[Bism Allah al-Rahman al-Rahim]


This site is now completely out of date. It may nevertheless prove useful for people who are still using old software in old computers. It contains some samples of Arabic html files which can be used for testing various Internet browsers. It also contains a sample of an ArabTeX file showing how Arabic poetry can be formatted in two columns. There is also information on using Arabic and Persian on a Linux box. Finally there is a link to my ftp site, which contains information on character sets and converting various Arabic and Persian code pages.


Arabic HTML files can be viewed in a number of ways:
With DOS and Lynx.
If you have a DOS Arabization program such as Sakhr or Microsoft's Arabic DOS installed in your computer simply log on to your remote Unix server and use Lynx as your browser. Whenever you encounter a file in Arabic load the Arabization program to read the file. You can then change the direction and alignment to right-to-left. Your Arabization program, of course, must include the code page needed for the file. Most Arabic html files are either in the ISO 8859-6 (ASMO 708) or Microsoft's 1256 code pages.
With MS Arabic Windows 3.x and Lynx.
If you have a terminal program that is Arabized by Arabic Windows, you can, as with DOS, log on to your remote Unix server and use Lynx as your browser. However, you will only be able to read Arabic files in the MS 1256 code page, and the files will be left-aligned instead of right-aligned.
With MS Arabic Windows 3.x and Netscape.
As with Arabic Windows and Lynx, you will only be able to read Arabic files in the MS 1256 code page. Moreover, the alignment of the Arabic will be left-to-right instead of right-to-left.
With Accent Software's Multilingual Mosaic and MS Windows.
Multilingual Mosaic has its own Arabic fonts, so you can use it to view Arabic html files even though you don't have Arabic Windows. Multilingual Mosaic lets you view Arabic files in either the ISO 8859-6 (ASMO 708) or MS 1256 code pages and automatically changes the direction and alignment to right-to-left. Information on Multilingual Mosaic may be obtained from http://www.accentsoft.com/.
With Alis Technologies' Tango and MS Arabic Windows 3.x.
Like Multilingual Mosaic Tango supports both the ISO 8859-6 and MS 1256 code pages and aligns Arabic text to the right. A free demonstration copy of Tango may be downloaded from http://www.alis.com/.
With Sakhr Software's Sindbad, Netscape and MS Windows 95.
A free copy of Sindbad may be downloaded from http://www.sakhr.com/.
With MS Internet Explorer 5 and MS Windows 95 or 98.
This is the best browser so far for Arabic and Persian and for that matter for many other languages as well. And it does not require Arabic Windows 95 or 98. It supports both ISO 8859-6 for Arabic and MS code page 1256 for both Arabic and Persian since 1256 has been extended to include the four Persian characters not used in Arabic. It does not support ISIRI 3342 for Persian, however.
To view Arabic and Persian web sites you must complete the following steps:
1. Open Internet Explorer and click on the "Tools" menu, then on "Internet Options". On the "General" page click on "Languages" and then add Arabic and Farsi. This will allow you to view Arabic and Persian web sites, but you will not be able to type in Arabic or Persian until you complete the next two steps.
2. Download the Arabic Language Support from the Microsoft web site. To do this click on the "Tools" menu again and then on "Windows Update". This will take you to Microsoft's Windows update site where you can download the Arabic Language Support software.
3. Then you must add Arabic to your keyboard configuration. From the desktop run Start --> Settings --> Control Panel --> Keyboard. Or you can click on "My Computer" on the desktop and then on "Control Panel" and then on "Keyboard". Click on the "Language" tab, then on the "Add" button and select Arabic. When you have done this you will be able to type in Arabic when using Arabic search engines and filling out forms.
I am indebted to Albrecht Hofheinz and Microsoft's Paul Nelson for explaining to me these procedures.
With a Macintosh.
Click here to see some messages that I received from Michael Fishbein with respect to reading Arabic html files on a Macintosh.
With AraMosaic and Unix.
AraMosaic is produced by Langbox International for the X Window System. It is available in Sun, SGI, and Linux versions and can be downloaded free from www.langbox.com/.
With PMosaic and Unix.
PMosaic was written by Anoosh Hosseini for viewing Persian web sites in the ISIRI 3342 code page. It is available from gpg.com/pmosaic/.
With Langbox's AraWebParse and Unix.
This is a web site that allows one to view Arabic texts with a browser that does not support Arabic. You will need Netscape 4.5 or higher. Simply go to: http://www.langbox.com/arabic/arawebparse.html and type in the URL of the web site you want to access.
With Acon for Linux and Lynx.
Acon is an Arabization program for Linux similar to MS Arabic DOS or Sakhr's Arabic DOS. It is available from http://members.tripod.com/ahmedahamid/. Lynx in combination with Acon can read files in both ISO 8859-6 and Microsoft's cp1256.

