How to read a tape measure

How to read a tape measure

How to read a tape measure. Measurements are crucial in construction and craftsmanship. They can make all the difference between a high-quality product and one that isn’t. A tape measure is a fast and simple way to find the right information about your project if you take the right approach. Anyone who does manual work will find it helpful to know how to read and use a traditional and retractable ribbon measure. So, get started measuring today! This tutorial will show you how to read tape measurements that use the Anglo-Saxon unit measurement system. 

Recents Post

Method1Read the tape

Imperial units

  1. 1For inches, use the large number markings.The 1-inch marks on a tape measure that uses imperial units are the largest. These marks are often marked with thick, thin lines and large numbers.
    • foot mark will usually be found after 12 inches. This mark is often a different color than the others. It is usually red and not black. The numbers that follow each inch mark are repeated from 1 to 11, or you can continue counting. These numbers can vary depending on the tape measure.
    • Not the actual number, but the line that is next to it.
  2. 2For the half-inch, use the larger marks that are between two inches marks.The center of the two 1-inch marks is where a half-inch mark will be. This is almost always the longest mark, the largest being the 1-inch mark. There will be a half inch between each 1-inch mark. However, there are only two inches.
    • Not all lines can be marked using numbers, even if you start with half-inch markings. To guide yourself, use the markings to either side. The half-inch mark that is between inches three and four equals to 3 1/2 inches, even though it isn’t marked.
  3. 3For the quarter inch, use the smallest lines in the area between the half-inch and the quarter-inch.The quarter inches follow the half-inch marks. These marks are often smaller than the half-inch marks and sometimes thinner than the quarter inches. However, they are generally larger than the marks around them. They have an even spacing between each one-inch and one-inch mark. Four quarters of an inch are found in one inch.
    • You will notice that quarter-inch lines can sometimes be the same size as one eighth-inch ones. Remember that a quarter inch is equal to two-eighths. Count to eighth inch after the one-inch mark. This is a quarter-inch. The line at the opposite end of the half-inch marker is the three-quarters-inch mark.
  4. 4For eighths of an in, use the regular small marks __S.51__ These marks are located in the middle of one-inch marks. The quarter-inch marks lie between quarter-inch mark and half-inch marks. Eight-eighths are in an inch.
  5. 5For the sixteenth of an inch, place the small marks together.The sixteenth-inch marks are the shortest lines on most tape measures. These small marks are available in 16 increments, and four for each quarter inch.
    • You should also keep in mind that tape measures can have markings as small as thirty-twelfth inches or sixty-fourth inches. These tiny measurements can be identified by using the same pattern.
  6. 6To determine the length, add the inch segments.To measure a length accurately, you simply need to look at the tape line. Begin by marking the line where the tape measure meets the object. Find the closest inchBeforeThis is the point. Next, find the nearest half inch before this point. Then, find the closest quarter inch. And so on. To get the exact measurement, add the fractional inches and inches. This is much simpler than you might think. See the example below.[3]
    • Let’s suppose we have measured beyond the one inch mark, the one quarter-inch mark and the one eighth-inch marker. We must also add:1 (our inches) + 1/4 (+our quarters of a inch) + 1/8 (+our eighths)
    • Two-eighths an inch is equal to a quarter of an in; we can therefore rewrite it as follows:1 + 2/8 +1/8 = 1 3/8 inches.
    • Add fractions like 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc. It can be difficult.

Units in Metric

  1. 1For centimeters, use the large number of markings.Centimeters are the largest markings on most decimal tape measures. Centimeters are often marked with long lines and a number at the end of each line. Like inches, each centimeter is marked by a line, not the number.[4]
    • A tape measure longer than 100 centimeters (or one meter) will usually be marked with a special marking. This mark is often a different color from the others. The centimeter marks may be reset to zero after each meter or continued counting. This will vary depending on the tape measure.
  2. 2For every half-centimeter, use the smallest marks in the centimeters.Some decimal tape measures, but not all, will have medium-sized marks that are evenly spaced between each centimeter mark. These marks indicate the half centimeters. These brands don’t usually have a number.
    • It is easier to use decimals than imperial measurements because the metric system is based upon 10. It is common to refer to half-centimeter marks using decimal terms. For example, 1 1/2 cm becomes 1.5 cm.
  3. 3For millimeters, use the contiguous small marks.The lines that run between the centimeter marks are millimeters or tenths. A centimeter is ten millimeters long. There are also a thousand meters in a meter.
    • If the tape measure doesn’t have half-centimeter marks on it, the fifth millimeter following each centimeter will mark the half-centimeter.
  4. 4To calculate the length, add the centimeter segments.Measure with a decimal tape. First, find the closest centimeter to the length you are measuring. Then, find the nearest millimeter. To help you, a half-millimeter marker (if your tape has one) can be used. The decimal will give you the measurement in centimeters. The millimeter marks indicate the location of the tenths. Take, for example, the following:
    • Let’s suppose we take a measurement beyond the 13-inch mark and measure towards the sixth-millimeter. This will allow us to find the length in centimeters as follows:33 + 0.6 = 33.6 cm
    • To compensate, however, we’ll need to move the decimal point if the length is in a different unit than centimeters. Let’s take, for example, the above answer that we want to express in meters. This conversion factor can be used because there are 100 cm in a meter.33.6 x 1 Meter / 100 Centimeters =
    • To change from centimeters into meters, move the decimal two spaces left. To move from meters to centimeters move it two spaces right.

