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If you're using a ME-enabled version of InDesign, you also have a pair of buttons for RTL text flow and LTR text flow. If you have LTR text flow and left-alignment, and then whack the RTL button, then the text will right-align automatically. Just aligning the text to the right margin does not guarantee correct Arabic layout. FIrst, ensure that the text flow direction is correct. If it's jumping to the wrong edge of the page, then probably you're using an English verison of the application, and are relying on something like Word import to get correct text flow. If that is your case, then yeah, you might have to use the paragraph alignment opposite of the one you want.
(And, if you care about your readership at all, you'll have your work proofread by a competent reader. Because it's astoundingly easy to ruin RTL scripts during typesetting if you're not literate in the language.)
Joel, thanks for the reply and help.
Unfortunately I am not using the ME version of InDesign, but the standard CS6 [English] version. Any idea of how I can justify the text right-to-left on this version?
The best way would be to go out and purchase a tool like WorldTools from in-tools.com - this is a plugin that will let you use the under-the-hood RTL features that are in your install of InDesign but have no UI tools. If you do multilingual work often in CS6, then it's very useful. If you are a Creative Cloud subscriber, you can get the true ME edition of InDesign for free by changing your language preferences in the Creative Cloud app.
Otherwise, you're left with scripts and hacks and duct tape. If you search Google for "world-ready composer" you can find the original Thomas Phinney blog posting where he collected most-or-all of these tricks. If you know how to install scripts, it's not hard to mark text as RTL with those scripts. (Assuming you don't have a bunch of parenthetical English or dates to deal with in your Arabic text, anyways.)
But there is another way, that may be labor-intensive for you if you're not already using paragraph styles carefully. It's a little-known feature of InDesign. If you start a new text frame, then choose "Type -> Insert Placeholder Text" while holding down the Control key (Command on Mac) then you can insert fake placeholder text in a variety of scripts. The Arabic choice has all of the RTL stuff turned on by default. You can select some of this text and make a new paragraph style based on it that has RTL and the World-Ready COmposer turned on. You can then apply your new RTL-friendly paragraph style to all of your already-set Arabic text. So, if all of your Arabic text has the same paragraph style applied, you can just delete that style and replace it with your newly created RTL style.
What a fantastically elegant solution; I was facing the same problem as the original poster
. Thank you.
If someone has the CC he can change in the cc app the language of the installed programs. When someone is installing Hebrew or Arabic enabled English version he can additionally install its own language (if not English). That will add the ME capabilities without additional cost.