Find and Replace for the Arabic Script

Hello, this is Vyom Munshi from the Global Experience Platform team. This blog is the second part of the series of articles on Find and Replace feature.

As you work with Office files, you may want to use the Find and Replace feature. If you have Arabic, Dari, Pashto, Persian, Urdu, or Uyghur enabled as an Office editing language, as explained in “My Language Preferences: Office Editing Languages,” you will see some advanced settings that can help you. You can find these settings in the Find and Replace dialog by clicking the “More >>” button.

The “Find and Replace” dialog box is found in Word, Outlook Word Mail, InfoPath, PowerPoint, and Publisher.

How Do I Launch the “Find and Replace” Dialog Box?

In Word, click “Alt + H” to view the short cut keys, then type “F”, “D” and “A” or click on Find → Advanced Find on the Home tab of the Ribbon.

In Outlook Word Mail, click “Ctrl + F” or in the Format text tab of the Ribbon click on the Find button.

In InfoPath, PowerPoint and Publisher, click “Ctrl + F” or click on the Find button on the Home tab of the Ribbon.

Clicking on the “More>>” button shows the following options

Match Kashida

A kashida is a character elongation used in the Arabic script to increase the length of the line connecting characters (without affecting the sound or the meaning of the word) and is also used in text justification instead of white-space. More about kashidas may be found in the previous blog post, Bidirectional features in Microsoft Word.

The “Match Kashida” option in the “Find and Replace” dialog is used to ignore or consider kashidas when searching for text. For example, if “Match Kashida” was checked, then kashidas will not be ignored in your search or replacement. Hence, Find and Replace will only find words whose kashidas location and number exactly match those of the text typed in the “Find and Replace” dialog. On the other hand, if the “Match Kashida” option is unchecked, kashidas are simply ignored and words such as (???? and ??????????????) would be equivalent; searching for the first word would yield both versions.

However, searching with the second version (the one with the kashida) will only find the exact match and not the version without the kashida.

Match Diacritics

Diacritics are optionally used in the Arabic script to indicate short vowels or to change the consonant length. When used in a word, they can affect the pronunciation and meaning of the word.

The “Match Diacritics” option in the “Find and Replace” dialog is used to ignore or consider diacritics when searching for Arabic text. For example, if “Match Diacritics” is checked, then the found words will exactly match the search term, including all diacritics. For example, searching for (????) in the given text of (???? ????????? ????? ???? ????????????????? ????? ?????) will find (????), (?????????), (????) and (?????????????????).

On the other hand, if “Match Diacritics” is unchecked, then the diacritics will be ignored and will not be considered when matching words with searched text in the “Find and Replace” dialog.

Match Alef Hamza

Frequently in the Arabic script, the letter combination Alef with a Hamza (?) is written simply as an Alef without the Hamza (?) without affecting the meaning. If the “Match Alef Hamza” option is unchecked, then searching for (????) or (????) will find both (????) and (????).

Alternately, if “Match Alef Hamza” is checked, then the Alef and Alef Hamza characters must match that of the text used in the “Find and Replace” dialog; therefore, searching for (????) will not find (????).

Match Control Characters

This option allows you to exactly match special control characters, such as the right-to-left marks for Bidirectional languages. (The previous blog post, Bidirectional text embedding and override, provides more information about these characters and their possible use.)

This feature is available in Word, Outlook WordMail, and InfoPath. For InfoPath, the “Match Diacritics” option is not availble—as shown in the dialog below:


Thanks to Gwyneth Marshall and Zeeshan Furqan for their assistance with this article.

Comments (3)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Select all your content, then look in the lower-left corner of your Word window to find "Arabic (Saudi Arabia)".  Click that, then choose English (United States) instead.

  2. PES says:

    I have a Word 2010 document in English, where the document language is Arabic (Saudi Arabia) and the text is transposed. How can I change the language, so the text makes sense?

  3. H T Davies says:

    Is there a way to remove all diacritics from selected Arabic text?