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Chapter 16. Visual Formatting and Detail... > direction and unicode-bidi Propertie...

16.4. direction and unicode-bidi Properties

There are many languages that read from right-to-left, such as Arabic and Hebrew, instead of the left-to-right typical of European languages. When characters from both types of writing systems are present in a single document, it is known as bidirectional text: some text is to be read in one direction, and some in the other. The direction and unicode-bidi properties are designed to help Web authors render this type of display onscreen.

The direction property has three values: ltr (“left-to-right”), rtl (“right-to-left”) and inherit. In essence, this property is used to flip around the way the text should be displayed. This does not mean that if you took the English proper name “Keith Schengili-Roberts” and used the rtl value on it, it would come out as “streboR-ilignehcS htieK”. Instead, it tells the browser which way the text is supposed to flow on the page, and whether it should begin from the left side of the browser window or from the right — the ordering of the individual letters or other characters is not affected. The direction property was designed for use with the unicode-bidi property, helping to set the direction for the text display of other languages.


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