I saw there are numerous questions and answers for typesetting Arabic characters. Yet I can't get them work. I tried to replicate this answer, which is exactly what I want to obtain - few in line Arabic characters. I haven't changed the MWE of the mentioned answer:

%In the preamble section include the arabtex and utf8 packages

%start encoding to unicode
%Note that your layout must support arabic text when compiling
%To start typing in Arabic use the command arabtext
\<السَلامُ عَليكم ورَحمةُ الله وبَركاته  >

Yet LaTeX, without throwing any error, typeset this:

enter image description here

I tried to open the PDF with Skim, Adobe Pro and Mac Preview with the same result.

I am using TeX 3.14159265 (TeX Live 2014) kpathsea version 6.2.0 of the MacTeX-2014 Distribution and Aquamacs as text editor.

My best guess is that I have some encoding problem somewhere in the pipeline. My .tex file is encoded in utf-16 and in the text editor rightly shows the characters:

enter image description here

  • Without a MWE it's guesswork.
    – egreg
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 22:52
  • I get the same output as Heiko's from that code. The TeX distribution is the same as yours. See i.sstatic.net/rdwU8.png
    – egreg
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 23:04

1 Answer 1


You have improper encoding: UTF-16 instead of expected UTF-8. It may be still visible in your graphic editor, but makes a false input to the pdflatex (e.g.) program.

  • To change current file encoding on Emacs: C-x C-m f utf8
    – Francesco
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 23:23
  • 1
    @Francesco Or just type % -*- coding: utf8 -*- as the first line of the file, which will also ensure the file will be treated as UTF8 no matter what.
    – egreg
    Commented Jun 30, 2014 at 9:09

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