I think you will find that Type sizes always show in points, regardless of the ruler settings. There doesn't seem to be an option to change that, but you can type pica values into the type size box, and it will convert them.
Keep in mind when doing this that the type size shown is not the height of a letter, but includes ascender and descender values for the full font.
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You can't change the typesize from points to picas. You can change the measure for the rulers, as indicated in your screen cap, but not for type size.
Frankly, the common unit of measure for type and line thickness is in points, though there is the option to change line thickness to millimeters if you want it.
I'm sorry that I don't have a better answer for you, but this is the correct one.
I'm curious why you'd want to change the type size to picas anyway?
but you can type pica values into the type size box, and it will convert them.
Just clarify you can type any unit into the type size field, but you have to use the unit's abbreviation. So you can set the size to 1 pica by typing 1p—when you tab out of the field the unit will get converted to 12pt. Type 1in and you'll get 72pt, etc.
So you're saying that font size is always set to pt. regardless of the units of measurement chosen. Fair enough, and that looks accurate now that I'm checking out other files. But I swear at one time or another the font setting would go by xPx. The reason I wanted to change it is because I thought the units of measurement were mixed up, but apparently I am just mixed up. Thanks for the help.
You could set things like indents and space before/after paragraphs in XpX sizes, in relation to ruler measures within InDesign documents -- e.g. you could set a quarter-inch space after a paragraph as 1p6 (or 0p18) as well as 18 pt or .25 in.
So if your rulers were set to measure picas, edit boxes in the paragraph section of the Control Panel would report sizes similarly -- even if you typed .25 in into one. Once you hit the Tab or Enter key, you'd see it in picas. It still works that way. But for font size/leading, it's always been reported in X pt. And, as Rob Day reported, you can enter values in any unit of measurement for a Control Panel edit box, and it will be measured accurately. However, it will be translated into X pt after you hit the Tab or Enter key for type size/leading, or whatever ruler measure you've selected in InDesign preferences for paragraph indent/spacing measurements.
Type size and leading have been reported in X pt measures since the PageMaker days (dating myself).
But I swear at one time or another the font setting would go by xPx.
Maybe you are thinking of Photoshop, which lets you set your type size preference to pixels?
Also the measurement is the body height plus some (shoulders). ID lets you set the number of points per inch in Units & Increments, which lets you customize what a point means. If you set the preference to traditional vs. postscript the actual size will be slightly different.