Use bidirectional text

Pages supports bidirectional text, so you can enter and edit text written from left to right (such as in English or Chinese) and from right to left (such as in Arabic or Hebrew) in the same document. You can use bidirectional text in paragraphs, shapes, and tables.

To use another language in your document, you must set up an input source for it in Keyboard preferences (in System Preferences on your Mac). For more information, in the Finder choose Help > Help Center, then search for “input sources.”

You can use any Pages template to create a bidirectional document, but to use templates designed specifically for another language, you must first change the primary language of your computer to that language in System Preferences.

Note: If you add a new input source to your computer while Pages is open, restart Pages so that it recognizes the source.

Use another language in Pages

  • Choose an input source from the Input menu on the right side of your computer’s menu bar.

    The Input menu in the upper-right corner of the menu bar.

The insertion point moves to the side of the document used by the language you select. For example, if you switch the input source from English to Hebrew, the insertion point moves to the right side of the document, and any existing text in the paragraph changes to that direction.

Change paragraph text direction

The ruler and its tab stops always match the direction of a paragraph, so when you change the text direction for selected text, the ruler also changes.

  1. Click in a paragraph or list, or select text in a paragraph or list.

  2. Change the language using the Input menu, or click Paragraph direction button in the Text pane of the Format inspector to enter text in the current language.

    The insertion point moves to the other side, and the paragraph direction changes.

    Bidirectional button
  3. Enter text, then press Return at the end of the paragraph.

    The next paragraph continues in the same direction. To change its direction, click Paragraph direction button, or choose the language in the Input menu.

If you select multiple paragraphs with different text directions then click Paragraph direction button, the paragraphs are formatted to match the first paragraph in the selection. If you select multiple shapes that contain text with different text directions, the text in the shapes is formatted to match the first shape you selected.

To learn how to type and edit bidirectional text and to use some of the supporting features in OS X, in the Finder choose Help > Help Center, then search for “bidirectional text.”