Adobe Flash CC 2014, No More Support for Arabic

May 26, 2015

Adobe is a leading company in the field of design and productivity software. Adobe products such as InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop support Arabic and all other Right-to-Left (RTL) languages. But products, like Adobe Flash, have the limitation of not supporting Arabic and RTL languages. For example, there are only a few attributes for text formatting. Arabic desktop publishers will use third party tools to place Arabic text inside Adobe Flash as images or outlined text as a work around.

Text Layout Framework and Arabic Support


Beginning with Flash Professional CS5, a new text engine called the Text Layout Framework (TLF) was added to Adobe Flash. TLF allowed greater control of text with a variety of text attributes not supported in the classic text field. Supporting RTL languages and bi-directional text was a brilliant and unprecedented step in Adobe Flash with TLF.


Below is a list of the enhancements TLF text provides:


  • You can put Right-to-Left text for Arabic and Hebrew scripts into Flash files.
  • You can put bi-directional text, where Right-to-Left text can contain elements of Left-to-Right text. This is important for embedding English words or Arabic numerals within Arabic/Hebrew text, for example.
  • Text can flow across multiple text containers. These containers are called threaded or linked text containers.
  • More character attributes, including leading, ligatures, highlight color, underline, strikethrough, case, digit case, and more.
  • More paragraph attributes, including multi-column support with gutter width, last line justification options, margins, indents, paragraph spacing, and container padding values.


GPI_Adobe Flash Arabic_2


  • Control of additional Asian text attributes, including Tate Chu Yoko, Mojikumi, Kinsoku Shori Type, and Leading model.
  • Other attributes such as 3D Rotation, Color Effects, and Blend Modes can be applied to TLF text without placing it in a movie clip symbol.

Critical Considerations


Although TLF text is the default text type in Flash Professional CS5, in Flash Pro CS5.5 and CS6, the default is the classic text, so you have to select the text type (Classic or TLF) from the Properties menu, as shown in the screenshot.


GPI_Adobe Flash Arabic_1


TLF text requires that ActionScript 3.0 and Flash Player 10 or higher are specified in the publish settings of your FLA file. So, if you have a FLA file with ActionScript 2.0 you won't be able to publish it with TLF text or your scripts will be disabled by enabling only ActionScript 3.0.


TLF supports only OpenType and TrueType fonts. Unlike Classic text, TLF text does not support PostScript Type 1 fonts.


You cannot make a layer mask for TLF text, instead you can create it with ActionScript 3.0.


With TLF text, you won't be able to preview the anti-aliasing effect until you publish the flash file to SWF.


You can create three types of text block with TLF text, depending on how you want the text to behave at runtime:


  • Read Only: when published as SWF file, the text cannot be selected or edited.
  • Selectable: when published as SWF file, the text is selectable and can be copied to the clipboard, but is not editable. This setting is the default for TLF text.
  • Editable: when published as SWF file, text is selectable and can be edited.

What's New in Adobe Flash Pro CC and CC 2014


According to Adobe, "(Flash Professional CC only) The Text Layout Framework is deprecated and the functionality will be unavailable with Flash Professional CC. If a FLA file containing TLF Text, previously saved with an older version of Flash Professional, is opened with Flash Pro CC, then TLF is converted to Classic Text."


This means that if you have a Flash file you created with Adobe Flash Pro 5, 5.5, or 6 that contained any Arabic, other RTL language, or bidirectional text, you won't be able to upgrade to CC or CC 2014. The content will be corrupted because Adobe Flash is no longer supporting Arabic.



While Adobe Flash users are not thrilled with the missing capabilities that were previously provided by TLF, Arabic users like myself would like to see Adobe's steps forward in supporting the Arabic language with TLF.


I will continue working in Adobe Flash CS6 for Arabic support and when I have to work in Flash files that are created with a more recent version, I will return to use third party tools to put Arabic text inside Flash.


GPI's Multilingual Desktop Publishing Services


Globalization Partners International provides many services with document translation and website translation that involve multilingual desktop publishing services. This list below highlights some of the more common products used in such projects:



Please feel free to contact GPI at with any questions about our language and technology services.  Also, let us know if you have any interesting blog topics you would like us to cover in our future blogs.  You may request a complimentary Translation Quote for your projects as well.

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  • Kitty MetronomeOn Jun 01, Kitty Metronome said:
    Beware of using the TLFTextField! In my experience, it's really slow if you have more than about 10 textfields on screen, and they leak memory like crazy. If your swf is meant to stay open for a while, and you create and delete textfields a lot, you'll run out of memory pretty quick. They're fine for banners and (maybe) animations, useless for games and RIAs.

    The alternatives:
    * Classic textfield with device font (works in CS5, not tested beyond that)
    * FlarabySWF (if you don't mind abiding by the Sharia license)
    * Layan's nifty solution: (seems to convert RTL to LTR)
  • Waleed EseilyOn Jun 02, Waleed Eseily said:
    Thank you Kitty for your great comments!

    You are right concerning RAM consumption, but this is still preferable because working in Adobe's tool without the use of any third party tools is always safer and saves much time.
    For (Layan's nifty solution) and (FlarabySWF), this is what I referred to at the conclusion as third party tools. Actually I prefer (Layan's nifty solution), the result is really good. However, the question still remains, what will Adobe do to equip Flash with support for Arabic and other RTL languages?

    I appreciate you passing by and your quite good comments!
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Waleed is a native Arabic speaker born in Menofeya (the northern part of the Nile Delta), Egypt. He is Adobe Certified Expert. He has over 13 years’ experience in multilingual design, desktop publishing and localization engineering. Over the years he has worked for localization and design companies verso and Future-Group working in the documentation desktop publishing and design departments. He also has comprehensive training and experience in many localization and CAT tools. He holds an array of professional certifications including, Adobe's ACE (Adobe Certified Expert), Adobe's Digital Imaging certification, CIW’s Certified Internet Webmaster and Programmer, IBM Web Programmer and Macromedia Designer and extensive application experience with the Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft products. He is a graduate from Menoufia University with a B.A in English Language and Literature. His hobbies include gardening, swimming and traveling.