This template provides helpful hints on use of right-to-left (RTL) scripts in Microsoft Word along with some macros designed to deal with various RTL-related issues. Included are general instructions for getting RTL scripts to work, known bugs and weaknesses, how Word handles Arabic digits, and some macros to work around digit display problems.

Although written primarily for users of Arabic Based Scripts (ABS), users of other RTL scripts such as Hebrew will find the material helpful.

System requirements

This template requires Microsoft Word 2000 or later for Windows. These macros do not work on Word 97 for Windows or, as far as we know, on Word for the Macintosh.

Installation and use

The macros and documentation are supplied in a single a Word template file packaged in a .ZIP archive. After unpacking the archive, the easiest way to use the template is to copy it into the Office Startup folder. Any template that is located in the Office Startup folder is treated as a Word “add-in”, and macros and toolbars in such a template are always available, just as those in the Normal template.

In modern installations the folder is typically %appdata%\Microsoft\Word\STARTUP. In older installations the path to this folder might be something like C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Word\Startup or C:\Documents and Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Word\Startup.

One easy way to effect this kind of install, and always get it into the correct folder, is to:

  • Open any Word document, even a blank one will do.
  • Click File / Options / Advanced
  • Click File Locations (near the bottom of the long list of options in that dialog)
  • Select Startup and click Modify. You’ll see a dialog that permits you to browse for the startup folder, and it will be initialized to the current Startup folder. (NB: Do not actually change this setting. Note that when you get done with the next step you should press Cancel so the setting isn’t changed.)
  • From Windows Explorer, simply drag the ABS Macros .dotm file onto the center of the dialog and drop it. Nothing will appear in the dialog, but you will have moved (or copied) the file to the correct directory. Now Cancel the dialogs and restart Word.

If you’ve installed it properly, the ABS Macros toolbar should be visible in the ADD-INS ribbon:

ABSmacros Toolbar

Start by clicking the ? button at the end of the toolbar.


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ABS Macros Template 1.11 ZIP | 169.9 KB | 5 Dec 2016

User license, distribution & copyright

Copyright © 2000, 2016 SIL International

This software is released under the MIT License (MIT).

Technical Support

If you encounter problems or want to suggest improvements, please contact the author or SIL.

As distributed by the SIL, these macros are free of any virus or other harmful code. SIL International makes no guarantee that copies of these macros that have been redistributed by other parties are similarly free of viruses or other harmful code.