Many people are under the impression that the way to get Hebrew onto a SMART Notebook page is by image capture. We have made a lot of progress, and now we can type Hebrew directly into Notebook and Lesson Activity Toolkit objects – even with vowels. We can also drag ‘n’ drop Hebrew text onto the Notebook page from the DavkaWriter text library or online sources. The challenge has always been to drag ‘n’ drop multiple פסוקים without having the text order being reversed. With the help of Rabbi Yisroel Kohn of the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey, we found the answer.
SMART Notebook does not yet recognize Right-to-Left text direction. That means that whenever a selection of text has a mixture of Hebrew and English, each time there’s a switch of language, that next block of text gets positioned to the right of the block before it. The trick, therefore, is discovering which original Hebrew characters are read by Notebook as English. As of Notebook version 10.8, it seems that only the period and comma cause this direction switch; although there are other issues, as well, that are not as clear as of yet. In the DavkaWriter text library version of Tanach, there is an additional invisible character which likewise causes a switch in text direction. In any event, these issues can be resolved by a global “Search & Replace” in DavkaWriter.
The most successful text source to use for Notebook is the DavkaWriter text library. In this resource, the text is already clean of all problematic characters except for one. Take a selection of text from the DavkaWriter text library, Tanach, and copy/paste it into a new document. On the Davka toolbar there is an icon resembling a pair of glasses with green lenses – the “Show Invisibles” tool. It reveals characters like spaces and hard returns. Turn on this tool. Notice a small oval after each possuk “number” which is a special kind of space character. Using the “Search & Replace”, change all of these hidden ovals into regular Hebrew spaces. Then, drag ‘n’ drop the text into Notebook and it should work fine.
If you must use an online source (see http://www.teq.com/links?link=Judaic Studies), Davka also allows for a quick check of any problematic characters. By selecting the entire section, and then selecting the English toggle switch, Davka will highlight all characters that are being read as English. For example, there may also be Left-to-Right hyphens or spaces. Any character which is highlighted as English should be deleted or replaced with an equivalent Hebrew character. Once “cleaned,” the text may be inserted into Notebook.
If you don’t have Davka, you may select multiple פסוקים of תנ”ך from an online source of Hebrew text and similarly use Word’s “Search & Replace” utility to find all the commas, semi-colons and periods and either delete them or replace them with colons. Success in this way, however, is not guaranteed.
It is also important to note that the text must be completely uniform in its formatting before transferring to Notebook. All characters must share the same properties: font type and size, bolding, color, etc. Any formatting differences should be in separate text boxes.