< Previous Chapter | Next Chapter >

409 Chapter 13. Understanding WorldScript

In this chapter, you’ll learn…

One of the greatest strengths of the Macintosh is its ability to work in many of the world’s languages, even those that don’t use a variant of the English alphabet. Nisus was the first word processor to fully support Apple’s WorldScript technology, and it remains the most powerful tool for multilingual word processing available on the Macintosh. If you only need to work in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, or any other languages that use the Roman alphabet, 410 you can skip this chapter altogether. However, if your needs extend to other languages, read on to discover how Nisus Writer uses WorldScript to work its multilingual magic.

Introducing WorldScript

We’ve already seen that Nisus Writer offers text-to-speech in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. You can also purchase dictionary modules (spelling dictionary, thesaurus, hyphenation file, and user dictionary) for any of these languages plus several others. All of these languages use essentially the same alphabet that English uses—often with the addition of diacriticals or other special characters—and can be typed using any standard English font. This class of languages is referred to as Roman, because they all rely on the Roman alphabet. But there are other languages that can’t be typed using the Roman alphabet. For example, Hebrew, Arabic, and Persian are typed right to left instead of left to right. And in Arabic and Persian the shape of each character changes depending on its location within the word. Then there are languages like Chinese and Japanese, with thousands of characters and multiple writing systems. Apple has accommodated these languages with a special part of System software called WorldScript.

WorldScript doesn’t give Nisus Writer the ability to translate from one language to another. You must already know how to read and write the language(s) you install.

WorldScript is a set of System extensions that enable your Mac to access the unique features of non-Roman languages. When you purchase a Language Kit from Apple (available in Arabic/Persian, Chinese, Cyrillic, Hebrew/Yiddish, Japanese, and soon in Korean), you’ll get not only the WorldScript extension itself, but a complete set of fonts, scripts, keyboard layouts, and control panels that enable you to work in the new language(s). (The same was true of Nisus Writer’s Language Extensions for Eastern European languages, which unfortunately the company no longer permitted to distribute due to distribution restrictions from Claris.) After installing the software, you’ll also notice a new menu on your menu bar—the Keyboard menu, which will appear either as a blue diamond (if you’ve installed an Asian language) or a flag. A pretty well-loaded Keyboard menu is found in Figure 13.1. This menu allows you to choose a keyboard layout or input method from any of the installed scripts. Because WorldScript contains so 411 many different pieces, let’s begin by learning some new vocabulary.

The really big news on the WorldScript front is that in Mac OS 9, all of the language kits are included on the CD-ROM with the OS—including the Eastern European one. So you no longer have to pay a fortune for additional software to use non-Roman languages.

Figure 13.1. The Keyboard menu, with many different languages installed. (Yours may be significantly shorter.) Notice that keyboard layouts and input methods are grouped by script.

The Keyboard menu only appears when you have at least one non-Roman script installed in your System—the mere presence of a WorldScript extension is not enough.

All scripts are either single-byte or double-byte. Single-byte scripts (such as Roman, Arabic, and Russian) are those that need no more than 256 characters, all of which can be accessed using a keyboard layout. Double-byte scripts (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) require more than 256 characters, and so use an input method for entering characters. Single-byte scripts rely on the WorldScript I extension, while double-byte scripts use WorldScript II.

Figure 13.2. The Font menu with quite a few different WorldScript languages installed.

The Language Key

With Nisus Writer 5, the Language Key is a thing of the past. Yay! You can now freely use Nisus Writer in any language without worrying about an annoying hardware dongle.

If you want Nisus Writer to work in any non-Roman language other than Japanese, then in addition to the proper Language Kit or Language Extensions, you’ll need a small device called a Language Key (often referred to as a “dongle”). The Language Key is available from Nisus Software 413 either bundled with Nisus Writer or separately for about $100. When plugged into one of your ADB ports, it “unlocks” the capability of using these languages; without it, you won’t be able to enter text in these languages and their font names will appear garbled on your Font menu.

I said it before, but it’s worth repeating; you do not need a Language Key for Japanese, but you do need Apple’s Japanese Language Kit.

414 The Language Key is a tiny device—less than two inches long—and once you plug it in, its operation is completely transparent. But be sure that your computer is turned off when you plug in the Language Key; if it’s on, Nisus Writer won’t recognize it until you restart, and more importantly, you risk damaging your ADB circuitry. On PowerBooks and other Macs with a Sleep command, you can plug in or unplug a Language Key while the computer is asleep. However, if Nisus Writer is running when you put your computer to sleep and you wake the computer up without the Language Key present, the program will most likely crash.

