On pressing Ctrl+Shift+X in browser text fields, the text changes its alignment to the right, but it is not exactly the same as right align. The symbols do not follow the alignment, they even change their relative position.


export http_proxy=""

Changes to

""=export http_proxy

After checking on many other texts, it seems to be mirroring the trailing symbols while keeping words, numbers and intermediate symbols in order. Can anyone explain this behavior and possible use cases for it?

Tested on: Firefox 58, Ubuntu 17.10

1 Answer 1


You have selected right-to-left mode (bidirectional text), which is used when entering text in (for example) Arabic and Hebrew. It's actually a Firefox keyboard shortcut in Linux and OS X. The behaviour is perfectly correct, but as you found out, it's a little strange if you're not expecting it!

Some additional background reading:

Official document from 2011 covering its origin here - Additional Requirements for Bidi in HTML

Latest official document (even longer to read :p)- https://www.w3.org/TR/html-bidi/

  • Thanks! may I know what keywords you searched for to get to these links? Mar 2, 2018 at 15:18
  • 1
    I had the last two bookmarked from a while back, but if you search for "unicode" along with "bidirectional" (or "bidi"), you should get several results.
    – ErikF
    Mar 2, 2018 at 16:00

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