Microsoft Word/ruler behavior question


Word Image.jpg
Word Image.jpg  

I'm using Word 2016 and Windows 7.

I've tried to solve my problem on my own without success, so it's time to ask an expert.

The attached image shows a line of x's to illustrate what happens at the end of a line.  The ruler appears to be set at 8Ē, at the same location as the Right Indent indicator.  Yet, while typing, Word automatically starts a new line at 6.5Ē.  If I select all the text (or leave the cursor at the end of the document, as shown) and then drag the Right Indent indicator, or the Ruler, to the left, the line of xís starts getting shortened almost immediately.

I have some older Word documents that donít display this behavior, but new documents created since a few months ago all have the problem Iím trying to understand and correct.  (I must have botched up the ďNormalĒ template.)  The older documents would begin a new line at the 8Ē mark, which is what I would expect by looking at the ruler.

Iíve searched through the Word Layout and View settings, but I canít find a way to fix this.  Your help would be very much appreciated!

Thanks for your time,

It would help in troubleshooting the issue if, in your screen shot, you had nonprinting characters displayed. My first thought was that there might be a space between the last x on the first line and the x on the second line, but that doesn't make sense because there is plenty of room for another x on the first line. So I'm wondering if there might be a paragraph or line break at the end of the first line.

In any case, I don't think I can diagnose this without seeing a sample document. Send it to
About Microsoft Word
This topic answers questions related to Microsoft Word stand-alone or Microsoft Office Word including Word 2003, Word 2007, Office 2000, and Office XP. You can get Word help on formatting text, tables, tabs, fonts, styles, general Word layouts, bullets, headings, and outlines, using templates, toolbar modifications, and using Track Changes. You may also find tips on linking Word and Excel embedded objects including charts. This site does not provide a general Word tutorial nor the basics of using a word processor. It provides specific answers to using Microsoft Word only. If you do not see your Word question answered in this area then please ask a Word question here

Microsoft Word

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Suzanne S. Barnhill


I've been using Word for Windows since version 2.0 (1992), and the more I learn about it, the more I realize how little I know. But I may know a few things that you don't, and I'll help if I can. I answer many questions every day in Microsoft's peer support forums and as a result have been awarded the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) designation by Microsoft Corporation. You may be able to find the answer to your question at the Word MVPs' FAQ site or at my own Word FAQ site, so please check those first! Please, no questions about VBA (macros), Registry editing, networks, or complex merges, as I have no experience with these aspects of Word, nor do I have any experience with Word for Mac. Please indicate which version of Word you are using; if you are not sure, see "What version of Word do I have?".


I have a master's degree in classics (Latin), which is surprisingly helpful, though I no longer teach. The things I am proudest of: Having raised two children to maturity, both Merit Scholars, both college graduates (one a philosophy major!), one Phi Beta Kappa (from Harvard!); having been made a Paul Harris Fellow by my Rotary club; having been designated a Microsoft MVP.

Rotary Club of Fairhope, Friends of the Fairhope Public Library

B.A. (Latin), Agnes Scott College, 1966; M.A. (Classics), Emory University, 1972.

Awards and Honors
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award every year since 1999; many Rotary honors

©2016 All rights reserved.