UPDATE: There is a new and excellent extension for Chrome and Firefox: Wudooh – see below.

The default settings for the Arabic alphabet on most operating systems and programs are just weird.

Why reading Arabic on a computer is difficult

Reading Arabic (newspapers, books, etc.) on the Internet can be irritating. Many people told me that they would love to read more Arabic on the Internet, but they get tired after some time.

The Arabic script, for some reason, is always smaller compared to Latin characters. Furthermore, the font is sometimes weird and might even produce mistakes as not all characters are correct.

In the past, I recommended an extension called Huruf (حُرُوف) which does a great job and works perfectly fine with Google Chrome and Firefox. Badrul Aini Sha’ari from Kuala Lumpur told me about Wudooh which has a great plus point: you can “whitelist” certain websites.

This is very useful when reading verses of the Qur’an like on quran.com since Huruf destroyed the script. With Wudooh, you can simply whitelist the URL.

Wudooh was written by a user called whitecrescent.uk. You can get it here for free: https://wudooh.app

Wudooh (clarity in Arabic and Persian) is a simple browser extension that makes reading Arabic script text clearer and more pleasant. This project is based on and is the successor to Jackson Petty’s Huruf. Wudooh adds many more features and fixes commonly complained about problems found in Huruf.

Where can you download Wudooh?

  • For Chrome – download Wudooh
  • For Firefox – download Wudooh
  • For Microsoft Edge – download Wudooh

What are the advantages of Wudooh?

Huruf (and its successor Wudooh) makes reading on-screen Arabic easier by increasing the font size of all characters within the Unicode ranges of the Arabic script; this means that Huruf/Wudooh will work on any language that uses the Arabic script, not just Arabic (e.g. Persian, Punjabi, Urdu, etc). You can set the font size and line height to be up to 150% of the default value.

Droid Arabic Naskh is one of the best free Arabic fonts available. This type of font is optimized for reading Arabic script on screens.

The developer paid attention that the large “loop height” and “tooth height” help prevent readers from having to zoom web pages to a larger size to read them. The traditional Naskh forms are softened for less formal documents such as periodicals and journals.

Remark: In an article published on wired.com the author explains why typeface design has a western-normativity problem. The simple answer is that most Arabic typefaces have been designed by Latin alphabet typographers.

What about Opera?

For Opera, you need another trick. Thanks to Mostafa Alahyari from Tehran (Iran), there is a great extension that does the job and adjusts Arabic (and Farsi and Urdu) fonts. It is called Font ARA Font Changer and is a cross-browser extension – which means it works on any browser.

screenshot extension fontara

Other useful tools and websites:

Note: This page was last updated on Jun 13, 2020 @ 19:22.

Picture credit: Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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