World Tools is an InDesign plug-in for CS4 and later created to allow designers using InDesign to work on right-to-left languages and writing scripts – especially Arabic and Hebrew.
The CS5 and CS5.5 and CS6 versions of World Tools improves upon the success of World Tools in CS4, and we offer a panel as well as much tighter integration into the standard InDesign dialogs.
If you need to compose Chinese, Japanese or Korean text as well as right-to-left text, World Tools Pro is probably more suited to your needs.
Some advantages of World Tools over the ME version of InDesign are:
- Price – you don’t need to buy a whole new program just for right-to-left or CJK composition.
- Timely updates – historically, the ME updates took much longer to be released than the regular ones. For example: at the time World Tools was released for CS5, the current CS4 ME version was 6.0.2, while the US version was updated to 6.0.5. There were quite a few bug fixes since version 6.0.2 that ME users were not able to benefit from. There is no reason to assume the situation will be any better for CS5.
- Use of right-to-left functions in the CJK versions of InDesign – The ME versions and CJK versions of InDesign are mutually exclusive.
- Localized interfaces – World Tools can be used with any version of InDesign – no matter what the language of the user interface might be. The ME version only has English (IE), French, Hebrew, and Arabic interfaces.
- Additional Functionality – World Tools also includes the following functionality not present in InDesign: Spread Numbering, a function to straighten existing quotes, and the ability to intelligently apply character styles to texts of different languages.
Prior to InDesign CS4, the only way to work with documents which contain right-to-left components (which are necessary for Arabic or Hebrew composition) was by using the ME (Middle Eastern) version of InDesign. With CS4, this has all changed. Adobe has included an additional composer called the World-Ready Composer which is capable of composing right-to-left languages. The World-Ready Composer also has the added capability of composing Indic languages.
Under the hood, all of the functionality of the ME version of InDesign is there in every version of InDesign CS4 and CS5. Adobe has decided to keep this functionality hidden. The ME capabilities are only apparent when one tries to open ME documents (they open almost flawlessly in CS4 and CS5). The composer which is enabled by default is the regular composer used in previous versions of InDesign which does not support right-to-left text.
CJK features have been dormant in InDesign for quite a few versions already. However, until today, the only way to actually control those features was to purchase a dedicated Chinese, Japanese, or Korean version of InDesign with a localized interface. There is a separate composer called the “J” (Japanese) composer which has the features necessary to properly compose those languages. This includes features such as character rotation, special spacing settings, Ruby and Kenten adornments, etc.
Three Different Composers
This adds up to three separate composers which can be used in InDesign. Unfortunately, each composer has its place, and each paragraph can be composed by only one of these composers. The Roman composer can not compose any complex scripts. The World Ready Composer can not properly compose CJK languages, but it can properly compose Indic languages. The Japanese Composer can not properly compose right-to-left or Indic languages. This means, it is not possible to properly compose a single paragraph which contains scripts with different requirement such as Arabic and Japanese.
To compound this issue, there is no single version of InDesign which exposes all three composers. The standard versions of InDesign only expose the Roman Composer. The CJK versions expose the Roman and Japanese composers, but not the World Ready Composer. The ME version exposes the Roman and World Ready composers, but not the Japanese one.
The World Tools Solution
World Tools was created to exposed this dormant capability within CS4 and later. It enables the World-Ready Composer and provides a user interface to be able to use it. It was created to enable all users of InDesign to edit documents with Arabic, Hebrew, and Indic text. All right-to-left features are available within the paragraph style, character style, and find/change dialogs. Additionally there is a new World Tools panel for easy access to right-to-left features.
World Tools Pro (CS5 and later only) completes this picture with CJK support including exposing the Japanese composer and providing a user interface to control its features.
Documents created using World Tools will open correctly even on installations without the plugin.
What World Tools is NOT!
World Tools is not a full replacement for the ME version of InDesign. Likewise, World Tools Pro is not a full replacement for the CJK version of InDesign. There are a few reasons why one might want or need to purchase the ME or CJK version of InDesign.
- The World Ready Composer in CS4 is pretty good. The one in CS5 is even better. But there might be bugs in the composer which the ME version addresses. We will address bugs in the user interface to the best of our ability, but any bugs in the underlying technology, are beyond out abilities to address. There is no guarantee by Adobe that they will even attempt to fix ME related bugs in incremental updates of CS4 and CS5. (On the other hand, there is no guarantees that Winsoft will fix them either.) This being said, we would like to receive any information on ME related bugs, so we can try to analyze them and alert Adobe of their existence.
- There are differences between the interface of World Tools and that of the ME version. We have made World Tools much more integrated in CS5, but the right-to-left functionality is only integrated into dialogs – not panels. There is however a separate World Tools panel which has all the right-to-left functionality in one convenient place.
- In the Story Editor, right to left text is only displayed correctly in the ME version.
- World Tools only provides a solution for InDesign. If you need control of right-to-left text in Photoshop, Illustrator, or Dreamweaver, it might be financially advisable to buy the ME version of the Creative Suite
- World Tools Pro does not offer control over every feature offered by the Japanese Composer. The CJK versions have some very complex dialogs for controlling certain features. We left out some of this complexity which we believe to be unnecessary and confusing. We consulted with experts who gave us their opinions on which features are needed. We believe the features we included are those needed by the vast majority of users. If you feel we left out a feature which is important, please let us know!