How to Measure Length & Width

Measure length and width to determine the size of a space.
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In calculating the distance around a rectangular space, or the area the space takes up, you'll first need to measure the length and the width of the space. The length is traditionally the longer of the two sides, and the width is the shorter -- except for squares, where length and width are the same. The unit of measurement you use depends upon the size of the space. You might use inches to measure a small space and feet or yards to measure a larger space. After you measure the length and width of a space, you can easily determine the distance around it or the area inside it.

    Arrange your object so that the longer dimension is horizontal and the shorter dimension is vertical.

    Place the end of your measuring tool at the left edge of the object.

    Extend the measuring tool along the entire horizontal edge of the space until you reach the right edge.

    Note the number on the measuring tool where the right length edge ends and write this number down on your paper. This is the length measurement.

    Place the end of the measuring tool at the top of the object.

    Extend the measuring tool along the entire vertical edge of the space until you reach the bottom of the object.

    Note the number on the measuring tool where the width edge ends and write this number down on your paper. This is the width measurement.

    Things You'll Need

    • Ruler, yardstick or tape measure
    • Paper
    • Pencil

    Tips

    • If you're not certain your object is a rectangle or a square, you can measure all four sides.

      Determine the perimeter of your object by adding the top and bottom length with the left and right widths. Determine area of a space by multiplying the length by the width.

    Warnings

    • Some measuring tools don't have their zero point right at the beginning. Make sure you line up the initial measurement with the zero on your measuring too.

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