Arabic alphabet support in Microsoft Dynamics GP

Traditionally available in Middle East and Arabic speaking countries, Great Plains Dynamics GP is easily adopted in countries where the local language is based on Arabic characters. Typically, local laws and regulatory financial reporting requirements in the Arab world are appropriate, so setting up sales or value added tax for a specific country is not a challenge and can be done as part of the company’s ERP implementation. We will focus on technological aspects of Arabic language support in Great Plains:

1. Microsoft Dexterity Technology and Arabic Alphabet. Currently, Dexterity supports ASCII tables where each letter representation is limited to eight bits or one byte of information. And even if Arabic characters look very sophisticated and resemble hieroglyphs, they are ASCII table compatible

2. Microsoft SQL Server Arabic language support. MS SQL Server has so-called code pages and collations. If you’re in the US and you’re installing SQL Server, you’ll probably never answer the question – what’s my collation? The reason is simple: your default SQL Server installation takes the defaults from your Windows Server locals, and if those locals are based in the US, SQL Server assumes that the defaults should be US English. If you are adding a GP company based in an Arabic country to your SQL server in the US HQ, you should change the database level collation to support Arabic characters

3. Great Plains Arabic language support options. If you’re a programmer, you probably know you have two choices. The first is to translate skill string resources from English to Arabic and distribute Dynamics.Dic with translated strings to local users. The second option would be to export String resources to Modifier and distribute Forms.Dic to local users. The first option is more powerful as it leaves unlimited possibilities for Dexterity customization open, but it is also open to potential bugs in Dexterity business logic. We prefer the second option – modifier-based strings in Arabic

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4. Great Plains Reports in Arabic. A similar concept applies to GP Report Writer and its main dictionary, Reports.dic. Arabic skill string resources should be imported into Reports.dic. Feel free to change such important reports as the SOP blank invoice form or whatever else you need to change in Report Writer

5. Required modules to support Arabic characters. If supported in Modifier, you need a Customization Site Enabler license

6. Switching from Arabic to English and back. Your user computer must have two GP workstations installed, one with Arabic language support and the second with standard US English

7. FRx Financial and Consolidated Reporting. Balance sheet, profit and loss statement and cash flow statement as well as their consolidated versions are independent of regional settings

8. GP support for the countries where Arabic alphabet is used but national language is not Arabic. The example would be Afghanistan, where the national language is Dari and is based on the Arabic alphabet (or Iran, where the national language Farsi is also based on Arabic). Here the recommended solution would be to translate the string resources from Dynamics.dic to Dari and Farsi respectively and import them into Forms.dic and Reports.dic

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