Tabbing in RtoL text (was Re: [XeTeX] Right-indents with Arabic in xelatex)

Jonathan Kew jonathan_kew at
Mon Feb 7 20:10:15 CET 2005

On 7 Feb 2005, at 6:04 pm, Frederick Hoyt wrote:

> Thank you for the suggestion regarding hanging indents.
> Could anyone then suggest a solution for using tab spaces with a 
> \beginR environment, so that the tabs proceed to from the left margin 
> rightwards.

Did you mean "from the right margin leftwards", perhaps? That would 
seem more logical.

>  I tried using the \tabbing environment, but it places the tabs (and 
> associated text at the left margin.
> The project in question involves typsetting an Arabic text in playbook 
> format:
> 	Mary 	:	Blah blah blah.
> 	John		:	Grumble grumble grumble. 	
> The text portion requires hanging indentation (hence my previous 
> inquiry), and then the spacing between the character identifiers, the 
> colon, and the text needs to be uniform (hence the tabbing).

I'm not sure exactly what your source text looks like for this, but if 
it were my project, I'd probably write a little custom macro to handle 
each "line" (potentially wrapped). Supposing your source contains lines 
of the form:

<speaker> <TAB> <colon> <TAB> <text of the speech, possibly long enough 
to wrap>

with a blank line separating each such line. Then you could do 
something like:

\parindent=1in % or whatever measure you like for the "speaker : " part
\def\doplayline #1^^I:^^I{%
   \hangindent -\parindent \hangafter=1
   \setbox0=\lastbox \beginR \hbox to \parindent{#1\hfil:\kern1em}}

followed by a series of such lines.

I'd expect LaTeX's various tab-related environments and commands to be 
L-R oriented, and to need some adaptation for R-L use; I haven't looked 
into this in any detail, not being much of a LaTeX user.


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