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How To Enable RTL In WordPress (Fastest Way!)

how to enable rtl in wordpress

I will break down everything you need to know when learning how to enable RTL in WordPress.

In a FEW minutes!

The beauty of WordPress is that it comes with support for dozens of languages, including RTL languages.

SO. COOL.

What’s even better is that you can EASILY enable RTL in WordPress.

In this post I’ll show you:

  • What you need to enable RTL in WordPress
  • How to test it to ensure it works properly
  • Show you how to enable it.

About 75% of the Internet speaks a language other than English.

Note: Don’t miss checking Petra’s extensive list of the best multilingual WordPress themes.

In fact, if you pay close attention to the table, you’ll see that the top fourth language is Arabic.

Arabic is just one of several languages that are read and written from right to left.

What Do You Need To Enable RTL In WordPress

There are two things you’ll need to enable RTL in WordPress:

  • A theme that supports RTL
  • Make sure that WordPress supports your RTL language

First, you can look through the official documentation or get in touch with the developer and ask them if the theme supports RTL.

However, you’ll probably end up waiting on a reply from the support team.

Thankfully, there is a QUICKER WAY and that’s checking for yourself.

Check Theme’s RTL Compatibility

To check if your theme supports RTL, you’ll want to look for the RTL.css file.

To find it, login to your website control panel and go to /wp-content/themes/.

Locate your theme’s folder and look for the rtl.css file.

Open the file using the built-in file manager in your hosting panel to make sure it’s not just a BLANK file.

If you see style declarations in there, you’re GOOD TO GO.

The rtl.css file contains appropriate style settings that display the important site elements from right to left.

This file also partly overrides the style.css wherever that’s necessary.

Once you’ve ensured your theme supports RTL, you need to check if WordPress supports your language.

You can do this by going to Translate WordPress. You can also check to which degree it has been translated to your language.

With those two things in place, you’re READY TO MOVE on to the next step.

Note: We also have a full list of the best translation plugins if you need more options.

How to Test RTL Support

Let’s do a QUICK TEST to make sure it displays correctly before you enable the RTL in WordPress.

Go to Plugins > Add New and search for the RTL Tester plugin.

Install and activate it on your site.

rtl tester free wordpress plugin

You’ll see a new option in your Admin toolbar: Switch to RTL.

Pressing this option will change your site from LTR to RTL mode.

You can then see both the back-end and the front-end of your website to make sure everything works and looks good.

how to test rtl support in wordpress

How to Enable RTL Mode In WordPress

Now it’s time for the FINAL STEP: Permanently enabling RTL in WordPress.

To do this, go to Settings > General and choose your language from the drop-down menu.

Press Save Changes button and you’re done!

Your website should now be in RTL mode.

I told you it’ll be easy.

BUT.

What If Your Theme Doesn’t Support RTL

If you find that your theme doesn’t support RTL, you have a couple of options:

  • You can ask the developers if they plan on adding RTL support — however, keep in mind that this might not happen immediately so you’ll either have to postpone the switch or you can go with the second option below.
  • You can switch to a different theme that supports RTL — this is probably the easiest and the fastest option although you’ll probably have to go through your theme options and customize colors, fonts, and other visual styles.

If you’re feeling adventurous, it’s worth mentioning that there is ANOTHER OPTION.

You can add the RTL support to your theme yourself. (But I don’t recommend it.)

Friendly reminder: Make a backup FIRST before any major changes.

The easiest way to do this is to make a copy of your theme’s style.css file and name it rtl.css.

Then, use a website like RTLCSS.com or CSSJanus.com to switch all the left and right alignments.

Once you have your RTL.css file, you need to upload it to the theme’s folder in the same directory as style.css.

You also need to enqueue the stylesheet so WordPress can “see” it.

Open up your functions.php file and paste the following snippet:

function enqueue_theme_files() {
wp_enqueue_style( ‘themeslug-style’, get_stylesheet_uri() );
wp_style_add_data( ‘themeslug-style’, ‘rtl’, ‘replace’ );
}
add_action( ‘wp_enqueue_scripts’, ‘enqueue_theme_files’ );

If your theme’s functions.php file already has the enqueue function, then all you need to do is add the wp_style_add_data() information within that function.

You can then save your changes and TEST it with the RTL Tester plugin.

Final Thoughts

Nnabling RTL in WordPress is quick and easy, even if your theme doesn’t have support for right-to-left languages.

The only thing left to do now is to make the switch. Good luck!

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