Set Arabic Text in QuarkXPress

Layout Ltd.’s ArabicXT is an XTension for QuarkXPress Passport 4/5/6/7/8 that lets you set type in Arabic without having an Arabic operating system. 

It lets you create text that flows either right-to-left or left-to-right and paragraphs that flow in opposite directions. It supports Arabic and Roman script in the same document, with automatic Kashida insertion. 

ArabicXT includes 46 high-quality Arabic fonts with 10 additional free fonts upon registration, and more than 140 professional oriental clip art designs and 30 drop caps. ArabicXT costs $410 for QuarkXPress 7 or 8, $290 for QuarkXPress 6, $50 for QuarkXPress 4 or 5.

Jay Nelson is the editorial director of, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.

14 thoughts on “Set Arabic Text in QuarkXPress

  1. Jacqui Adams

    Hi Jay, I wonder if you can help me, I am creating some menus in Quark half in English half in Arabic, I’ve been supplied with a word document but when imported into Quark the arabic characters have changed from the original word file. Do you know how I can rectify this (I can’t read or write arabic so can’t input the text myself)
    Kind regards

  2. Jay Nelson

    Jacqui: I honestly don’t know, but perhaps you could contact the folks at Layout Ltd. They are experts in Arabic typesetting and publishing.

  3. Dear Jacqui,

    Hope you are doing fine.

    In order to write Arabic text or import Arabic Word document into QuarkXPress , you need to have the ArabicXT Xtension.

    With ArabicXT version 8, you can now take advantage of QuarkXPress 8 features:  
    – Publish in all right-to-left languages
    – Support all languages including European and East Asia languages
    – Modern Intuitive interface: Work 3 times faster and smarter
    – Publish globally: choose among dictionaries and hyphenation in more than 30 languages, open and print a QuarkXPress file created anywhere in the world, or under any previous version of QuarkXPress.
    – Full support of ArabicXT fonts as well as Arabic system fonts
    – Copy and paste Arabic text to and from other Arabic Unicode software
    – Create superb Arabic web-based and print-based designs
    – Efficient table creation support
    – Use JDF file based job tickets
    – Bundled with 46 high-quality Arabic Fonts
    Additional fonts libraries from Layout, including more than 150 Arabic fonts, may also be used.

    You can download the DEMO version of ArabicXT from the below link according to QuarkXPress version.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information:

  4. fez

    Hi. jacqui

    Its abit late but if ou havent done your menu yet maybe I can help you with the Arabic. Contact me. I have Arabic for Quark.

    fezfez123 {at}

  5. Hi Jacqui,

    Very late reply I know, but in case it helps in the future (or anyone else in the same circumstances).

    Arabic won’t work in a regular version of Quark (or non-Middle Eastern InDesign, if I dare mention that here). If you want to set it in Quark, you need the extension mentioned. You should also be aware of some fundamentals of Arabic typesetting: flipping pages to read right-to-left, ligatures, kashidas, hindi v arabic numerals, and so on. Searching online may help with some of these.

    The other solution is to get someone to do the Arabic typesetting for you and give you back outlined text (eg in an EPS). Again a search online will point you to the pros.

    Once you have the text working in a font that matches the English, it is important to remember that Arabic reads right to left. Depending on your layout, there are various cool ways to implement this (eg. you could have English items in a column down the left of the page, the Arabic equivalents down the right and the price in the middle).

  6. Shakeel Ahamed

    Dear Sir

    I think no need of any special Arabic font/software for DTP of Middle Eastern language in Quarkxpress v English. I am able to do DTP in any Unicode font (Arial unicode, arial, riwaj, adobe arabic…..) in Quarkxpress 7 & 8 (v English).

  7. Dear Shakeel Ahamed,

    Thank you for your reply. It is true that Quark 7 & 8 now support Unicode so individual characters of Arabic will display. However, in my experience, they appear in the wrong form (they all appear in the isolate form). Admitedly that’s from using Quark 7, I’m not so sure about Quark 8 but I haven’t read anything to suggest this has improved?

    It would be possible for an Arabic speaker to amend these characters to the correct form by hand, but it have to be done manually on a letter by letter basis. Also I think the word order would be incorrect. I believe there is no setting for right to left paragraphs in ordinary Quark, so would you have to type the words in reverse order?

    This is long and hard work for more than a few words, I think, meaning most people will prefer to use the specialised software (or get an expert Arabic typesetting service to do so).

  8. Steve

    I’ve designed a warning label in different languages. Copy and pasted my line of Arabic in. Applied Geeza and right aligned it and thought it was ok. But client not happy: letters not joined up properly or something? HELP! Do I need this ArabicXT just for one line???

  9. Hi Steve,

    As I understand it, yes. There’s a demo link above, although I’m not sure what restrictions it has.

    Or you could google some Arabic typesetters, and get them to outline the text and send it back to you as an EPS or something?

    I guess which option is better depends on how regular a job it is, and how much effort you want to put in :)

  10. Shakeel ahamed

    Dear Jon,

    No, not needed typing in reverse order. It is simple copy & paste text from other software into Quarkxpress.

  11. Dear Shakeel Ahamed,

    I tried this but couldn’t get it to work in Quark 7 on Mac or PC. I had a look at the support pages and forum, and in what I read Quark themselves seem to say even 8plus doesn’t support Arabic. So I am not sure how you are able to do this. You are definitely not using any extension (such as ArabicXT)? I would be very interested to know, although I have to admit I tend to do my Arabic Typesetting in another program entirely (*cough*) these days…

  12. kathryn

    I’ve tried copy and paste from MS Word but the letters, although in the right order, become separated when pasted in Quark v 8.

  13. Margaret

    Okay, this is the work-around I did for QuarkXPress and InDesign:

    How to layout right-to-left files in QuarkXPress.

    1. Open this file in Illustrator:
    You can find it here:
    Also for reference see:

    2. Open up your RtoL text in Text Editor (mac software). Note. On my Mac, I had to open my Arabic file in the Text editor as the text did not display in the RtoL direction in MSWord.
    3. Copy your text.
    4. Go to your Illustrator file: In the right-to-left text box paste your text. It should appear in the correct order.
    5. If your final document text is going to be about 12 point size, then make it 36 point in Illustrator.
    6. Once you have the text laid-out exactly how you want it, e.g. color, number of lines, centering, etc.), convert to outlines (Type:Create Outlines).
    7. Select the picture box, copy.
    8. Paste into InDesign (or even QuarkXPress).
    9. What you have is a picture file. That is why you made it bigger, while you were in InDesign–to have a higher resolution. Now you will shrink it down to the right size for your file. If you do this using exact percentages, then you can maintain the integrity of the text size throughout your document. To shrink it:
    a. In Quark, Item:Modify:Picture:Scale Across/Scale Down; I find 35 to 40% works good to go from 36 point to about a 12 point.
    b. In InDesign: Object:Transform:Scale

    For QuarkXPress, the cut and paste into Quark from Illustrator does not yield the best look. To get a better resolution, you have to create a separate eps file for each text section. To do this:
    1. Follow steps 1-5 above.
    2. Copy your RtoL text into a new Illustrator file.
    3. Once you complete the formatting on the text, save as an Illustrator EPS file.
    4. For version, select Illustrator 10 EPS. You will get a warning, but ignore it and click ok.
    5. In Quark, use File:Import to get your EPS file into your document.

  14. Hi
    You can download the uruk publisher 1.7.0 for Mac supports the Arabic language which similar QuarkXpress and inDesign.

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