In the last week, Apple has released a flurry of software updates, including updates to its iWork productivity software. While there are some who are unhappy with the changes, the good news is that Pages — Apple’s versatile word-processing application — now supports right-to-left and mixed direction text entry.
Previous versions of Pages would allow entry of Hebrew, but the cursor would remain at either end of the Hebrew text. Attempting to click into the middle of a Hebrew word would leave the cursor at the end of the word giving the user no idea that they were able to edit the word or what would happen when the next key was pressed. Now this has been fixed, and Pages (and presumable Numbers and Keynote) correctly inserts and edits Hebrew text.
The difference/improvement is easily illustrated in the following screenshots. First, Pages 4.3 (the previous version):
Here you can see the cursor to the left of the Hebrew text even though I had clicked into the middle of the Hebrew. Furthermore, Pages was clearly incapable of coping with the niqqud (the vowel points) which are pretty messed up.
Compare this with Pages 5.0:
The cursor is now correctly positioned in the middle of the Hebrew text, the niqqud are well placed.
For any existing Pages users, or for people purchasing a new Mac, the update is free.
In short, Pages has gone from useless for Hebrew to entirely usable. At last.