Right-to-left text editing

If you want to make it possible to edit Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides in right-to-left languages, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Docs, Sheets, or Slides home screens.
  2. Open the menu in the top left corner.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Check the box next to “Show right-to-left controls in the editor.” The setting is now applied across Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

Right-to-left controls will also be enabled automatically in a document when you edit any Google Docs or Sheets that contains right-to-left text, or when you add right-to-left text to a document or spreadsheet.

Right-to-left grid and cells (Google Sheets only)

Right-to-left spreadsheet grid

When right-to-left controls are enabled (instructions above), you’ll see an icon in the toolbar that lets you flip the direction of the spreadsheet grid .

Clicking this button will reverse the direction of the columns for a particular sheet so that Column A appears on the right instead of the left. This setting only applies to the current sheet, not all sheets in the spreadsheet.

Right-to-left text entry in spreadsheet cells

Flipping the grid doesn’t affect the direction of text inside of a cell. This means that you can have left-to-right text in cells using a right-to-left spreadsheet grid, and vice versa. If you type text into a cell using a right-to-left language, Google Sheets will automatically detect this and flip the direction of the text in the cell. You can always manually override the system’s choice by clicking one of the cell direction icons in the toolbar .

Right-to-left paragraphs (Google Docs and Slides only)

If you've turned on right-to-left controls, you can control paragraph direction using the paragraph direction icons in the toolbar. A paragraph written in the wrong direction will typically look like the period, or end-of-sentence punctuation, is located at the beginning of the line, and may be aligned to the opposite side of the page by default. To correct this, click the opposite paragraph direction icon in the toolbar .

If you have added a character to your document or presentation that is from a right-to-left language, you will automatically be switched to right-to-left mode in the file.

Right-to-left tables (Google Docs only)

If you've turned on the right-to-left controls, you also have the option to control the direction (or column order) of tables in Google Docs. In a right-to-left table, the first cell will be in the upper right corner and tabbing through the table will move the cursor to the left and down.

  1. Open a document.
  2. To adjust your table settings, go to the Table menu.
  3. Select Table properties.
  4. In the "Column order" section, choose Right-to-left.

Mary is a Docs & Drive expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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