SAB 4.7 MAC Arabic -


Here you see a typical problem with brackets in Arabic in SAB
Both in the field Filename and in the field Book Name the bracket on the right should be on the ultimate left.
Whether you type or copy the text in or pick up automatically on import, it looks this way.
I think I was able to solve it once with some ‘tricks’ which I do not remember, but this is not the way it should be, I would say … or is the blame on me somehow?

Yes there are some weird RTL and LTR issues when you are dealing with Arabic script because of the Bi-directional nature of the script. To find out more about how characters are treated, you can check out the Bidi information at, specifically 5.7.2 Bidirectional Class Values. If you want to find the Bidi class of a particular character, find the character in this database: and look at the 5th column (after four semi-colons “;”).

If you look up the parentheses, you’ll see that they are “ON”, or neutral - they just take the bidi characteristic of the character before it. That’s what messes up the parens in your fields. There is also a mechanism that turns the parens around in RTL contexts. So your Book Name above looks like this visually on the screen:

1) xxx)

(where x’s are AS chars). But you typed it like this xxx (1), right? Where did your opening paren “(” go to? That opening parenthesis “(” that you typed turned into a “)”, because it was an opening paren in a RTL context, so it got “turned around”.

But really the only question you have to ask is, “Does it work or not?” I imagine SAB can find your file just fine, even with the “weird” parens that you see on the screen. So leave the Filename alone. Is the Book Name something that appears in your app? And does it appear badly, like in this dialog box? If so, then there are a couple of characters that you can use to “force” the rendering to be RTL or LTR. They are:


I just did a little playing around, and it looks like if you insert a U+200F right after that last parenthesis, it should shift it to the far left, next to the “1”. (I tried one first right before that parenthesis, but that didn’t seem sufficient for fixing the text in the Book Name field. Yes, that’s a bit weird, but you just have to find a combination that works and use it…)

If you don’t have a keyboard that can type those marks, you can type your Book Name in LibreOffice Writer/Word and use Insert Special Character/Symbol to get those marks (in the General punctuation subset), then copy and paste the text you types into SAB.

Hope that helps.

yes, Jeff, thank you for your explanation. I myself have been working with AS since it began to appear on a computer and understand what you explain.
The problem is that the book name and the abbreviation field in SAB are LTR fields in how they display (and that is what matters very much to somebody writing or copying text into those fields). Best would be if one could choose a LTR or RTL direction in those fields, but maybe that is a bridge too far for all the work that needs to be done.
Anyway I find that it takes indeed some experimenting as you say to find out how you can get the text in the APP as we/I want it. Thank you for your advice and I will see what I can do.