Specify text and container direction

You can specify text and container direction by choosing any of these options.

Option Description


Sets the reading order of an object, such as right-to-left. If Inherit is selected, the direction is inherited from the parent object. The default is left-to-right.

For text objects, an additional choice named Contextual exists. This choice sets the text direction based on the first letter in the text. If the letter belongs to a right-to-left script, the text direction is right-to-left. Otherwise, the text direction is left-to-right. Numbers and special characters do not influence the text direction. For example, if the text starts with a number followed by an Arabic letter, the direction is right-to-left. If the text starts with a number followed by a Latin letter, the direction is left-to-right.

Tip: You can also set the direction of text objects by clicking the Text direction icon Text direction icon in the toolbar. This icon is visible only when the IBM® Cognos® Analytics portal user preference Enable bidirectional support is selected.

Writing mode

Sets the direction and flow of content in an object.


Sets the level of embedding in an object.

For text objects, if the Direction option is set to a value other than (Default) and no value is selected for this option, this option is set to Embed. Setting this option to Embed ensures that the base text direction specified for the text is applied.


Sets the type of alignment used to justify text in an object.

Kashida space

Sets the ratio of kashida expansion to white space expansion when justifying lines of text in the object. This property is used in languages that use the Arabic writing script.

About this task

Specifying text direction and container direction depends on the object selected in the report. The following list describes the types of objects in Reporting that you can specify text or container direction.

  • Compound objects

    Compound objects are container objects that contain text. Examples include charts, maps, active reports, and prompts. You cannot set text direction for specific text objects in a compound object.

    To specify container direction for compound objects, click the Direction & justification property for the object. To specify text direction for text in compound objects, click the Contained text direction property for the object.

  • Container objects

    You can specify only container direction for container objects, such as a report page. Click the Direction & justification property for the object to specify container direction.

    By default, the text direction of text in a container object is inherited from the container.

  • Text objects

    For all text objects, the Direction & justification property specifies the text direction.

In charts, container direction impacts all aspects of a chart. The following list describes the parts of a chart that are affected by container direction.

  • The chart itself.
  • The location of the Y-axis and the horizontal run direction of the X-axis.
  • The labeling, including the orientation of angled labels on axes.
  • The location of the legend as well as the legend content.

Container direction has no impact on rotary axes. For example, the slices in a pie always progress in the same direction around the pie. However, container direction does affect labelling as well as position and direction of the legend.

Note: You cannot specify base text direction and container direction for legacy charts.


  1. Click an object.
    Tip: To specify the base text direction of a text object that is inside another object, such as a list column, you must first unlock Lock/unlock the report icon the report.
  2. In the Properties pane, click one of the following properties:
    • Direction & justification
    • Contained text direction

      This property applies only to compound objects.

  3. Specify the text direction and container direction options that you want.