Other Languages: Right to Left (Farsi, Arabic, Hebrew, etc)


I would be greatly interested in using this software if it could be enabled to allow right to left support. Specifically, I’m interested in Farsi but I’m sure that users of Nisus and Mellel would be interested in Scrivener as well. Also, if the layout from Scrivener could be exported to Nisus and Mellel, that would make for a phenomenal duo.



It does work with right-to-left, as it is, perfectly. And you can export to RTF, and import into Mellel fine, with the right-to-left. In Mellel, after importing, you just switch the writing direction (or change it in styles), and everything is go. Works beautifully! Check out this thread for some of the details of importing it into Mellel. Despite my own issues mentioned there, for what most people will need, it works very well, and very quickly.

I suggest RTL and LTR to be added to the Preferences. That way the software can be used for writing Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, and Urdu.

It is true that we can make every page RTL manually but by setting it up in Preferences we can also set up the fonts for that as well. I tried to save my setting for Persian in Preferences and later load it but it didn’t work. The setting remained as it was before.

One more thing: For a localized version for RTL languages it would be great if we can have the current left pane on the right side with the triangles pointing towards the left.

Hi sourena,

Actually, you can already do this via the preferences! The text box in the Text Editing pane of the Preferences allows you to set up all of this just as you would with a regular text view (i.e. as you would in the main editor). Thus, just click in the text area (“General Text Attributes”) to ensure it has focus, then go to the Text menu and select Writing Direction > Right to Left. This will affect the quote in the Preferences pane, and clicking on “OK” will make it so that any new documents you create have RTL text.

Yikes! I’m afraid that won’t be possible. For a start, it would involve rebuilding the interface, reversing it, and then swapping about all of the code that deals with the split views - an enormous undertaking to begin with. But, more importantly, the binder is a standard Apple control (an outline view), and, so far as I know, it does not support having the arrows on the right. Does the Finder, iTunes etc have their lists on the right and arrows on the right in localised versions?

All the best,

Having a localized version was only a suggestion. I don’t know about the difficulties of the work. But I assume the localized version of iTune or mail in Arabic or Persian should be reversed.
I never have seen a localized version of Mac. Apple doesn’t make in in Persian (I guess because of the embargo), and about Arabic I have no information.

Thanks for the info about switching to RTL in Preferences.
I did that, and also changed the fonts and some settings in Preferences and tried to save it. I quitted Scrivener and started in again and tried to load the saved Preferences to see how it works. Preferences was set up to its default and refused to accept the saved setting.
What do you think the reason is?

I wanted to create to make a Persian/Arabic setting to post it here for people to download.

Did you click on “OK” or “Apply” at the bottom of the Preferences window? Unlike some apps that accept changes straight away, you have to confirm the changes in Scrivener’s Preferences window.

No I didn’t. So that was the reason. Today I applied the changes before saving it. It worked.

One more issue that I need to mention here:
It is true that the user can set the text to be RTL in Preferences and save the setting. But what about the Notes, Synopsis, and other features? With an Right-to-Left option the user can switch not only the direction of the text in the documents but the direction of all these features as well.

You have a good point there. Unfortunately, it would take a lot of work - especially when it comes to the corkboard, index cards and so forth - as it would require a lot of extra coding. For that reason, I am afraid that this is going to have to wait a while - perhaps until I start localising properly. I have put it on the list for future attention, though.
Thanks and all the best,

Just started using Scrivener on WIN10 and also testing on Mac 10.14.5.
Writing both in Urdu and English (two separate books, in one project at the moment).
In Windows, installed

  1. Jameel Noori Nastaliq fonts
  2. Urdu Phonetic Unicode Keyboard V1.0
  3. Added Urdu keyboard in Regional Language Settings, etc. Quick keyboard Switch icon available on rightside of task bar.
  4. Have also installed other keyboards like Urdu India Keyboard, etc. Their layout is different.
    I switch keyboards as needed. Can mix Urdu English.

In Mac, using built-in Urdu keyboard. Some key layout is different from Urdu Phonetic Unicode Keyboard V1.0.

No serious issues in either OS other than some symbol keys tend not to follow the direction RTL.
Will post more as I learn more.