3 Replies Latest reply on Apr 28, 2015 1:25 AM by Willi Adelberger

    Bidirectional text in inDesign


      how can i use english and arabic text is the same text block in indesign?

      i would like to add some english words and numbers into a text block of an arabic paragraph but if i change the direction it then changes for the entire paragraph instead of only the words required.


      i am working in InDesign CC, ME version

        • 1. Re: Bidirectional text in inDesign
          Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

          There are several levels of text direction:

          1. Document (Document Set Up)
          2. Story (Object Styles)
          3. Paragraph (Paragraph Styles)
          4. Character (Character Style)
          5. Table (Table Style)
          6. Cell (Cell Style)
          7. Text Curser Positon (Special directional unicode marker from the type menu)

          On each of these level you can change the direction with appropriate styles. I don't know where and how much you need to change, but I think these 7 points will give you direction.

          • 2. Re: Bidirectional text in inDesign
            olympiou Level 1

            Thank you Willi

            could you pls give me directions as to how exactly to do that?

            i type english then switch to RTL from the Paragraph's Tab and i type or copy-paste arabic and the letters of the word are written again from LTR.

            i tried the same with the Story's Tab, switching to "RTL Story Direction" button but again i get the same result.

            i do not understand how to do this correctly

            • 3. Re: Bidirectional text in inDesign
              Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

              If your RTL text is a whole paragraph, the paragraph style applies.

              If your RTL text is only a part of a LTR paragraph you have to use a character style.

              If you want to change the direction in any paragraph, insert an appropriate unicode marker, from there the writing direction changes.


              Story applies e.g. when you have multicolumn text, so the the order of columns changes how it is filled, or the in and out are on opposite position.

              Paragraph applies when the whole paragraph is in the same direction.


              It is as it is with any other feature, and you should, no you have to be used to use styles anyway. If not, you have to learn it as it is the most basic function in text and layout programs. Not only in InDesign.