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Chapter 11. Text Property Extensions > writing-mode Property

11.3. writing-mode Property

The writing-mode property was first introduced in a beta version of Internet Explorer 5.5, and has since become the favored way for handling the flow of non-Western character sets on a Web page. This is due to the fact that an expanded version of the writing-mode property has been incorporated into the CSS3 specification, and clearly sets the way in which text layout for different language sets is going to be accomplished in future standards-compatible browsers.

Like the layout-flow property, at the moment writing-mode has two working values which equate roughly with the text layout styles for Western and Asian languages. The default value is lr-tb, which stands for left-to-right, top-to-bottom, and equates with Western styles of text layout. The other value is tb-rl, which stands for top-to-bottom, right-to-left, which is the setting to be used for Asian languages. At first, this wouldn't seem to be radically different from the layout-flow property, and in fact, it isn't — the two properties are functionally equivalent. Like layout-flow, writing-mode does not rotate English or other Western letters back to their proper orientation automatically, a point which is illustrated in Figure 11-3, which compares equivalent code for layout-flow against writing-mode, as depicted in Listing 11.3.


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