Because typing a right-to-left (RTL) language like Arabic or Hebrew requires changes in cursor behavior, punctuation can be misplaced in some cases. Below are some suggestions for optimizing the Macintosh application TextEdit (free from Apple) to handle RTL languages.
Note: Portions of this page is based on information provided by Dilworth Parkinson, moderator of the Arabic-L listserv.
As of Office 2008, integration with the native Apple RTL behaviors had not been implemented. Therefore many experts recommend combining Office 2008 with another word processor (even if not all RTL options are yet available). Some options include
Text Edit - Free from Apple, but with limited formatting capability. Text can be cut and paste from TextEdit to Microsoft Office for Windows. See the Text Edit RTL Optimization section below for details.
Neo Office (Open Office) - Low-cost open-source office suite which include most of the formatting tools of Microsoft Office. Supports RTL paragraphs (e.g. bullet lists to the right) and Hindi numbers. Cost is $0, but a $5 donation is requested. See Neo Office Tips below for additional setup information.
Nisus Writer Express - The Express edition is relatively inexpensive and supports multiple languages, but a full-featured word processor (Nisus Writer Pro) is also available. Can import/export RTF and Word 97-2004 files. See Nisus Writer Express review by ATPM.com for a list of pros and cons.
Although Text Edit has minimal formatting tools, it is possible to copy and paste text into other applications such as Microsoft Word where the block can be fully formatted.
Note that Text Edit documents can be saved in RTF format.
These steps can help tyou take advantage of all the foreign language tools of Neo Office.
The Apple Mail application (for e-mail) is pre-installed on most Macintoshes and includes Unicode support.
A review of Mac applications for Arabic is available at the Arabic Macintosh. Some applications which have been identified as supporting basic RTL entry include
But you can feel free to experiment as needed.
Last Modified: Wednesday, 19-Dec-2012 16:49:17 EST