Issues with arabic typography in illustrator

alexandracama's picture

I'm working on a packaging in arabic and I'm having troubles with illustrator. The ingredients list is given to me pasted in a word document and properly written in arial. Once I copy it and paste it into illustrator the whole text changes. I guess it's because it switches it as if it was written from left to right instead of right to left. It obviously can't be fixed by flipping it horizontally or reflecting it.

If you've had this issue before or have any idea of how to solve it I'd be really grateful.

Thanks a lot!!!

DTY's picture

Unless you have the ME (Middle East) version of Illustrator from WinSoft, setting Arabic text requires extra effort or software. If you have Illustrator CS4 or CS5, you can get a plug-in called ScribeDoor that will enable right-to-left languages:

You can also use scripts to manipulate right-to-left text in Illustrator CS4 or CS5, which are free but require a little more understanding of the software:

If you have Illustrator CS3 or earlier, then it is not capable of setting right-to-left languages. You need to upgrade to a more recent version or else obtain Illustrator ME.

alexandracama's picture

Thank you so much!!

I'm trying to work with the blog's scripts and still no luck. I'll try to ask my IT colleague and search adobe forums related to plug-in installation.

DTY's picture

My apologies - I should have said templates rather than scripts. On re-reading, I see that the scripts on Thomas's blog page are for InDesign, not for Illustrator. There is an Illustrator template, though. If you download that and paste your Arabic text into it; if I understand the blog post correctly, you can then cut and paste your Arabic text from the Illustrator template into your working file.

Theunis de Jong's picture

Printing the original Word file to PDF, then opening that in Illustrator may work as well. Sometimes the Arabic text gets converted to outlines, sometimes not -- but it'll look the same.

alexandracama's picture

I've tried again using the template and it works!!!

Thank you both so much for your help!

copycat's picture

Our workaround is to use SnagIt to grab Arabic text and put it into AI as a graphic.

AzizMostafa's picture

With the help of MAC:
You could export Arabic to Illustrator from Notepad, Wordpad or M$ Word. And now, you can type straightforward inside Illustrator (ME) using the new MAC fonts.
No additional software is needed.

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