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Five Awesome On-Screen Rulers

They’re not the sexiest programs in the world, but for many designers, on-screen rulers are must-haves. Here are five of the best- including the one I can’t live without. All free.

Free Ruler (Mac)

free-ruler-osx

I’ve installed this little app on almost every Apple machine I’ve owned. First released in 2003, it can be used horizontally or vertically, offers measurement units in pixels, inches, picas or centimeters, and- my favorite of all, and why I rely on it so much- supports keyboard shortcuts for most functions.

On-Screen Ruler (Google Gadget)

onscreenruler-gadget

If you’re a Google Gadget user, this one’s almost a no-brainer. You can set various options here, such as ruler thickness, length, division size, and marking intervals. Double-click on its “handle” and it rotates by 90 degrees clockwise.

A Ruler for Windows (Win)

a-ruler-for-win

This is a nice one, and not just because you can set it to display in woodgrain. It can be flipped horizontally or vertically, is easy to resize, and is also “zoomable”- with 2x, 3x, and 4x magnification modes. Other display options: stainless steel, clear plastic, or yellow construction.

JR Screen Ruler (Win)

jr-ruler

Small and nifty, JR Screen Ruler features adjustable sizing, can be easily moved around your screen, and a whole bevy of right-click options, from flipping between horizontal and vertical to changing measurement units (pixels, inches, picas, centimeters).

ScreenRuler (Ubuntu)

screenruler-ubuntu

Finally, here’s one for Ubuntu. It’s great looking, with customizable colors and fonts, and support for keyboard control for precise positioning- as anyone who measures knows is very important when placing a ruler.

What’s your favorite On-Screen Ruler?


  1. By Eric posted on October 8, 2009 at 6:25 pm
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    Cool Ruler is better than A ruler, and JR Screen ruler by a million miles. you can run multiple rulers at once and set tick marks for where you measure something.

  2. By klevo posted on October 8, 2009 at 9:07 pm
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    This is so cool. Somehow I never thought there could be an app for this. Much better then screenshoting and measuring in Photoshop.

  3. By David S posted on October 8, 2009 at 10:13 pm
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    The best I’ve found (by far) are the Screen Calipers by Iconico (www.iconico.com), available for Windows and Apple Mac.

    They rotate 360 degrees, can be made transparent to your taste, have an amazing range of skins available, and there is a free program called the Screen Measurement Logger (www.iconico.com/caliper/logger.aspx) that works in conjunction with the Screen Calipers that boosts its value even more.

    The program costs $29.50, but it is one of the most useful pieces of software I have ever used. I use it almost daily in conjunction with Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, PageMaker, etc. … and even with music publishing software like Finale and Sibelius.

    Definitely worth a look.

  4. By Adrian posted on October 9, 2009 at 6:10 am
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    On OSX dragging the beRuler dashboard widget on an off dashboard is unbeatable for simple measuring..

  5. By David S posted on October 9, 2009 at 10:56 am
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    Hi,

    My comment of yesterday has disappeared…as it’s the first time I’ve ever commented here, I wondered: did I do something wrong for it to be removed? I just am very enthusiastic about Iconico’s Screen Calipers…they’re my favorite onscreen ruler, so I had wanted to share about that. I had included URLs and prices to try to be helpful for anyone wishing to try the software out.

    I have no relation to Iconico…just a happy customer. My apologies, if I did something wrong.

    David

  6. By Lorraine Nepomuceno posted on October 9, 2009 at 4:12 pm
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    Hi David,

    Your first comment didn’t disappear, nor was it removed- it hasn’t been published until today, when I logged in to approve it. All comments must be approved first before being published.

    Nothing wrong with your comment, by the way- thanks for letting us know about Screen Calipers, it’s the first time I’d heard of it!

  7. By David S posted on October 9, 2009 at 10:31 pm
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    Thanks Lorraine,

    Being new and not knowing how this worked, I was worried I had done something really wrong! :-)

    Anyway, give the Calipers a try…they are excellent!

    (PS–I really like Devlounge)

  8. By Steve Warriner posted on October 10, 2009 at 11:17 am
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    The Measure-it Firefox addon:
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/539
    is incredibly handy for me. It just sits in the in the bottom of my browser, click and go.

  9. By Neil posted on October 10, 2009 at 12:43 pm
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    I use an Adobe AIR app called Pixus (http://code.google.com/p/pixus/). It made my life just that little bit easier.

  10. By Lorraine Nepomuceno posted on October 10, 2009 at 2:41 pm
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    David: no worries. And thanks- so glad you like Devlounge!

    Eric, Adrian, Steve and Neil: Thanks for the recommendations! Those are definitely worth checking out.

  11. By Minneapolis Design Guy posted on October 12, 2009 at 1:01 am
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    Had the mac ruler and totally forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder and the list of other rulers.

  12. By Harry Harrison posted on November 3, 2009 at 7:37 pm
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    You should check out xScope too. It’s fantastic, especially for designers. > http://iconfactory.com/software/xscope

    It’s not cheap, but it’s worth every penny!

  13. By Bill Biwer posted on November 3, 2009 at 7:47 pm
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    I use xScope by IconFactory, it has a ton of other useful features as well as a very customizable ruler.

  14. By Design Informer posted on November 3, 2009 at 7:55 pm
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    Cool! I have to give these a try, as I have never tried on-screen rulers before, besides the Photoshop and Illustrator rulers.

  15. By jared posted on November 3, 2009 at 9:18 pm
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    measure-it for firefox. why is this italicized?

  16. By Meixger posted on November 3, 2009 at 9:28 pm
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    http://blois.us/Rooler/

    Check out Rooler’s “Snap to Bounds” feature !

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