August 03, 2010

Still No Hebrew for Word 2011

The chatter has increased day by day as the MacBU got closer to releasing detail on Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac. We hear officially this morning that there is no support for right-to-left Unicode languages (Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic). This is disappointing, and was my suspicion. Here is what they say:

With each version of Office for Mac we have to prioritize updates.  While we will be adding new language support there will not be full right-to-left support for languages such as Arabic and Hebrew. 
Office 2011 relies on the Apple Type Services for Unicode Imaging (ATSUI) as the set of services for rendering Unicode. Due to technology restraints on the text input tools, Office for Mac’s Unicode support doesn’t include languages such as Hebrew and Arabic.
We understand support for RTL languages is needed and it is something we have on our priority list. However, at this time, we don’t have any updates on timing. 

One bit of it is hogwash. It relates to the fact that they indeed did not rebuild Office using Cocoa. 
And as it stands now, there may be a silver lining. There was some previous success in pasting in, though not editing Unicode Hebrew into the last iteration of Word. From some beta testers I have spoken with, it appears that if one is working from a document created in another application that does have right-to-left Unicode that you can have more success. 
One tester responds with this tweet:

Yes I did, when I edit an Arabic file it works perfect, but it doesn't if I create a new doc!

And another stated this way:
About Arabic support in MS office 2011 Beta 5 for Mac: 1-Word:YES if you open an Arabic doc 2-Excel:NO AT ALL 3-Power Point:YES PERFECT
The big disappointment is that Hebrew is not supported. However, we will begin to get more information on just what is possible. Microsoft's troubles will only increase as they continue to neglect this problem.


Harry Hoffner said...

Thanks for this report, Joe. Looks like I will not be updating to MS Office for Mac for the first time since version 1. Microsoft seems unaware of how important RTL is for their customers. Or--more likely--they just don't care.

Khaled A. said...

Microsoft always had "excuses" since 2001, The Register did cover it fully back then:

Anonymous said...

Microsoft is just looking for excuses! How all other applications work perfectly with Arabic? Even Photoshop do.

Supporting Arabic and Hebrew was more important than the Ribbon in my opinion.