Thursday, 14 June 2012

Correcting formatting issues to have Arabic and English text in the same line

There are often times when you need to have Arabic and English (or another left-to-right language) in the same piece of text. Microsoft Word has no issue adding Arabic text next to existing English text, but trying the opposite is disastrous. It’s very frustrating when the text flips to the opposite side and the whole text is thrown out of place like this;

When what you actually want is this:

In this text I needed to add English book titles as references, yet as I go to write ‘Political Man’ next to الرجل السياسي, notice that in the first attempt to add the English, the whole line changes position so that the text no longer reads in the correct order.
The solution is actually very simple. To fix this follow these easy steps;

1)      Highlight the text or select all (ctrl+a), and align the text to the right

2)      Align the text direction to the right with this button:

3)      Use the short cut key shift+alt to switch to English keyboard langauge, and simply type in the English where you want, remembering to switch back to Arabic to continue typing int Arabic. 


  1. Thanks very much, solved a big problem ^^

  2. I know that this is about aliging, but the tip on using the shortcut to change keyboard languages is what I had been in search of!!! Both tips are very useful. Thanks you!

  3. Thanks a lot !
    really it was very helpful ! after I had so much stress and confusion


  4. Hi,

    I know this is an old post but just in case you're still paying attention to it: Do you happen to have any experience of how to solve the problem when the English text in an Arabic document or vice versa extends across a line break? In my case MS Word does suddently muddle up the word order of the English or Arabic text in these cases, i.e. in the Arabic text in an English document moves the left most word into the next line, effectively moving the last word into the position of the first word if one were to read it from right to left ... if that description makes sense