Arabic import fails

Importing a valid RTF document (made with mellel) that has Arabic in it results in
a) In the main pane, the arabic is “broken”, that is, joined letters are separated. But oddly
b) in the “tip” window, (when you slide cursor over unselected doc. and get a preview) the Arabic is correct.

Can this be fixed?


Strange. I’m not sure how this could be fixed, to be honest. Scrivener uses OS X’s built-in RTF import system. Do these files open correctly in TextEdit? Scrivener uses Apples TextEdit code to open RTF documents (in other words, it’s code I have no access to…).

Hmm. I export it from Mellel in rtf.

To answer your question, NO it doesn’t import into text edit.

But the weird thing is that the note card and “tip” view are utterly correct. I’ll look at Mellel and see if there is anything there.

Nope. I tried plain text (complete gibberish). I tried cut and paste and it was like importing: broken letter-forms in the edit view, but correctly joined in notecard and tip view.

Oh, and I can write in Arabic just fine.
I tried importing into Devon Think and have the same problem, so it may be a Mac issue.

I really like Scrivner, and want to buy it, but I do use Arabic a lot on my research projects.

Any advice

Have you tried changing the font? What you see in the notecard is just a plain-text version of the text you imported, which suggests that the text is there and can be converted to plain text (inside Scrivener) okay. So it might be worth checking to see if a different font helps… If it happens in DT too, it definitely sounds like an Apple thing.
Just a thought… Sorry you are having difficulties.

So here’s what was going on. You were right to tell me to change the font. I was using a great font that Micro$osft includes with XP, and which appears to work in Mac Word, and Mellel has arranged (with th Arabic stuff) to make work in Mellel.

But when I import it, Scrivner hasn’t been tweaked to accept this font, so the display is broken. But when I use a Mac Arabic font (al-Bayan) it works.

Is this M$ or Mac? I don’t know.
But thanks for this advice. it solved the problem. I think I really like Scrivner. I’ll test it for another couple of weeks, but I’m impressed!

Thanks for your help!

Is it an OpenType font by any chance? Those can still be glitchy in some programs.

I haven’t done anything to Scrivener regarding fonts - this is the sort of thing I rely on Apple for. Apple have produced a fantastic text engine that developers can use without much tweaking, but it is definitely buggy in some regards. It gets better with each OS X update, though, so let’s see what Leopard brings…

Ok, I guess I have the answer to your question. The problem is neither produced by Scrivener nor by Mac. It is Mellel’s problem because it does not use the regular encoding of Arabic and Persian in Mac. So its fonts do not work properly in many other applications.

My suggestion: use this font in TextEdit, produce a right-to-Left RTF and import it into Scrivener:
You shouldn’t have any problem. For your daily work in Arabic/Persian use either TextEdit or NeoOffice, which supports Arabic and Persian. For more Persian/Arabic fonts go to: … load&cid=1

Thanks for taking the time to post the solution to this, sourena; this will be useful for other users.