Arabic variables not working

Sep 03, 2013


We are using Storyline for lessons being translated into Arabic. Unfortunately, we have several problems with variables... I am attaching a screenshot of the problems we see - any variables will NOT display any Arabic characters and none of our other variables that contain numbers are displaying at all. We are using a specialized font, HP Simplified ME. 

Is there any advice about this? 

As a separate question, are there any other people or companies using this forum who are translating into Arabic using Storyline? I would love to connect with them to share solutions if so! 



23 Replies
Bingjie Hu

Hi Ashley, 

I'm actually seeing that the variable displayed in the screenshot (and all other instances) automatically adds "&_player." to the beginning of all of our variables. In addition, we see boxes when trying to display arabic characters that were stored in a variable as a string. (see second screenshot). 

This string is stored in a variable. The strings stored outside of a variable have no problem displaying. This is regardless of what font we use, including Arial Unicode, which seems to work for other characters. We are not sure why this is happening... 

Also, you can see that the variable %BEPStartupCosts% and %BEP% is displayed as "&_player.BEPStartupCosts" rather than showing the numerical value. Can you advise? 

Bingjie Hu

Thank you Ashley! I think we have narrowed the issue even more. I've attached another set of files that can help to explain the issue. 

Edit mode: 

Proper display mode: 

Edit mode switching text display to RTL: 

Now, the variables are ALL not displaying properly: 

Unfortunately, this will NOT work for us because we are doing Arabic translations which need to be displayed from right to left... We did not expect to see this problem, and it is occurring on all versions of Arabic that we have. I've also attached the files I used to do a quick test on this... 

Bingjie Hu

Hi Ashley, 

Thanks for the follow up - apologies for my late response on this as well. 

For all others who are having this issue, here is the latest update from Justin and the Storyline development team: It appears that the variable display problem with RTL text is a Storyline bug (applies to all RTL languages including Arabic and Hebrew) It is unclear when this problem will be resolved and what version of Storyline will feature the fix. 

For now, our team has opted for the following to work around the problem: 

  1. Separated all instances of number-variables being displayed in a text box - we put these number variables on a text box all by themselves, leaving a space in the Arabic sentence where it would show up. The Arabic sentence was displayed RTL, while we display the number variable LTR (this shows up fine with no problem)
  2. Removed all instances of text-variables from our activities. This created the largest problem for us, since we often use variables to display dynamic text feedback for our users depending on what they do in the activity. Instead of using dynamic text displays using the text-variables, we created text objects with lots and lots of states. Each state would contain what the text-variable used to contain - i.e. we'd have one state for each possible sentence that the user could see in their activity feedback. 
  3. Forced users to type limited text-input. In the original English activities, our users could type as much text as they wished in text-input boxes, and then see the text displayed later in the activity. In the Arabic versions, they cannot type anything except a very specific line of text, since we can't dynamically display their typed input. 

Justin updated that the Storyline developers are now aware of this problem, and will be working on it. However, there is no timeline for which this will be fixed. 

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi John and welcome to Heroes!

I don't have a time frame to offer in regards to future updates, but we'll share information here in the forums and you can always find out what the most recent update is by looking at the Support page or you can check for updates from within Storyline ( Go to the Help tab -> Check for Updates).

Corey Barr

Hi all!

We're working on an Arabic file and having the same issues with variables so I'm glad I found this thread! I appreciate that solutions have been provided as well - very helpful!

I'm having an additional issue. When we imported the Arabic translation, all the slides that have links in the text boxes became distorted - i.e. the links displayed incorrectly. I have been able to take out the links, but can't seem to be able to select specific Arabic text within a text box in order to add the link back in. This is also true in terms of trying to bold specific phrases within the text. Has anyone else had this problem? Any workarounds or tips?

Thanks so much,


Vincent Scoma

Hey Vahid,

Thank you for reaching out! This thread is a bit old, so I would like to start fresh and gather some more information from you. I am sorry that this is happening to you. We have an open issue in Storyline where the variable reference displays Arabic characters in reverse order. Could you share what you are seeing in your course?

Our team is looking into its cause, and I'm tagging this discussion to our report so we can keep you posted on any new developments.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can help with in the meantime!

Vahid Tehranipoor

Thank you Vincent. That's exactly my issue too. Farsi uses Arabic letters for writing- with a few differences. So I think it can be fixed for both languages at the same time. Can you give me any time estimate of when it is going to be fixed? This doesn't seem to take a long time to be fixed and if it is fixed, it would really change the elearning material that I am making now.

Katie Riggio

Hey again, Vahid!

I'm circling back here as well to share that we just released Build 3.33.20697.0 for Storyline 360. It addresses the issue where variable references in right-to-left text displayed in the reverse order.

To see all the enhancements this version has to offer, follow these steps to update your software. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

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