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cropped huruf arabic letters

Adjust the Arabic font in Chrome or Firefox – Here is how it works

Arabic fonts always look too small and unreadable on the browser. There are extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Opera that fix that. One is Wudooh.

Last updated: July 15, 2021

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 Bassam Helal. 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.

fontara
screenshot extension fontara


Other useful tools and websites:

Picture credit: Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

8 comments
  1. I am curious about how to apply this wonderfulness to apps… I installed BBC Arabic on my phone, get notifications all the time (which I love), but when I go to try to read a given story, it’s challenging and tiring because of this very thing you’ve highlighted. I realize the answer is probably to just open a page in a browser, but the quickness of the app is a value.

  2. I’m on firefox, and there is zoom in and zoom out that you can use on English and Arabic, doesn’t let you choose the font though. That sounds like a cool feature.

  3. Hello,
    I am using Chrome as my default browser and download by clicking on the word
    “here” in the “For Chrome – download it here.” And it works. However the letters
    are too big for me..

    Question
    Once you download by clicking on the word “here” in the ” – download it here.”
    Can I adjust the font size or disable all together and how?
    Would appreciate your help.
    Thank

    1. Sure, you can adjust the font and size. After you have installed the extension, you will see an icon in your browser probably at the very right side. If you can’t see it,
      click the right side of your address bar (where you enter the url) and drag it to the left – until you see all icons. You will notice a symbol with the Arabic letter Ayn. Then click on the symbol (left or right mouse click) and you will be able to adjust font and size. If it doesn’t work, try to go to chrome’s extensions (chrome://extensions) and look for the symbol with the Arabic letter Ayn.

  4. I think the reason why Arabic characters look much smaller then Latin characters, or pretty much any other script is the space reserved for diacritics and for ligatures. Esp. when you look at the Alif: أَ or إ .

    In some fonts character combinations like لح will be rendered as a literature, with the characters stacked vertically rather then horizontally.

  5. This is great, thanks.
    Does anyone have an idea how to fix the issue without an extension? for example on restricted computers or android ?

  6. Thank you for this.

    Works actually fine on regular websites, but doesn’t on facebook…

Any thoughts or ideas about this? Leave a reply!

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