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romillyham
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Farsi in ID CS4 (on Mac)

Dec 9, 2012 3:41 PM

Tags: #cs4 #mac #indesign #farsi

Please oh please could someone say whether, and how, now we are at the end of 2012, one can simply and practically set in Farsi on a Mac (OSX 10.6.8) using InDesign CS4 (not the ME version).

 

There are threads here dating mainly to 2009 – two/three years ago! – that really don't deal very well with the issue or suggest "solutions" that look like a real hassle. I don't want to have to use scripts if possible, I just want to be able to enter Farsi and roman text in the same document and in the same paragraph, straightforwardly and without hassle. I can do it in TextEdit with virtually no problem! Why not in CS4, which boasts the so-called WorldReady plug-in? Big deal – out of the box it's much of the world unready.

 

If it has to be a plug-in, someone please say which is the best plug-in for the price. I have looked at MetaDesigns' IndicPlus plugin, which handles arabic/farsi but seems mainly geared for Indian languages. It's $50 for the CS4 version.

 

If the only practical way is to purchase an ME version of InDesign, someone please say that too!

 

So many people are now wanting to learn/write/publish in Farsi that there is a real need for mixed-script/LTR-RTL setting software. Any Iranians here using InDesign CS4?

 

Many thanks!

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 9, 2012 4:58 PM   in reply to romillyham

    romillyham wrote:

     

    Please oh please could someone say whether, and how, now we are at the end of 2012, one can simply and practically set in Farsi on a Mac (OSX 10.6.8) using InDesign CS4 (not the ME version).

     

    The ME version is the one that allows you to "simply and practically" set ME text with.

     

    The suggested workarounds are just that, mainly for the odd occurrence of Arabic in an otherwise Latin-oriented document. (Though I suppose it would be perfectly doable to do so for an entire document.)

     

    So many people are now wanting to learn/write/publish in Farsi that there is a real need for mixed-script/LTR-RTL setting software.

     

    There is -- InDesign ME.

     

    That said, the "hassles" aren't that big. When necessary, I use Peter Kahrel's "hassle" scripts; with such success one of the authors I did work for asked me how I did typeset his Arabic phrases so beautiful, so he could do the same in Word.

     
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    Dec 9, 2012 5:23 PM   in reply to romillyham

    What difference is the current year when you're using tools from 4 years ago?

     

    Bob

     
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    Dec 9, 2012 7:53 PM   in reply to romillyham

    Why not in CS4, which boasts the so-called WorldReady plug-in? Big deal – out of the box it's much of the world unready.

     

    Actually, in CS4 the WRC was undocumented. If I recall correctly, Adobe told no one about it and left it under the hood for people to discover by reading the scripting reference. In CS6, the WRC is exposed to users and easy to turn on, but you still need either the ME edition, or something like IndicPlus or World Tools, to handle RTL languages. If you want control over, say, kashidas or diacritic placement, then you need either the

     

    If you are stuck on CS4, I think that World Tools is the best choice if you want significant control over layout. You're right about IndicPlus being mostly for the languages of India; the CS4 edition of World Tools really is aimed at right-to-left languages exclusively. Seems to cover Arabic/Persian/Hebrew/Kurdish/Urdu pretty well for me. To be honest the CS5/6 version of the plugin is better & easier to use if your texts are heavily bidirectional, but if you are stuck on CS4 then World Tools is your best bet. (I'm stuck there too, and cannot wait for my main clients to upgrade past CS4 so I can grab World Tools Pro.)

    If the only practical way is to purchase an ME version of InDesign, someone please say that too!

     

    Nope. There are other options - you can turn these function on and off with a script, which you already know. You can use a plugin, which you already know. You can use another application - notably, you cannot use Microsoft Word, which you may already know. But you can use OpenOffice or LibreOffice or another word processor. You probably already knew that, too.

     

    But page layout apps? Is there any page layout application that is available for Mac OS that makes bidi layout easy without buying a plugin? TBQH, although I hate it, I've long understood why so many designers working in RTL languages use Quark. ArabicXT is a pretty powerful tool. I see some evidence that Scribus is on its way towards complex script support but if this is the only page I can find on their wiki then they're probably not there yet.

     

    Simple fact is that no, even with the recent surge in popularity of Mac OS (which I've been using on and off to typeset dozens of different complex-script languages from around the world for fifteen years now), I know of no tools that make it easy to handle specifically bidirectional texts, outside of the applications I've already mentioned. I've never tried it in Pages, which for me kind of straddles the line between "word processor" and "page layout app." You may want to try it out, but reports I've read are that you can typeset Persian in it okay, but trying to do bidirectional RTL/LTR texts in it is even more frustrating than usual.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 9, 2012 7:56 PM   in reply to Joel Cherney

    Oh yeah - I forgot Mellel. I usually forget Mellel unless I'm specifically being asked about typesetting Hebrew. It handles bidi stuff exceptionally well, though.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 10, 2012 8:34 AM   in reply to romillyham

    Being this is for personal use (versus professional output) consider checking out LibreOffice. I believe it can handle rtl/ltr in the same document.

     

    Being that it is an OpenSource project, it means zero cash outlay.

     

    Take care, Mike

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 10, 2012 11:25 AM   in reply to romillyham

    Thanks Joel for taking the time out to reply in such detail – massively useful, with leads I can follow.

     

    No problem. I had to vet my response for snarkiness, though - next time you post a question here, I'd suggest that you take a slightly less, ah, confrontational tone.

     

    of course I felt that that WorldReady plug-in in CS4 must somehow be activatable, even if it has limitations relative to CS5/6..

     

    I think that 100% of the limitations are in the interface. Everything that you can do with the actual ME edition of InDesign, you can do with English-language ID and a pile of scripts. (The exception is that in the CS4 era. the ME edition was produced by another company (Winsoft) and it came with a plugin for calligraphic stuff (and fonts optimized for that plugin) that you don't get with the CS6 ME edition as produced by Adobe.

     

    Interestingly, in order to scare up that link, I visited the Winsoft site for the first time in a while, and it looks like they have their own plugin along the lines of World Tools. Haven't tried it, but it ceratinly seems to be the cheapest commercial plugin that allows access to RTL tools. It's not available to you on CS4, of course.

    There is supposedly a “LibreOffice Help Pack (Farsi)”, but it’s an exe file and in any case I have been unable to download it. It’s on some ?joke site called Software Informer where clicking on the download button takes you round in circles. No matter.

    That is a source of either adware or malware, depending on your definitions of same. I suggest you avoid it.

     
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    Dec 10, 2012 1:44 PM   in reply to romillyham

    Wonderful!

     

    Take care, Mike

     
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