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OpenOffice.org Writer: Left to Right or Right to Left – You Choose

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.

OpenOffice.org 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.