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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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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

4 Answers 4

up vote 42 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
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Excellent! This is exactly what I need! And it even has transparency, too. :) Thanks! –  Sasha Chedygov Aug 6 '09 at 20:27
Ah yeah, I forgot to mention transparency :) np. –  Andrija Cacanovic Aug 6 '09 at 20:29
I didn't even know these things existed, that's awesome. +1 –  Jeremy Reagan Aug 6 '09 at 20:33
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 github.com/andrijac/ruler –  Andrija Cacanovic Apr 23 '14 at 10:44

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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Machiavellian!! –  Peter Turner Aug 6 '09 at 21:52
This unfortunately appears not to work with Windows 7. –  user1167442 Jul 2 '14 at 1:33

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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Very cool! I've already accepted an answer, but I'll be sure to check that out! :) –  Sasha Chedygov Jun 14 '10 at 19:29
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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