How to Read a Measuring Tape in Tenths & Hundreds

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Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape

  • Calculator

  • Pencil

  • Paper

Precise measuring is key to any successful project.

Measuring tapes come in a variety of sizes and applications, such as the retractable measuring tape used by contractors and the cloth tape measures used by seamstresses. The standard tape measure displays inches and fractional inches. The smallest marks on the tape measure indicate up to 1/32 of an inch. Converting the fractional measurements to a decimal measurement up to 1/100 of an inch requires a quick use of a calculator.


Step 1

Measure the object carefully with the measuring tape, writing down the precise measurement including the fractional measurement with pencil and paper.

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Step 2

Divide the top portion of the fraction by the lower number of the fraction. For example, divide 3 by 4 to find the decimal calculation of 3/4 inch.


Step 3

Round long numbers up by the third digit. For example, 3/16 inch results in .1875. The third digit is a 7, which is greater than 5, so you round second digit up to .19. A measurement of .1846 has the third digit as less than 5 so the result would be .18. Round any second digit followed by a third digit larger than or equal to 5 up to the next highest number.


Step 4

Convert quick or standard measurements without the calculator. Half an inch equals .5. One-quarter inch equals .25. Three quarters of an inch equals .75.


Digital laser measuring devices are capable of displaying measurements in decimals or fractions.


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