The Nisus Network Server

The Network Server, along with the Language Key, is now, happily, anachronistic.

Nisus Software offers a special version of the Language Key that supports multiple users over a network, without each user needing an individual Language Key. This special Language Key is used in conjunction with a tiny program called the Nisus Network Server, which can be configured to support various numbers of users ranging from 10 to 100. All you need to do is plug the Network Language Key into any computer on the network and run the Nisus Network Server program on that computer. When a user on the network launches Nisus Writer (which, by the way, must be installed—along with any needed WorldScript components—on each individual machine as usual), it checks to see if there’s a Language Key on the local computer. If not, it looks for the Nisus Network Server on the network. If it finds one, it finishes launching and the Network Server makes note of the fact that one more user is using the Language Key. When the total number of users reaches the number of licenses purchased, no one else on the network will be able to launch Nisus Writer until someone else quits (and a message to this effect will be displayed on their screen when they try to launch Nisus Writer).

Don’t try to launch Nisus Writer itself over a network (by double-clicking the Nisus Writer icon on a mounted network volume). The operation will be slow at best, and can be very unstable. And in any case, only one person will be able to use it at a time.

415 Working with WorldScript

Now that you’ve got your Language Kit installed and your Language Key plugged in, you can just choose a font from the Font menu and start typing. When you choose a font from a non-Roman script, the keyboard layout or input method automatically changes to match it. And if you’ve chosen a right-to-left font, the direction of text entry will automatically change as well. You can even use WorldScript fonts on the graphics layer. Here are some additional things you’ll want to take note of when writing in non-Roman scripts.

Don’t forget about your Key Caps desk accessory, which can show you which keys need to be pressed to produce a character in single-byte scripts.

If you do a lot of multi-script glossing, it’s a lot faster to display your clipboard, type the gloss directly onto it, and simply paste it into the Gloss dialog box.

Do not use ScriptExchange unless you really want to change your System script. You don’t need to use this program at all to access multiple scripts within Nisus Writer, and careless use could result in garbled file names and menu commands!

Figure 13.3. The Word Count dialog box with additional scripts installed.

417 WorldScript-Related Preferences

Depending on which WorldScript language components you have installed, you may have one or more of the following additional preferences available.

Figure 13.4. Editing Preferences with multiple scripts installed.

Figure 13.5. Finding Preferences with multiple scripts installed.

Figure 13.6. Asian Text Editing preferences.

Be sure to see Appendix D for useful WorldScript troubleshooting tips.

Special Notes by Script

Learning to type in another language can be a formidable task, and this chapter is in no way intended to substitute for the instructions that came with your Language Kit or Language Extensions. And in any case, Nisus Writer’s WorldScript features will make little sense to you if you don’t already know the language in question. So rather than going into excruciating detail about each writing system, I’ll outline some of the basics here and refer you to your Language Kit documentation for further details.

You can cycle through your scripts by pressing Command-Spacebar; to cycle through keyboard layouts (or input methods) within a script, use Command-Option-Spacebar.


While anyone can access all the characters in a Roman font using various key combinations, standard computer keyboards are laid out differently from country to country—generally making the characters that are used most often the ones that require the least typing effort. When installing System 7.5 or later, you can choose to do a custom installation that includes “international” keyboards. These are the layouts like British, Danish, and German which use the standard Roman alphabet but in a different arrangement than American English.

If you have a Dvorak keyboard layout (like MacQWERTY from Nisus Software), this will appear in your Keyboard menu along with the other Roman keyboards.

420 Eastern European

The Eastern European languages available (if you can find the necessary language kits) are Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Slovak. While all of these languages use alphabets based on the Roman alphabet, they also share a set of special characters that are not found in standard Roman Macintosh fonts; hence their separation into another script. If you do the custom International Keyboard installation with System 7.5 or higher, you’ll also get keyboard layouts that approximate each of these alphabets using a Roman font. Eastern European fonts have “CE” at the end of their names on the Font menu; they are based on the Roman fonts of the same names.

The “CE” referred to above stands for Central European. For some reason, though, Nisus always referred to them as Eastern European. You say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to…


Languages using some version of the Cyrillic alphabet include Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, and Ukrainian. Support for Cyrillic languages is provided by Apple’s Cyrillic Language Kit. A notable part of the package is the Russian Transliterated keyboard layout. Instead of assigning characters to keys based on the Russian typewriter/computer layout, the Russian Transliterated keyboard maps characters onto keys whose English characters sound similar. This can make typing a lot easier for someone familiar with the English keyboard but not with the Russian keyboard.

