January 25, 2008

Unicode Hebrew Coming to Word 2012!

Microsoft has shipped another version of Word for Mac that does not handle right-to-left unicode Hebrew. It really is sad, and makes it clear for the biblical scholarship community that we're finished with Microsoft Word.

Their support sight has a list of known issues with Word 2008.

It includes a note regarding: "Citations within footnotes do not update automatically," where static text gets use. This can't be helpful, though I'd expect this to be fixed in a future update.

But notice that r-t-l unicode is not on the known issues list. I think we can clearly expect that this will not be addressed in any update to 2008. The issues are with the text rendering engine itself and a conflict with how it would interact with objects... something beyond the scope of an update.

So, the final word on Word for Hebrew, it seems to me, is that the best we can hope for is that the next version of Word for Mac will have a new rendering engine.

Let's see... Word 2008 - Word 2004 = 4 years... hence, we very well may see r-t-l unicode in Microsoft Word 2012 for Mac. Isn't that reassuring?


R. Mansfield said...

From what I understand, RTL support would take an almost complete rewrite of MacWord. I've been using Mellel for my dissertation, but if it weren't for the shortcomings of MacWord, I'd prefer to use that.

Lots of folks are coming over to the Mac, and this is a problem for anyone in biblical studies. MacWord is not a solution, and Mellel has an initial learning curve on top of the learning curve people have with a new platform.

Joe Weaks said...

Exactly... if I were a Hebrew Bible person scholar primarily, I definitely think I would be switching to NeoOffice full-time. Mellel is still feature lacking, and Word now seems hopeless.
A friend just informed me his solution is that he does his work on Word for Windows on Parallels.