How to Paste Arabic Text in InDesign

Opus is working with the Office of Economic Empowerment a department within the State Treasury. The Office runs programs on financial literacy which are available to families throughout Massachusetts. Their collateral needs to be translated into 7 languages.  Most are pretty straightforward, we copy and past the translations from MSWord into Indesign and rework the text and layout to fit. Then there’s Arabic. When you paste Arabic text in Indesign, something weird happens.

arabic text

It flows in reverse. Instead of “1234,”  you see “4321.”

And for those of us who do not read or speak Arabic, you wouldn’t even notice. Arabic is read from right to left, so can you just right align the text?  Not even close.

So I started to look online for solutions:  Indesign Secrets, Adobe Forums, Lynda, a World Tool that cost $99 and a free plug-in that didn’t work. I installed Indesign ME or the Middle East version of Indesign…that was a disaster. In all the search and skimming through forums and blogs, I’m afraid I can’t remember where exactly I found the solution. But I’m so thankful it worked and it’s here now so I’ll never forget.

How to Paste Arabic in your indesign file.

  1. Create a text box
  2. Select and Fill with Placeholder text while holding down COMMAND.
  3. A popup allows you to pick a language. select Arabic
  4. The box will fill with Arabic lorem ipsum.

Use this box to copy and paste your text from MSword. It’s a little weird selecting text, but you can style as usual.

What’s nice about this is that you can run text in both directions using this method. So if you have English and Arabic in the same document, it’s perfect.