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Properties of Characters > Line-Breaking Properties - Pg. 272

HTML specifications explicitly warn that the declaration of the language used in a document, via lang or xml:lang attribute, shall not set directionality. The overall default in HTML is left-to-right directionality. Thus, a document in Arabic should normally have <html dir="rtl"> as its first tag. Using the attribute lang="ar" there as well can be useful for other purposes, but it does not set directionality. Web browsers, especially Internet Explorer, have flaws in directionality features. For example, text that contains only right-to-left characters and neutral characters should be displayed correctly without any extra markup, but this does not always happen. Using logically redundant markup with dir attributes may help. HTML authors who create right-to-left or mixed-direction content should use dir attributes even in contexts where they are not required by the specifications. For additional explanations, examples, and advice, please consult Andreas Prilop's "Bidirectional text" at text.html. Directionality of Formatting The dir attribute in HTML and the direction property in CSS should be used with caution, since they do not affect the directionality of characters only. They also affect