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Tuesday, November 15th, 2011 by | Filed Under: OpenOffice

There are languages that are read right-to-left, such as Hebrew and Arabic, and if you need to work with them it’s a necessity to use a word processing program that will deal with such situations.

While I have never worked with that type of situation, it doesn’t mean that others aren’t in dire need of a program that will allow them to switch between left-to-right and right-to-left then back again.

If you need this particular feature and are thinking that you’re going to have to pay the big bucks to have a program that will get the job done, then you’re definitely in for good news. Writer will work both ways… and once you’ve enabled that feature it’s just a matter of a button on a toolbar to switch back and forth.

Enough with the preliminaries… if you’re with me this far then you’re ready for the “how to”.

We’ll need to navigate to the Options dialog box. (Tools menu / Options choice)


Expand the Languages Setting section and then select Languages.

On the right you’ll find at the bottom a checkbox labeled “Enabled for complex text layout (CTL)“.

Select this option and click OK.

Once back out in your document you should be able to spot a difference in your Formatting toolbar.


Yep, those two little buttons were added and their intent is pretty obvious. The one on the left sets the document for left-to-right languages and the other will switch it to right-to-left.

There you have it. Text in either direction – no big budget needed.


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7 Responses to “ Writer: Left to Right or Right to Left – You Choose”

  1. Eyal says:


  2. spartiate says:

    Thank you :)

  3. Maryam says:

    Thank you so much :)

  4. Wailo says:

    Thanks allot , that was really helpful :)

  5. Joe says:

    This worked well, but the system still seems to be buggy. Spacing often gets thrown off when I am typing in Hebrew and the cursor keeps reverting to the beginning of the sentence, or adds extra letters when I hit space. Often, if I want to add space in the middle of the line, it doesn’t work. Any thoughts? While it works most of the time, these bugs do stop me from being able to write because it messed up the format so much.

  6. Samer says:

    I have the same comment as Joe but using arabic text. When I hit space while tying in Arabic the space is added at the beginning of the paragraph and at the end it messes up the format and characters are our of context.

    Any advise

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