Here are some sample Arabic HTML files to test your browser on:

More Arabic texts may be found at Alexandre Khalil's Qalam web site.


In general Arabic or Persian text files on an FTP site can be viewed in the same ways as Arabic HTML files. In fact, if you have MS Arabic Windows installed on your computer, you can view Arabic files created on word processors from an FTP site. Such an FTP site can be linked to a WWW site.
Here is an example of an Arabic Write or WordPad file, Nizar Qabbani's Mata Yu`linun Wafat al-`Arab, the text of which is a .wri file on my ftp site. Your browser should automatically load Arabic Write or WordPad so that you can view the text. You should also be able to view a plain-text Arabic file.
With Internet Explorer 5 you can view a plain-text Arabic or Persian file even without Arabic Windows. Here is an example of a plain-text Arabic file, The Five Pillars of Islam, on my FTP site.


Klaus Lagally's ArabTeX is one of the best programs available for automatically formatting Arabic poetry in two columns. The program can be downloaded from:
ArabTeX is designed to work with Donald Knuth's TeX typesetting program, so you must install TeX before you can use ArabTeX. TeX is in the public domain and is available from:
ftp://tug2.cs.umb.edu/ (USA)
ftp://ftp.tex.ac.uk/ (UK)
ftp://ftp.dante.de/ (Germany)
It is advisable to consult with the humanities computing center on your campus regarding the various versions of TeX and how best to install it on your computer. Versions of TeX are available for DOS, Unix, and Macintoshes. Click here to see a sample of how Arabic poetry can be formatted using ArabTeX. Further information on ArabTeX can be found at the web site of Youssef Jabri: http://leb.net/ArabTeX/.


Most Linux distributions come with teTeX. The Unix version of ArabTeX works very well with teTeX. A Persian version of vim (vi improved) written by Mortaza Ghassab Shiran is available from www.vim.org. It has Arabic fonts for both the console and the X Window System and uses the ISIRI 3342 code page, which includes all the characters needed for Arabic, Persian and Ottoman Turkish. One can make an Arabic-script file in vim and then add ArabTeX markup language in English. The file can then be "texed" and viewed with xdvi and printed with dvips.

Ahmed Abdel-Hamid Mohamed has written an excellent Arabization program for Linux called Acon. It is similar to Microsoft's Arabic DOS or Sakhr's Arabic DOS and uses the ISO 8859-6 character set. It can be used in a number of editors and is available from http://members.tripod.com/ahmedahamid/.

For more information on Linux and Arabic see the web site of Anas Nashif: www.planux.com/linux/.


This site, ftp://ftp.u.washington.edu/public/heer, contains a number of directories. The /sed directory contains conversion tables for the various Arabic code pages for use with the stream editor, sed. The /atexts directory contains some Arabic texts in different code pages and formats. In the /charset directory are tables of some of the more commonly used Arabic and Persian code pages. Unfortunately this anonymous ftp site will cease to exist after June 2005. Consequently all the files there have now been copied to the /anonftp directory on this web site. They can be accessed with your browser by clicking here. The best browser to use seems to be linx with the -raw flag, but you can also use Internet Explorer, Netscape and Firefox and possibly other browsers that I have not tested. One inconvenience with browsers using http as opposed to ftp is that they have no "mget" command so you will only be able to download one file at a time.


Click here for a list of Internet sites dealing with Arabic and Persian computing. This list has not been revised for some time so don't be surprised if some of the links no longer work.


Nicholas Heer, Professor Emeritus
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization
University of Washington
Box 353120
Seattle, WA 98195-3120, USA
E-Mail: heer@u.washington.edu
WWW: http://faculty.washington.edu/heer/
FTP: ftp://ftp.u.washington.edu/public/heer

The Departmental web site is:

E-mail to the Department may be sent to:


Nicholas Heer
1821 Tenth Ave. E.
Seattle, WA 98102, USA
Tel: 206-325-0852


Click here to see a short vita.

Note: The calligraphy at the top of this page was produced with Thomas Milo's DecoType Professional Font Series (DTP Naskh).