How can I type in Arabic with English Powerpoint on a Mac?

Simply changing the language setting for the Mac doesn't work.

1 Answer 1


Are you sure it's not some sort of Arabic? Like in the screenshot below, the lower parts of the two browsers might look the same at first sight, but for someone who reads Arabic are actually quite different.

You might be running into an issue with Apple Advanced Technology versus Microsoft OpenType. Some details from "Arabic fonts for the Mac - further detail":

The technology that allows automatic context analysis - that makes an isolate "b" turn into an initial b when you add another character to it - is linked to the font, and can be of two different types: One is Apple's own which is called AAT, for "Apple Advanced Technology". The other is called OpenType, formulated by Microsoft and Adobe, and came into use around 2001-2002 for Windows and Unix machines. Both types are of course used not just for Arabic, but also in other scripts, for example to provide greater variations in letter combinations (ligatures) than regular TrueType fonts does.


Related to this issue is the problem that could cause Safari not to display Arabic web pages in systems earlier then 10.5. Surprisingly, this was caused by installing Microsoft Office 2004. That installer replaced the fonts Arial and Times New Roman with Microsoft versions that contains Arabic characters, but in OpenType. As Arabic Web pages routinely asks for Times New Roman, Safari displayed them in this font, where they displayed disjointed. When these Microsoft fonts Times and Arial fonts are removed, Safari will instead use a standard Mac font which works. -- Firefox, which supports OpenType ligatures, and other browsers did not have this issue, and it is gone in 10.5, as Safari now of course also supports these fonts.

Below, see Safari on the left and Firefox on the right, when the Microsoft OpenType Arial font has been installed (in 2008 OS X and browser versions):

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