Typing Lines of Persian Poetry (Keshideh)

How to make the lines be of the same length

These examples made with Office XP

After you have typed your text, you need to hit the "Justified" button in Word:

If you don't see the "justified" button on your toolbar, you should see Help for how to enable it.

Warning:  Exercise control with the Justified button, it looks pretty but sometimes makes your text hard to read because you can't tell where one word ends and the next begins.  Studies have shown that justified text is harder for people to read (in any language) so if you're typing a long article in prose, you would be well advised to just use right-aligned instead of justified.

In the case of poetry, you'll notice that even after you hit the Justified button, nothing happens.  This is because the lines are too short for Word to figure out what to do. The secret is to now also hit  Shift and Enter at the end of each line. Here's some examples of the result:


Hope you like this poem from the Golestan.  Special thanks to Mohsen Banan (http://www.payk.net) who wants as many people as possible to hear  Sa`di's message and was the catalyst for making this section on poetry.

Now, you may not be too impressed by the above results since uniform length appears to have been achieved merely by word spacing.  If you really want to get fancy by drawing out the letters themselves, read on!

Here is a poem which I've typed in a table with 2 cells and although I have hit "justified", it still appears to be right aligned for now:

Here's what happens if you now hit Shift+Enter (+ Delete to get rid of the new resulting blank line each time):


This much you've already seen  with Sa`di's poem above.  Now for some extra options:

Go Format > Paragraph > Indents & Spacing > General Alignment  and you'll see the 3 different grades of justify.  (You can read about this yourself by typing "kashida" in the Help box.)

Here's what happens if I change my poem to Justify Low:

Now I think you are impressed, no?! Ok, now let's try Justify Medium:

I had to extend the table borders just a bit to prevent line-wrap. Now here is with Justify High:

Now I'll do Edit > Select All and make the font Bold and change the color (colors are on the Drawing Toolbar) and I'll go Format > Background and change the color. Finally, I'll get rid of the table borders.  Here is the final product:

These are the opening lines of the Halnamah of  Mawlana Mahmud `Arifi of Herat (died 1449)  and you can read it yourself here:

Guy va chawgan, ya, Halnamah = The ball and polo stick, or, The book of ecstacy : parallel Persian-English text.  Arifi of Herat ; edited and translated with an introduction by Wheeler M. Thackston and Hossein Ziai.  Costa Mesa, CA : Mazda Publishers, 1999