Arabic opentype font rendering in Mac OSX

ycherem's picture

I recently got a Mac, and I'm having trouble rendering opentype Arabic fonts. Apple native fonts render OK, and I can write Arabic with Pages, for example. But I can't use opentype Arabic fonts, there are no ligatures. So, SIL's Scheherazade AAT font works, but the Opentype version does not.

And Arabic opentype fonts either render clumsily in PDF in the native PDF viewer (generated with Xelatex). The same pdf shows OK when using some external PDF viewer (such as Texworks). (See the two attachments). I don't know about Adobe Reader, I thought about installing it to see if it could make a difference, but deemed it too bloated (400mb + just for a PDF reader), and I don't even know if it will make a difference.

I installed the most recent updates, I'm afraid there was some bug with Opentype fonts and PDFs in Leopard, but other opentype fonts are OK.

riccard0's picture

Maybe you can obtain better answers here:

ycherem's picture

No success there.

Tom Gewecke's picture

OS X has always required AAT fonts for complex scripts like Arabic, Devanagari, etc. There are exceptions however. For example, the app TextEdit should display Arabic OpenType fonts correctly, and the app Mellel uses its own text engine specifically designed to do the same (but it cannot do Devanagari).

Pages and all iWork apps and iWeb have various other bugs that make them generally unsuitable for RTL scripts even with AAT fonts. MS Word for Mac OS X has also never supported Arabic with any kind of font. Adobe apps should be the ME version to work properly. Recommended apps for Arabic are Mellel (easily the best), TextEdit, Nisus Writer, or Open/Neo/LibreOffice.

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