How to Convert Decimal to Ruler Measurement

By Bryan Clark

Many precise measurements are given in decimal form. Although decimal form is very precise, it can be difficult to translate the form to a real-life application. Fortunately, it is possible to convert decimals to fractional ruler measurements with a little bit of math. It is important to realize that the conversions will not be completely accurate. They will be rounded to the nearest 1/32 of an inch, or whichever increment is chosen.

Take the decimal and subtract the whole number from it. The whole number will be the number of full inches. For example, 3.456 inches minus 3 inches is .456 inches

Take the remaining portion of the decimal and multiply it by the fraction increment desired. For example, if your ruler measures to the nearest 1/32nd of an inch, multiply the decimal portion by 32. In this example, .456 times 32 equals 14.592.

Round the value from step 2 to the nearest whole number. For this example, 14.592 rounds up to 15. This value is the numerator of the fractional inch over 32.

Add the whole number from step 1 to the fraction in step 3. For example, 3 plus 15/32 equals 3 and 15/32 inches.

About the Author

Bryan Clark has been a freelance writer since 2002. His work has appeared in "The New York Times," "USA Today" and the U.K.'s biggest paper—"The Guardian," amongst other, smaller publications.