The inside calipers are used to measure the internal size of an object.
* The upper caliper in the image (at the right) requires manual adjustment prior to fitting, fine setting of this caliper type is performed by tapping the caliper legs lightly on a handy surface until they will almost pass over the object. A light push against the resistance of the central pivot screw then spreads the legs to the correct dimension and provides the required, consistent feel that ensures a repeatable measurement.
* The lower caliper in the image has an adjusting screw that permits it to be carefully adjusted without removal of the tool from the workpiece.
Outside calipers are used to measure the external size of an object.
The same observations and technique apply to this type of caliper, as for the above inside caliper. With some understanding of their limitations and usage these instruments can provide a high degree of accuracy and repeatability. They are especially useful when measuring over very large distances, consider if the calipers are used to measure a large diameter pipe. A vernier caliper does not have the depth capacity to straddle this large diameter while at the same time reach the outermost points of the pipe's diameter.