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InDesign CS4’s Hidden World-Ready Composer

Thomas Phinney, Adobe’s recently-departed font guru, has written a fascinating posting about the hidden language features found in the CS4 versions of InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. These features make use of the World-Ready Composer, an alternate composition engine which enables support for complex script languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, Thai, and the Indic languages.

If this sounds familiar, that’s because Bob Levine wrote a posting about this on in December 2008. He described a Windows-only plug-in which allows access to the right-to-left (RTL) features of InDesign CS4, and a cross-platform plug-in which does similar things.

But Thomas’ posting on his personal website gives much more information about the World-Ready Composer. Here are a couple excerpts.

He reveals the reason we don’t see the World-Ready Composer when we open InDesign:

…the World-Ready Composer was not fully tested and debugged, and hyphenation dictionaries and spell checkers aren’t available for the extra languages. Therefore, the World-Ready Composer is neither documented nor officially supported by Adobe in CS4, and no user interface was provided for the added features in the apps (like selecting the composer, or choosing right-to-left text). Although many people assume this work will be finished in CS5, the last time I checked Adobe was making no promises as to when these capabilities will be finished and formally released.

He tells of some of the things you can do with it, even without a user interface:

  • In CS4 applications, one can now open and print Hebrew and Arabic documents created with Winsoft’s ME versions of the Adobe applications.
  • If one opens a document that has text frames, paragraphs, and/or styles which use the World-Ready Composer, one can then copy and paste those into another document, or delete other content and use the original document as the basis of something else, thereby gaining access to the World-Ready Composer.
  • If right-to-left text direction is part of the formatting of the frame/paragraph/style, it comes along for the ride.
  • In InDesign CS4, all these features are accessible to scripting, and the scripting interface is documented! These features are also open to plug-ins. This decision by the InDesign team opened the way for third-party developers to make scripts and plug-ins to ease access to the added functionality. See below for more details on both.

He also provides some templates and scripts not previously available, and describes other plug-ins and scripts for working with these new features.

This is all very exciting stuff, and anyone who has need for languages beyond those we see in the list in the Language menu on the Control panel should check this out.

Steve Werner

Steve Werner

Steve Werner is a trainer, consultant, and co-author (with David Blatner and Christopher Smith) of InDesign for QuarkXPress Users and Moving to InDesign. He has worked in the graphic arts industry for more than 20 years and was the training manager for ten years at Rapid Lasergraphics. He has taught computer graphics classes since 1988.
Steve Werner

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13 Comments on “InDesign CS4’s Hidden World-Ready Composer

  1. Hi Steve

    Thank for yor post, but I,d rather work with ID4 ME version by Adobe, because I think ME version works better than World-Ready Composer.
    Before your post I red about this plugin by Help and guide,s David Blatner.

  2. @Masoud: World-Ready Composer (WRC) is actually what’s at the base of the “true ME” version.
    In legacy versions, it replaced the original Adobe Composer in the official ME version (released by WinSoft), while starting from CS4, it’s delivered, although hidden as steve mentioned, alongside the Adobe Composer in the non-ME version, and will only come alive when you open a document that was composed by ME or ME wannabe versions (where legacy non-ME versions usually popped-up the missing PIs question).
    Unlike the ME, WRC in non-ME will not give you all the comfort and control needed to actually work in a full ME compatible environment as the true ME version allows (create a new RTL document, set RTL paragraph and frame direction, control the character direction, use localized numbering options, etc.). It’s actually an “All Features Included” with zero control over them.
    The PIs mentioned in Bob’s posting takes advantage of the hidden WRC, and offer a chipper (and to my humble opinion not so elegant) solution for reaching in there and controlling its features.
    What you must bear in mind is that some ME issues that are not handled correctly by WRC under the non-ME version, were fixed by WinSoft for the ME version, making in much more stable and efficient for your ME needs.

  3. The best news I can see from this is the ability to hand off CS4-ME files to clients with vanilla (U.S.) InDesign CS4 for printing. This beats the heck out of outlining fonts, and risking missing a text block or an underscore that has to be recreated by hand. In a perfect world, everyone would accept a PDF, but there are still a lot of clients who want an “outlined file.”

  4. Yes, I have downloaded the Word-Ready plug-in and tried it for Hindi. It works perfectly for Hindi.

    I have tried it only for Indesign, not for PhotoShop and other software of CS4.

    Even after the evaluation period of 30 days is over, the Indesign files I created in Hindi using the Word Ready composer continue to work fine and I am able to generate new Hindi documents in Indesign using them as a template.

    I am keenly awaiting the launch of cs5 which I hope will have the Hindi user interfaces in place and will support Hindi natively.

  5. Hello Mr. Balasubramaniam Lakshminarayan

    Yes, I am typing of hindi language in unicode font in Adobe InDesign CS4 English edition without any extra plugins

  6. Hello Mr. Lakshinarayan,

    I am using a third party plugin IndicPlus in InDesign for Indic and Arabic Scripts, it’s very cheap only 25 USD. The best part is that they have numbering styles for all Indian Languages and there support staff is also very co-operative, eager to add more functionality based on feedback.

  7. Hello Shakeel,

    Can we type Hindi Unicode or other Indic unicode in InDesign without any plug-ins?

    If so, then please tell me the InDesign version?

    Thanks, Amit

  8. I would strongly recommend the IndicPlus plug-in from MetaDesign Solutions for the usage of Indic and other Asian fonts. It supports both Windows and Macintosh. Also it supports all InDesign versions – CS2, CS3 and CS4. The best part is they have a 30 days trial offer as well.

    I also found useful their SpellPlus plug-in. It’s support for adding spelling check feature for multiple languages is simply awesome.

    OMG, I must join the marketing team of MetaDesign Solutions. lol

  9. Hi

    The complex script support is still missing in the InDesign CS5 suite. Thankfully, MetaDesign Solutions have developed IndicPlus for InDesign CS5 as well.

    IndicPlus have proved a life savor for my various InDesign projects involoving Arabic in InDesign, along with other complex scripts that my company deals with.


  10. Hi

    I have a problem with typing Farsi in multi column.
    when I type Farsi in one column, the paragraph begins from the right side. but in multi column it begins from the left column.

    I would be appreciated if you help me

  11. Dear Farshid,

    I would like to suggest you to try IndicPlus which is now 7 days fully functional free trial and checkout for the results.
    You can get the detailed info here:

    @RC: Thank buddy, i am happy to see that you are very much satisfied with the performance of IndicPlus and our other products.
    Your satisfaction is actually an achievement for us.

    Thank you all you buddies for using our products and sharing your experience and promoting it.

    if you have any queries then please feel free to contact or

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