How to set up Windows XP to display and input Arabic
Douglas E. Dyer, PhD
Display Arabic: In Windows XP, there are two settings you should make to correctly display Arabic. They are both in configured using the Control Panel, Regional and Language Options, which, when opened, looks like this:
Nothing on the first tab is relevant to displaying Arabic. Select the second tab, Languages, and check the box that says “Install files for complex script and right-to-left
languages (including Thai). As you can see below, I’ve already checked this box, and on my computer, the wording for the checkbox is grayed out---yours may be different.
When you click “OK,” your computer will ask you to insert the Windows XP CD-ROM
so that it can load the required files. After loading, you will need to reboot.
After rebooting, you just need to do one more thing to be able to display Arabic files in alternative, non-Unicode encodings (these are still very common). In Control Panel, start Regional and Language Options again, then select the Advanced tab. In the “Language for non-Unicode programs” frame at the top, there is a drop-down list box which
probably says something like “English (United States).” You should select “Arabic (Iraq)” instead. When you click “OK,” Windows will ask if you want to use files already installed (Yes), then you have to reboot your computer.
After reboot, you should be able to view Arabic files in Microsoft Office applications and in NotePad.
Input Arabic: You may only need to display Arabic, but if you know Arabic, you may want to be able to enter information in Arabic. If you wish to type in Arabic, you need to add the Arabic (Iraq) keyboard. Adding a keyboard allows you to switch back and forth between entering Roman and Arabic characters. To add a keyboard, select the Languages tab form the Regional and Language Options dialog box (in Control Panel), then press “Details” in the “Text services and input languages” frame to bring up the “Text Services and Input Languages” dialog box. Press “Add…” to add a keyboard, and select “Arabic (Iraq)”. You can choose which keyboard is the default when starting your computer. Press OK, and follow any additional instructions.