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Jacob Vishnyakov
Jacob Vishnyakov

How to Write and Display Arabic Text in InDesign with Arabic Text.jsx Script

Ive just had a quick chat to a colleague and he says that CS5 Pro cannot format Arabic because it is based on Unicode and not ISO 8859-6 (what Arabic is written on) (a guess on my part). But, he says, if I can get the Unicode text into CS5 Pro, it might be OK because the layout and styling should be done using the Unicode text. Is this the case?

Arabic Text.jsx

This is an indesign file that has been opened up in the preview window. You will see it is layered into the document so you could select all of it if you wanted. In indesign 2008 (CS3/CS4) the syle is switched to Arabic, so instead of the file coming in with the Arabic layout, the Arabic script is switched on for the whole file. To avoid this file needing to be rewritten and the layout to be altered, we used our script to get the text running.

Although the file I uploaded is Arabian, you need to ensure that your Arabic script is on. You can do this by turning on your indesign language and selecting your language as "arabic". They have to be switched on in order for our script to work.

One of the major differences in the way text is handled in Arabic vs European languages is the importance of the orientation of the text. If you have designed something, and the value in the letter case for rtl: right-to-left and ltr: left-to-right is present in the text string, the text will not be properly formatted.

Well, I have to say Im very pleased with the script Ive found and am now using. I havent had to use it for any substantial amount of Hebrew or Arabic yet, but it has worked beautifully so far. And there is a free version of it available for download. Now Im not going to say that this script didnt take a little time to figure out or that it isnt a little quirky at times. I know that the first time you run it youll have to line up all the objects to get them to work. But once you figure out what you are doing youll find this little gem to be a priceless treasure. (I havent used a word processor for a long time either.) So if you come across this posting, download the script right away.


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