Tools & workflow for testing fonts that support multiple scripts?

What tools do folk use to test fonts that support multiple scripts (e.g., Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, …)?

For Adobe InDesign, I've seen past recommendations to install the Middle East (ME) version to handle Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew. With CS6, is that still the case? What do folk recommend when you'll be testing other scripts, such as Japanese or Chinese? Or, does InDesign CS6 work properly for all of that? [Apologies if the answer is obvious, but I didn't see it on the searches I made. I'll be installing InDesign CS6 (Mac) for the first time, primarily as an addition to my test workflow and am trying to decide if I should just install the ME version. Initial testing includes Latin and Hebrew, but expect others with some upcoming design work. ]

What other tools do you prefer to use for testing? I'm purposefully leaving the question vague since there are various tools for specific purposes.

Some of the tools I currently use at different stages include (all on Mac OS X):
AFDKO (tx, spot, CompareFamily, stemHist, checkOutlines, etc.), ttx, various documents. I'm looking forward to seeing DTL OTMaster 3.0 released, soon.

I'd be happy to hear of testing workflows that people like to use.

[ Of course, there's the standard: test with the expected applications in which the font(s) will be used. ]


  • Jeff Kellem
    Related to Adobe InDesign CS6: From the skimming I've done, it sounds like it's still worth using the Middle East version (instead of the standard English edition) when testing Arabic and Hebrew.
  • John Hudson
    Yes, the ME version is still the best bet for working with RTL scripts. The World Ready Composer in the regular version will handle character run bi-directional layout okay, so you can test short runs of Arabic and Hebrew in that. But you need the ME version for proper RTL paragraph and document directionality, and there are some extra tools for mark positioning control. Similarly, I think the Far East version would be desirable if one were working with Japanese, Chinese or Korean.

    The Windows version of MS Office is also an important test environment for complex scripts, and you shouldn't presume that something that works or doesn't work in InDesign will behave the same in Office.
  • Jeff Kellem
    Thanks. That was the impression I was getting for the ME version. From a quick glance, it was unclear if the Far East version supports an English UI, so that may prove interesting. And in CS 6, they seem to list Japanese with the English version; I thought it would've been with a CJK version.

    After all these years of not running Windows (even while I was a Microsoft employee due to an acquisition, except for HR access), I've been accepting that I'll need to set up a Windows test environment for the type work.
  • Chris Lozos
    Some cool moves from the Fred Astaire of type ;-)