A Modern Day Chanukah Miracle. Right to Left Language Features Come to Life in InDesign CS4!
For anyone that's tried to set Hebrew, Arabic, or any other middle eastern language in InDesign, there have been very limited choices. Among them is to buy the middle eastern version InDesign which is developed and sold by Winsoft under license from Adobe. Other choices are to set the type in Word, create a PDF and place that or to set the type backwards.
If you do this all the time, buying the ME version is a no-brainer, but if you get right to left (RTL) text to set only occasionally and don't need or want the full blown ME version, you're left with the very clunky workarounds...until now that is.
With InDesign CS4, Adobe has added the World-Ready Composer which as the name implies supports these RTL language. There's a catch, though. The features are buried and inaccessible via the user interface. Only through scripting can they be used. So it was really just a matter of time until someone came up with solution.
It may not be as impressive as one day of oil burning for eight nights but lo and behold...two products revealed in one day.
The first is a Windows-only script written by Steven Bryant called idRTL. It adds a middle eastern panel to InDesign to access the RTL features. The cost is $20.00. Further information is available here.
The other option is a cross platform plugin from In-Tools call World Tools. A bit pricier at $149 (intro price is $99 until January 31) but a bit more feature rich, a 20-day demo is available from here.
It's important to note that both authors state these products are in no way intended to replace the ME version of InDesign but are for the user who need ME features once in a while.
Last but not least, I'm told that any RTL work you do using them will be retained if you open the file with a copy of InDesign that doesn't have them installed.