Method2Take a measurement

This section will show you how to use two of the most popular types of tape measures. Click here to find out how to read the markings of your tape measure.

How to read a tape measure

Retractable tape

  1. 1Measure the object by placing the hook end on one side.Retractable tape measures (those that come in small metal or plastic boxes that pull the tape back after you’re done with it) will almost always have an attached metal hook at the end. zero mark. This is so that the tape stays in the correct place while you measure.
    • If you need to measure something other than the hook (like the distance between a door frame and the distance from the wall), press the metal hook into the side of the object.
    • The tape measure’s end will move if it is a tape measure. If you’re measuring with tape, the end will move. Pull the tape from one edge and push it against a surface.
  2. 2Place the tape on the object.Once the zero mark is in place, you can pull the box to release more tape. You can hold the tape with your hand, or ask a friend to help you. Pull the tape so that it covers the distance you want to measure.
    • Do not let the tape move. You will get a crooked measurement if it does.
  3. 3You can read directly from the tape.Look at the place where the tape meets the object you’re measuring. The number of units that you are measuring is determined by the closest number to the tape’s end. The marks between these numbers and the one above them correspond to fractions.
    • If you measure the front of your dresser, and the cabinet’s end is just above the 24-inch mark then your dresser will be 24 or 25 inches in width. If you measure beyond 24 inches by 3 1/8 inch marks, your width is 24 3/8 inches.
    • It is also possible to make a kink on the tape and align it with your object. This can be useful when measuring in tight corners.
  4. 4To keep the tape at the same length, use the lock lockRetractable tape measures usually have a button or slide locking that prevents the measure from returning to its box. Some can even be activated automatically.[6]It allows you to quickly compare the measurements of different lengths or objects. Insurance is one example of this.
    • You can quickly determine which object is bigger.
    • Check if the item will fit into a given space.
    • Keep tape handy for quick measurements.
    • Keep a certain distance in your mind so you don’t have to measure again.

Tape manually

How to read a tape measure
  1. 1Place the tape’s end at the beginning of your measurement.Although a manual tape measure looks more like a thin, long ribbon or a ruler made from flexible material, it can still be used with the same technique. Take the end marked “zero” and align it to the beginning of the object or measure the length.
    • Manual tape measures are not as useful as they could be for measuring small differences. This is because you need to hold the zero end steady while you place the other end. Most hand straps can be used to measure the length of a person’s arms. You can use a friend or a weight to hold the zero end steady if you have to measure distances longer than your arms.
  2. 2The ribbon should be stretched all the way. __S.204__ To ensure accurate measurements, make sure the tape is tightened. However, don’t pull the tape. Most modern tape measures are made from semi-flexible plastic.
  3. 3You can read directly from the tape.Similar to how you would use a retractable tape measuring tape, locate the point at which the object’s end or the length you want to measure lines up with your tape measure. This is the length that you measured.
    • Let’s take an example: Take one end of a tape measuring device and hold it with your tips. Then, stretch the other end towards your armpit to measure your arm length. Your arm will be 27.5 inches if the tape measure measures exactly halfway between the 27-inch and 28 inch marks.
  4. 4Measure the circumference of a circular object by marking the tape where it intersects.Retractable tape measures have the disadvantage of being rigid, but slat-type tape measure are flexible and can be used to measure.CircumferenceYou can also use the tape to measure objects. This is done by placing the tape end with the zero mark on the object. Wrap the tape around the object in a straight line and then locate the point at which the tape measure passes the zero mark. zero. This is the measurement of the object’s circumference.
    • If you want to measure the length of your wrists, for example, put the end of the tape measuring tape with the zero mark on your wrist. Wrap the tape around your wrist and under it, aligning it with that end. Place the tape on top. For example, if you’re 6 inches tall at this point, your wrist circumference is approximately 6 inches.


  • Foreman tape measures are used to measure large areas. However, the body of the tape measure or the case can often get in the way. These bodies are marked to a particular width. To find out the width gauge, check the box. Many of them are for a width of 3 inches. Measure the room from one corner of the room to another.
    • Place the tape on the ground and attach the end to a corner.
    • Move the tape along the floor.
    • Push the tape box back into the corner when you reach the other corner. The back of the tape box is flattened for this purpose.
    • To get the complete width, take the tape measurement and multiply it by 3 inches.
      • Measure a space on your wall. The tape should be placed at the beginning point. After that, extend the tape beyond the stopping point. Take a look at the tape to see what the last number before the stopping point is, such as 17. Count four lines after the number 17. Keep in mind that the stopping point is the third-longest line. The total space measured is now 17 and 1/4 inches.

Alice F Artzt

Alice is P.H.D holder in Mathematics and many others relevant courses

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