What are the two main design formats for dial indicator readout? The two main design formats for dial indicator readout are balanced and continuous. When a dial readout is balanced it means that the numerical measurements run in the two opposing directions away from the middle zero point. These types of readout are ideal for tolerances that are bilateral in nature, for example ±0.006 inch. The dial of the indicator is balanced in either direction and so can be positive or negative. When a dial readout is continuous it means that the numerical readout goes only in one direction, starting at the zero point and continuing all the way around in one full rotation. Continuous readouts are typically seen when the tolerance is unilateral, for example –0.000 to +0.003 inch. Both balanced and continuous dial reading designs on a dial indicator have reverse versions. On a balanced dial reading this is seen in the positive numbers being to the left of the zero point and negative numbers being to the right, while on a continuous dial reading this is seen as the whole revolution scale reversed. Reversed continuous readouts are sometimes called counter-clockwise dial indicators.