View Full Version : Hebrew into InDesign (CS 5.5)

12-22-2013, 04:00 PM
PageMaker was my preferred application for years for publications containing Hebrew, partly because its Build Booklet utility kept pages intact, moving whole text boxes and graphics exactly as they stood. In contrast, Microsoft Publisher created the booklet during printing, and reflowed text with no regard for its direction.

Microsoft applications have grown smarter about right-to-left text, and pasting Hebrew text from DavkaWriter, a Hebrew-English word processor, works pretty well. However, for the book I described in another thread, I wanted to work in InDesign.

The general routine for placing Hebrew in a publication that is mostly not in Hebrew is to set it in DavkaWriter, preferably on a measure just slightly less than the final measure so that word wrap isn't even necessary, then copy and paste. DavkaWriter has a "copying is for" setting where you choose Hebrew app, English app, or Unicode. In the destination app, you reselect the Hebrew font and usually it is OK even if the alignment (vocalized Hebrew requires superimposing glyphs) isn't quite perfect.

Doesn't work in ID CS 5.5, not with "copying is for" English, Hebrew, or Unicode, and although selecting the correct font makes the text recognizable, some bits end up missing.

Davka Corporation online help is gornisht helfen, if I may be allowed Yiddish. InDesign help contained some useful information, and I got more from a Google search.

The two most useful articles were by people whose names are familiar: David Blatner (http://indesignsecrets.com/typesetting-hebrew-and-other-languages-in-english-indesign.php/comment-page-1) and Thomas Phinney (http://www.thomasphinney.com/2009/01/adobe-world-ready-composer/).

From the former, I learned that the best way is to export the DavkaWriter file as HTML, open that in a browser, and copy from the browser window. It appears that DavkaWriter's Unicode copy is faulty, but its export to HTML produces perfect Unicode. After pasting into ID, one applies any Unicode Hebrew font. Adobe Hebrew, installed with ID, works; so does the free Ezra SIL. Davka provides three Unicode Hebrew fonts that work, but they are less suitable for my design, so I'm using Adobe Hebrew.

From the latter, I learned that ID has had a World-Ready Composer--for "complex scripts"--hidden in it since CS 4, but with no access through the user interface. (I gather that it's visible in CS 6, which won't be in my armory for a while yet.) Thomas recommended free scripts (http://www.thomasphinney.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/r2l_scripts_for_id_cs4.zip)that work very nicely to turn on the World-Ready Composer, create a Hebrew or Arabic paragraph style, and reverse the direction of selected text. The scripts were written for CS 4 but work in CS 5.5, either Win or Mac.

Text handled this way requires proofreading, because the version of the WR Composer in CS 4-5.5 misplaces some punctuation, which has to be moved manually.

For a project that is predominantly in a Latin-based language, this is a lot more cost-effective than either the Middle East version of ID, or commercial add-ons to the US version (which I haven't tried).

12-23-2013, 10:56 AM
Thanks for that info--not that I'll ever likely to be typesetting Hebrew but...it's interesting...'-}}


12-23-2013, 04:51 PM
Thanks. I may well have a need for these tips.

Gerry Kowarsky
12-24-2013, 01:19 PM
Thanks for a very interest post, Paul.

02-06-2014, 02:07 PM
Here's a sample spread from the book. In real life the book will be Hebrew-opening (spine on the right) and the pages will be swapped. That is, the page with the photo will be on the left half of the spread.

The Hebrew typeface is Adobe Hebrew (http://store1.adobe.com/cfusion/store/html/index.cfm?event=displayFontPackage&code=1742); the Latin typeface is Maiandra GD (http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/galapagos/maiandra/). I knew that Maiandra had been designed by Dennis Pasternak for the Galápagos Design Group, but I didn't know until just now that it was based on hand-lettering by Oswald Cooper.

02-06-2014, 03:35 PM
That looks really nice...'-}}


02-07-2014, 06:31 AM
Terrie, the book has 17 color illustrations among 34 pages, so an average of one per spread (some spreads have too much text for a photo, but others have a photo on each page).

A peculiarity of CreateSpace printing is that it costs no more to use many color photos inside the book than only one, and no more to use process color than spot color. However, there will also be a b/w edition for quantity purchasers that need a lower price.

02-07-2014, 11:48 AM
paul: CreateSpace printing is that it costs no more to use many color photos inside the book than only oneThat's a nice perk...


02-07-2014, 08:42 PM
Thanks for sharing. We sang that song before dinner just a couple of hours ago. I have not tried to work with Hebrew in ID, but I certainly might need the ability.

Gerry Kowarsky
02-08-2014, 05:28 AM
Looks very nice, Paul!