How to access Arabic and Hebrew features in Photoshop

How to access Arabic and Hebrew features in Photoshop
This video shows users how to access the Middle Eastern type engine, allowing them to use the features that support Arabic and Hebrew...
David Mohr

Enable Middle Eastern features

To reveal Middle Eastern type options in the Photoshop interface, do the following:

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Type (Windows) or Photoshop > Preferences > Type (Mac OS).
  2. In the Choose Text Engine Options section, select Middle Eastern.
  3. Click OK, and restart Photoshop.
  4. Choose Type > Language Options > Middle Eastern features.

Text direction

To create content in Arabic and Hebrew, you can make the right-to-left (RTL) direction the default text direction. However, for documents that include left-to-right (LTR) text, you can now seamlessly switch between the two directions.

Select the paragraph direction from the Paragraph panel.

Photoshop Paragraph direction selection
Paragraph direction selection (InDesign panel shown)

Digit types

When you are working in Arabic or Hebrew, you can select the type of digits you want to use. You can choose between Arabic, Hindi, and Farsi.

By default, in Arabic versions of Photoshop, Hindi digits are auto-selected; in Hebrew versions, Arabic digits are selected. However, you can manually change digit types if necessary:

  1. Select the digits in the text.
  2. In the Character panel, use the Digits menu to select the appropriate font.
Photoshop Digits type selection
Digit type selection (InDesign panel shown)

Legacy font support

Fonts that have been traditionally used (for example, AXT fonts) can continue to be used in this release of the software. However, it is recommended that newer Open Type fonts be used for text-based elements.

Missing Glyph Protection (Edit > Preferences > Advanced Type) is enabled by default. Text is handled automatically, where glyphs are not available in the font you are using.

Default fonts

When you install a Middle Eastern or North African version, the default typing font is set to the installation-specific language, by default. For example, if you have installed the English/Arabic-enabled version, the default typing font is set to Adobe Arabic. Similarly, if you have installed the English/Hebrew-enabled version, the default typing font is set to Adobe Hebrew (or Myriad Hebrew in Photoshop).

Automatic Kashida insertion

In Arabic, text is justified by adding Kashidas. Kashidas are added to Arabic characters to lengthen them. Whitespace is not modified. Use automatic Kashida insertion to justify paragraphs of Arabic text.

Select the paragraph, and at the lower-right of the Paragraph panel, choose an option from the Insert Kashidas pop-up menu: None, Short, Medium, Long, or Stylistic.

Note: Kashidas are inserted only in paragraphs with fully justified margins.

To apply Kashidas to a group of characters, select the characters in the document, and then choose Type > Language Options > Kashidas.

Ligatures (OpenType fonts)

With some OpenType fonts, you can automatically apply ligatures to character pairs in Arabic and Hebrew. Ligatures are typographic replacement characters for certain letter pairs.

  1. Select text.
  2. In the Character panel, above the language and anti-aliasing menus, click the Standard or Discretionary Ligatures icon.

Discretionary ligatures provide more ornate options that some fonts support.


Sentences that have more words that can fit into one line of text automatically wrap into the next line. The type of text justification when wrapping occurs sometimes causes unnecessary spaces to appear in the line that are not aesthetically pleasing or linguistically correct. Hyphenation enables you to split the word at the end of a line, using a hyphen. This fragmentation causes the sentence to wrap into the next line in a better way.

Mixed text: The Kashida insertion feature affects how hyphenation occurs in mixed text. When enabled, Kashidas are inserted where applicable, and non-Arabic text is not hyphenated. When the Kashida feature is disabled, only non-Arabic text is considered for hyphenation.

Hebrew text: Hyphenation is allowed. To enable hyphenation and customize settings, choose Paragraph panel > Panel menu > Hyphenation Settings.

Photoshop Hyphenation options
Hyphenation options (InDesign panel shown)

Diacritical marks

In the Arabic script, a diacritic or a diacritical mark is a glyph used to indicate consonant length or short vowels. A diacritical mark is placed above or below the script. For better styling of text, or improved readability of certain fonts, you can control the vertical or horizontal position of diacritical marks:

  1. Select text that has diacritical marks
  2. In the Character panel, modify the position of the diacritic marks relative to the script. Values you can change are, Adjust Horizontal Diacritic Position, and the Adjust Vertical Diacritic Position.

Justification alternates

A font can provide alternative shapes for certain letters, typically for stylistic or calligraphy purposes. In rare cases, justification alternates are used to justify and align paragraphs containing these shapes.

Justification alternates can be turned on at a character level, but only if a font supports this feature. At the bottom of the Character panel, select Justification Alternates.

These Arabic fonts contain justification alternates: Adobe Arabic, Myriad Arabic, and Adobe Naskh.

These Hebrew fonts contain justification alternates: Adobe Hebrew and Myriad Hebrew.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License  Twitter™ and Facebook posts are not covered under the terms of Creative Commons.

Legal Notices   |   Online Privacy Policy