Yes, you understood correctly. Right-to-left (RTL) typing, support of new languages, and adapted interfaces are coming to ONLYOFFICE solutions after years of work. Read below to learn more about our plans and how you can contribute.
RTL interface in DocSpace
We decided to start with our new solution, ONLYOFFICE DocSpace, to enable RTL interface options throughout our product range. In a nutshell, the design will emphasize the right side of the UI, with main controls and menus located at where users will point their eyes first when reading, thus making it easier to navigate and use.
The makeover will include not only translation of the platform to right-to-left languages, but also redesign of the whole interface:
- Text direction: the goal is to make the texts flow from right to left consistently throughout the interface, taking into account text alignment, positioning of elements, and handling of whitespace.
- Interface layout: Elements like menus, buttons, and navigation will be mirrored and repositioned appropriately to support the RTL reading direction.
- Typography: We will pay specific attention to the typography and font selection for RTL languages to improve readability.
- Alignment and spacing: Another goal is to adjust the alignment and spacing of elements to suit RTL reading direction and ensure that icons, graphics, and controls are properly positioned with correct padding, margins, and indents.
- Localization and Internationalization: RTL interfaces often require localization and internationalization support. Design the interface to be easily adaptable for different languages, including the ability to switch between LTR and RTL layouts based on the user’s language preferences.
RTL interface will bring ease not only to the speakers of RTL languages, but to everybody who prefers such a layout, greatly improving usability to multiple users.
We expect to release the first prototypes in the following months. We are eager to demonstrate the results to you as soon as possible and let you test the new interface to give us some initial feedback.
RTL support for typing
Support for RTL writing systems and ability to type from right to left is rightfully the most anticipated feature at the moment, and has been so for multiple years. This typing method commonly used in languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Urdu, and others. Having allocated the necessary resources and already released prerequisite functionality for such writing systems (ligatures, text clustering), we are approaching our final milestones in the introduction of RTL writing.
What makes RTL typing different from LTR typing:
- Direction: In RTL scripts, the text is written from right to left, meaning the starting point is the right side of the page, and the text progresses towards the left.
- Character Ordering: The characters within words are arranged from right to left, and the words themselves are placed in a right-to-left sequence.
- Ligatures and Contextual Forms: Many RTL scripts have specific rules for combining characters and ligatures that change based on their position within a word or their adjacent characters.
- Cursor Movement: In RTL typing, the cursor movement is also reversed. When editing or navigating text, the cursor moves from right to left. This means that the typical keyboard shortcuts for moving the cursor, such as Ctrl+Left Arrow or Home, would behave differently when working with RTL scripts.
- Bi-directional Text: Bi-directional (BiDi) text refers to the mix of RTL and LTR text within a document. In situations where both RTL and LTR scripts are present, it’s important to properly handle the bidirectional aspects of the text, ensuring that the different scripts are displayed and aligned correctly.
- Text Alignment: The alignment of text in RTL scripts is typically right-aligned rather than left-aligned as in LTR scripts. This means that the right edge of the text is aligned, creating a visually consistent appearance in the document.
We will make sure to alert those of you who use RTL in their work and personal documents when it is time to try the first prototypes of the new typing format. At the moment, you can already help us create a decent RTL interface for your language. Read below to learn how you can contribute.
Call for translators
Once again, we are calling for translators to help us localize ONLYOFFICE in their language and translate the documentation. With upcoming introduction of RTL interfaces, our priority is Arabic, however, we are open to all offers and will be glad to receive contributions for other available and not yet available languages.
If you have experience translating software interfaces, Arabic is your native language, and you speak fluent English, you are welcome to participate. To get on board and learn more about the rewards, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.