To use a tape measure, place the hooked end over one end of the object being measured and anchor it in place. Pull the measure across until the desired distance is reached, then read the markings on the tape to see the length or width of the object.
Although the length of tape measures varies, most display the inch marks for the entire length. For example, a 12 foot tape measure is marked every inch. Many tape measures also include larger increment marks every 12 inches to indicate one foot. Smaller marks that go down to 1/16 inch are also common, as are marks indicating centimeters and millimeters.
A tape measure is a common, portable tool. It is relatively safe, though some come with metal tapes that can cause injury if improperly or quickly retracted. Very long tapes might be made of cloth and require a crank to be rolled up. The tape measure does not require maintenance beyond keeping the tape clean and not retracting it too quickly.
The most common length of tape measures for consumer use is 12 feet, but they can be found in lengths of up to 100 feet. Made of reinforced cloth, this extra-long tape is used for measuring property boundaries or other external elements. A builder's tape, which is 25 feet long, is marked every 12 and 16 inches to help measure wall studs.