Displaying text from right to left
Most languages use a writing system in which text flows from left to right. In a few languages, text flows from right to left. These languages, used mostly in the Middle East, include Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew. BIRT supports the display of text in both directions, a feature known as bidirectional (Bidi) text.
Bidirectional text consists of predominantly right-to-left text with some left‑to‑right text embedded in paragraphs, such as an Arabic report with addresses, acronyms, or proper names in English. Figure 7‑10 shows an example of such a report. As the report shows, the general flow of text is right to left, but numbers and English words are written from left to right.
Figure 7‑10 Report displaying Arabic text from right to left
Typically, when designing a report to display bidirectional text, you set the text flow direction at the report level. You can, however, also set text flow direction at the element level. In the rare case where a report displays significant sections of text in multiple languages, this capability enables you to display some sections in right to left and some in left to right. For example, if a report is mostly in Arabic, but some sections are in English, you can set the report’s text direction as right‑to‑left and the text elements that display English text as left‑to‑right.