Right-to-Left Languages

In Arabic, Persian, and Hebrew, text flows from right to left rather than left to right. So when you choose a font (or keyboard layout) for one of these languages, each new character you type will appear to the left of the previous character. You can have an entire paragraph (or even a whole document) oriented right to left, or you can include right-to-left languages within left-to-right paragraphs. The change in direction has several important implications.

421 First, you can choose the overall direction for a paragraph using the directional arrow (Figure 13.7) on your Text Bar (available only if you have Arabic, Persian, or Hebrew installed). Each time you click this arrow, the direction of the paragraph reverses. When the arrow is pointing to the left, the paragraph direction is right-to-left, meaning that your line wrap indicators and tab stops will switch sides from their usual locations, and text will be justified by default on the right side. In addition, in a right-to-left paragraph, your insertion point will move leftward as you type. The rule of thumb is that if most or all of your paragraph is in a right-to-left language (with perhaps just a few Roman words), the direction should be right-to-left, and vice-versa.

Figure 13.7. The Text Bar showing the directional arrow.

When you have left-to-right and right-to-left text in the same paragraph, and the insertion point is at the boundary between the two scripts, it is not always obvious where text will appear when you start typing. You can glance at your Keyboard menu to see which script is active at the insertion point, and if necessary use the arrow keys to move the insertion point a hair in one direction or the other to change the script. Keep in mind that the arrow keys’ behavior is based on the overall direction of the paragraph. So if you’re moving the cursor through a left-to-right paragraph and encounter a Hebrew phrase, pressing the right arrow will move the insertion point left—that is, to a later point in the paragraph, since Hebrew reads from right to left.

When creating documents using right-to-left languages, you can choose to have pages and columns flow in the same direction as the text. To do this, choose Page Setup from the File menu (Figure 13.8) and click Right to Left. You may also want to adjust your footnote separator line so that it is right-justified. To do this, click Note Placement, then click Right under “Justification.” The justification setting for the footnote separator line applies to your entire document, 422 though you can make any individual footnote left-to-right or right-to-left.

Figure 13.8. The Page Setup dialog box when right-to-left languages are installed.

Don’t forget that in the Define Numbers dialog box, you can choose AbgadHawaz (Arabic script numerals) or Hebrew numerals if you have the appropriate Language Kit.

Arabic & Persian

Arabic and Persian (or Farsi) share the same script and the same basic alphabet and writing system, except that Persian includes some additional punctuation characters not found in Arabic. In both languages, any given character can have four possible shapes: one when the character appears at the beginning of a word, a second if used at the end of a word, a third if preceded and followed by another character, and a fourth if used all by itself. WorldScript can tell which shape is appropriate at any given point, and automatically updates the character shapes as you type.

When typing Arabic or Persian poetry, don’t forget about the Forced Justify tab (see Chapter 4).When this tab is used to spread out text to the end of a line, Nisus Writer automatically inserts extra Kashidas to extend each character’s width.

The Arabic and Persian fonts supplied in the Arabic Language Kit are a mixture of TrueType and PostScript varieties. If you have a PostScript printer, you should be able to print any of these fonts easily. However, on a QuickDraw printer, the PostScript fonts will not print correctly unless you install Adobe Type Manager (ATM).

423 Hebrew and Yiddish

Hebrew and Yiddish are also entered from right to left, but the character shape does not change as you type. (A few characters have special forms that occur only word-finally, but these must be typed manually.) The fonts supplied with the Hebrew Language Kit include vowel points (or nikudot), which are mapped to the number keys. To use them, press the Caps Lock key, type a letter, then press one of the number keys (see the keyboard diagrams that came with your Language Kit). Since the number keys are used for the nikudot, when you want to enter numerals, you must use the numeric keypad. If your keyboard doesn’t have a numeric keypad, use the Hebrew PowerBook (or Hebrew Portable) keyboard layout, which maps the numerals onto the number keys. Like the Cyrillic script, the Hebrew script includes a transliterated layout which assigns characters to keys based on sound.

Before the days of WorldScript, some applications used left-to-right fonts for Hebrew—in many cases, requiring that you type backwards! If you have text in such a font, the characters will be in the wrong order once they’re imported into a Nisus Writer document, since the program knows to orient Hebrew from right to left. If you encounter this situation, select the Hebrew text and choose esreveR from the Format submenu of the Style menu to rearrange the characters in the correct order. (You cannot use this command on selections that include a return.)

Even today, some vendors sell Hebrew fonts that do not follow Apple’s guidelines for WorldScript font design, and these will inevitably cause problems in Nisus Writer. Be sure to ask when purchasing a Hebrew font whether it is WorldScript-compatible.

