Looking for how to add Arabic, Persian (or any other language) to your Mac? This post describes how to switch the keyboard layout on your Mac computer.

Activating a Keyboard Layout on Mac:

1. Login to your account. Click on the Apple icon on the toolbar. Choose System Preferences in the Apple menu.

Login to your account-Arabic Mac

2. Select Language and Text.

Select Language and Text-Arabic Mac

3. In Language and Text click on Input Sources.

In Language and Text click on Input Sources-Arabic Mac

4. By default US English is selected. From the list choose the languages you need.

Choose the languages-Arabic Mac

5. A US flag appears in the top-right side of the screen. If you click on it you can see the new languages you activated. You can switch to any language by choosing it from the keyboard layout menu, regardless of what software you are using.

Switch to any language you need-Arabic Mac

You can begin with one language and switch to another in the same document.

Working with languages (1)-Arabic Mac

Working with languages (2)-Arabic Mac

[stextbox id=”info”]Note: The only exception to this is Arabic on Microsoft Word. Arabic cannot be activated on Word. Other scripts have no problem.[/stextbox]

6. You can also activate Keyboard & Character Viewer in Input Sources.

activate Keyboard & Character Viewer-Arabic Mac

After activating Keyboard & Character Viewer you can open it in the Keyboard layout menu.

Character Viewer

Keyboard & Character Viewer enables you to see the activated keyboard layout on your screen. You can also type using this on-screen keyboard.

Keyboard & Character Viewer

Keyboard Viewer

Persian keyboard layout on Mac

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13 Responses to How to add Arabic and Persian to your Mac?

  1. Anonymousx says:


  2. miss erma surani says:

    syukran..thank u..

  3. Dasdas says:

    مرسی عالی بود

  4. M D says:

    How to join the Arabic letters? Although I can write Arabic but all the letters are separate.

  5. 313 says:

    This was most helpful, many thanks! I would suggest using Pages on the Mac as it allows you to join letters and make proper words/sentences. 

  6. romillyh says:

    Can confirm that TextEdit (on Mac) seems to work just fine. Characters join and you can even change direction/language in mid sentence. My system is OS 10.6.8. Just follow procedure described by alefba above. You’ll probably have to use the virtual persian keyboard rather than the physical keyboard, which is a bit tedious!

  7. Mohammad Mustafa says:

    but while using Microsoft office using word its not on its proper way

  8. Bahareh says:

    I have the same issue with photoshop on mac! I can type persian but all the words are separated! what should i do?

    • Hannah says:

      Hi Bahareh, did you find a solution?
      I want to copy and paste from Urdu into InDesign – I don’t speak it myself, so just going on the visual. So far, I think it’s pasting in reverse (left to right) and separating all the letters wrong.

  9. raha says:

    that was really easy to get. thanks

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