looks great, but I can't use it. – Robert Mark Bram Feb 12 '13 at 0:35
I have forked the code from codeplex to github – Andrija Cacanovic Apr 23 '14 at 10:44
This app is buggy because if you move it around quickly it handles the mouse events erroneously and either "lets go" or starts resizing itself. Aggravating! Otherwise very neat. Due to this, JR ruler is more functional – Steven Lu Oct 10 '14 at 2:54
@StevenLu Resize-while-moving-the-ruler is exactly one of the reasons I have forked the project on github and added Lock feature :) HTH – Andrija Cacanovic Oct 12 '14 at 6:45

I recommend using PicPick.

It has a ruler (horizontal or vertical) with custom units, but also others very usefull tools like screencapture, colorpicker, magnifier, angular ruler and other tools.

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I don't see how you can change units on the ruler.. – Robert Mark Bram May 16 '14 at 2:48
Got it: (long) right click on the ruler - then when you release the mouse button you see the context menu with units on it. – Robert Mark Bram May 16 '14 at 3:06

I really like A Ruler for Windows (freeware) - why, well I wrote it! ;-)

Seriously, it: measures pixels, horizontal / vertical, maginifies your primary screen under the ruler up to 4x, has an automatic center line (which you can toggle on and off), allows you to put ticks on either long edge, you can resize by it dragging an end, comes with four skins (woodgrain, stainless steel, clear plastic see thru, yellow construction) and you can add your own skins, works across multiple screens.


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Yeah, but is the source code available? – bambams Nov 2 '15 at 16:39
I like your ruler, but really would like to have access to the source code... why don't you open-source it? – Roberto Jun 17 at 14:35
Actually needed one and saw this. Wanted to try it out, but I was a little uncomfortable that it didn't have source code available. Good work though! – Tyress Jun 21 at 0:34

I just use Paint.

When you move the mouse around, it displays the pixes of wherever the mouse is on the status bar, even if it's not in the foreground. With a 2000x2000 image you can resize the window to any shape.

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This unfortunately appears not to work with Windows 7. – user1167442 Jul 2 '14 at 1:33

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