Asian Languages

The Asian languages supported by WorldScript (Chinese, Korean, and Japanese) are all double-byte scripts, because they have many more than 256 possible characters. Accordingly, they rely on the WorldScript II extension and use input methods (rather than simple keyboard layouts) to enter text. Because of their size and complexity, these language kits require an enormous amount of disk space for installation, and also consume a fair quantity of RAM. When 424 you choose an Asian input method, a “pencil” menu (Figure 13.9) will appear on your menu bar, giving you access to additional options, controls, and/or input modes.

Figure 13.9. The “pencil” menu for Japanese.


Apple’s Chinese Language Kit contains the tools for both Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese input. You can choose to install either or both in your system. For Traditional Chinese, there are several optional input methods, but the basic technique is to type one syllable at a time phonetically, followed by a tone number (for instance, wa1). One possible representation of what you typed will appear on the screen. If it is not what you intended, you can press the spacebar to cycle to the next form. If even that is not correct, press the spacebar again to display a palette of choices (Figure 13.10). Then double-click the correct form to insert it into your document. For Simplified Chinese, you begin by entering Pinyin characters, then follow a similar procedure to convert them to Simplified Chinese characters.


Figure 13.10. Alternative character palette for Traditional Chinese.


Japanese uses an input method called Kotoeri, which encompasses Hiragana, Katakana, Romaji, and Kanji. The default way to enter text is to type in Hiragana (with characters mapped to equivalent-sounding keys), then press the spacebar to enter one possible Kanji representation. If the Kanji shown is the one you want, press the Return key to accept it. If not, press the spacebar again to cycle to the next alternative. If you press the spacebar a third time, a floating palette of Kanji alternatives is displayed (Figure 13.11); double-click to select the one you want.

Figure 13.11. Kanji alternatives offered when the user types in the Hiragana for “sake” (zake).

426 If you have the Japanese Language Kit installed, some additional commands will appear on the Convert submenu of the Edit menu. Katakana changes a Hiragana selection to Katakana. Hiragana changes a Katakana selection to Hiragana. 1-Byte changes a Katakana selection to 1-Byte. Roman converts a Hiragana or katakana selection to Roman. And 2-Byte changes a Roman selection to 2-Byte Roman.

When typing in Japanese, it is possible for a period which ends a sentence to appear at the beginning of a line. Since this is typographically incorrect, there are two mechanisms to compensate for this behavior. By default, the last character of the previous line is wrapped to the next line to go with the period (analogous to the way English is handled). However, you can opt, in such cases, to leave the period “dangling” in the margin at the end of the line on which it started. To do this, display the Editing Preferences dialog box and check Dangling Hyphenation.

Find/Replace with WorldScript

Some additional options will be available for Find & Replace, depending on which script(s) you have installed. For instance, the Wild Card menu will display options pertinent to whatever script you select within the Find/Replace dialog box. (The default is Roman when the dialog box is first opened.) Figure 13.12 shows the Wild Card menu as it appears with Hebrew as the active script. The Find/Replace menu itself (Figure 13.13) also has some additional options. The Find Script Sensitive command, when checked, will search for text only in the script actually used in the Find box. Also on the Find/Replace menu are commands to treat certain Arabic characters as equivalent for the purpose of searching. The same can be done for Hebrew, but in a slightly different way. When searching for Hebrew text, if Ignore Case is checked, the characters with special final 427 forms will be treated as equivalent to their medial forms. And Ignore Diacriticals, for Hebrew, will find all pointed and non-pointed varieties of the letters Sin/Shin, Lamed, and Vav. Finally, the Root of Word choice applies to both Arabic/Persian and Hebrew. If you type a triconsonantal root into the Find box with this option checked, it will match any word containing those three characters (or their final variants) in that order, even if other letters intervene!

Figure 13.12. The Wild Card menu as it appears when Hebrew is the active script in the Find/Replace window.

The last several options on the Find/Replace menu are duplicated in the Finding Preferences dialog box when these scripts are installed.

Figure 13.13. The Find/Replace menu when Arabic and Hebrew scripts are installed.

428 Summary

WorldScript is a truly powerful and elegant way to combine multiple languages in a single document. After reading this chapter, you may not know all there is to know about multilingual computing, but you should have a good feel for Nisus Writer’s implementation of this exciting technology. Once again, I refer you to your Language Kit documentation for more details on the input methods themselves. And thus ends the “Power Techniques” section. In the final section of this book, we look at some real-life projects that use Nisus Writer, and how you can put all the pieces together for a truly powerful document-processing experience.

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1999 by Joe Kissell

< Previous Chapter | Next Section >