How to Properly Read a Measuring Tape How to Properly Read a Measuring Tape

What You'll Need
Measuring tape

While a tape measure is often the most simple and handy way to make measurements around the house, it does present some logistical challenges compared to its firmer cousin, the ruler. Measuring tape is pretty straightfoward, but there's no shame in getting a tad disoriented. The following is a quick overview on how to properly read a measuring tape in daily use.

Step 1 - Understand the Markings on the Tape

If your tape is marked with the English or Standard system, it will be broken into inches. Inches are in turn broken into fourths, eighths, and sixteenths. Each decreasing fraction is marked with a shorter line than the previous one, making the distinctions easy to read even if you are not looking at the tape head-on.

Step 2 - Position the Tape

Hold the tape dispenser in a comfortable position relative to your body and extend the tape across the surface you are measuring.

Step 3 - Read the Markers on the Tape

Start with the closest number visible. Then determine on which side of the "half" mark between numbers your measure sits. Count down or up to the nearest fraction.

Make sure to hold the tape steady to get a proper reading!

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