New: Support for right-to-left languages in all visualizations

Datawrapper’s interactive charts, maps, and tables already support 49 languages through 63 output locales. With the right output locale, visualizations’ built-in text appears in your own language, and numbers are formatted the way readers in your country are used to.

But if you work with a language that’s written from right to left — such as ArabicHebrew, or Persian — then you know it’s not always so simple to create visualizations that work well with your script. So we’re especially excited today to announce new, comprehensive right-to-left support in all Datawrapper visualizations.

How to enable right-to-left orientation

Right-to-left features are controlled by each visualization’s output locale. You can change the output locale in the Layout tab of Step 3: Visualize.

Select any Arabic (ar-AE, ar-SA, ar-DZ), Persian (fa-IR), or Hebrew (he-IL) locale to set your visualization’s orientation to right-to-left. Selecting any other locale will switch it right back to left-to-right. If your language isn’t on our list yet, no problem — write to support@datawrapper.de to help us add it!

What changes in right-to-left visualizations

Your visualization’s design and your editing experience will adapt for right-to-left languages in several ways. Here are the big ones:

1. Customizable design elements are flipped

You can already customize the alignment of many elements in Datawrapper visualizations, including text annotations, y-axes, color legends, table columns, and more.

If you’re translating a visualization, for example, from English to Arabic, you want to keep those choices consistent. That’s why, when you select a right-to-left locale, all customizable elements will automatically reverse their alignments as well.

This line chart’s y-axis, range highlight, and text annotations are reversed automatically when switching between an English and an Arabic locale
In this table, the order of columns and the alignment of text within them are reversed when switching between an English and an Arabic locale.

This starting point should make it easy to translate charts, maps, and tables without recreating your designs from scratch. Of course, you can continue to adjust all of these elements as you’re used to in right-to-left visualizations.

2. Basic visualization design is flipped

While you can reverse certain chart-elements by hand, many Datawrapper visualization types have a deeper, built-in orientation that can’t be customized — like the direction of bars in a bar chart. In right-to-left languages, those visualizations will now read from right to left.

In all bar charts, labels sit on the right side and bars read from right to left. The same is true for dotrange, and arrow plots.

An Arabic-language bar chart created in Datawrapper by the ILO.

In line charts, area charts, column charts, and scatter plots, x-axes run from right to left.

An Arabic-language line chart created in Datawrapper by Swissinfo.

In tables, mini bar charts and sparklines are read from right to left.

Labels in locator maps for countries, cities, and streets are also now available in right-to-left scripts.

3. Text input adapts to your script

When you choose a right-to-left output locale, all text input boxes in our user interface will automatically switch to a right-to-left orientation. That includes fields for things like titles and descriptions, map marker names, and tooltips.

It’s easy to mix in numbers and Latin characters without scrambling the order of your text.

Making the most of right-to-left support

Right-to-left support is just one of the ways that Datawrapper enables multilingual visualizations. Here are some tips for making the most of our language features.

Choose the right output locale

Your visualization’s output locale isn’t just about left versus right. An output locale controls the language of built-in text, such as bylines in the footer or month names on the x-axis. It also decides which country's number formatting standards to follow, like whether decimals are separated with a period (as in the U.S.) or a comma (as in Germany).

Even if all your visualizations have the same basic orientation, choose the correct output locale to make them look extra-polished.

Label visualizations in your archive by language

If you’re juggling multiple translations of the same visualization, you can stay organized by displaying their output locales in the thumbnails of your archive. Visit our Academy to learn how to turn on this setting.

Add your language to our tool

Do you want your footer text in Urdu? Or to label your axes with Lebanese month names? We’re always ready to add support for new output locales — send us an email at support@datawrapper.de to learn how to contribute translations.


We know many of you have been waiting for this feature, and we’re eager to hear your feedback! Share your thoughts at support@datawrapper.de or on Twitter @Datawrapper.

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