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Metric System


The Metric Program helps implement the national policy to establish the SI (International System of Units, commonly known as the metric system) as the preferred system of weights and measures for U.S. trade and commerce. It provides leadership and assistance on SI use and conversion to federal agencies, state and local governments, businesses, trade association, standards development organizations, educators, and the general public.

The Metric Program is focused to increase SI use in:


Trade and Commerce

Because of the importance of the SI (metric system) as an international standard, its use in product design, manufacturing, marketing, and labeling is essential for U.S. industry's success in the global marketplace. The NIST metric program encourages the use of the SI in all facets of education, including honing of worker skills.


All Levels of Government

The Metric Program coordinates metric transition activities under the Metric Conversion Act, including transition of all federal agencies (Executive Order 12770). U.S. metric legislation and policy authorizes Secretary of Commerce to direct and coordinate the federal agency metric transition and to assess progress. Federal agencies implement formal policy and plans for using the SI (metric system) and report transition progress. The use of the SI in federal agency programs relating to trade, industry, and commerce is intended to support industry's voluntary adoption of the SI.


Everyday Life within the United States

Progress toward greater use of the SI (metric system) continues in the United States. Learn more about everyday use of metric measurements.


SI Teacher Kits Available for Educators

Attention Teachers! Did you know that you can obtain a free set of metric education resources for use in your classroom? Contact the NIST Metric Program at TheSI@nist.gov and include your name, school, subject, grade level, phone number, and mailing address. The NIST SI Teacher Kit a classroom set of metric rulers (NIST SP 376 - a 300 mm ruler), laminated metric conversion cards (NIST SP 365), SI Education CD, and other measurement resources.

Read More Metric News