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Braille   Braille

Braille is writing system which enables blind and partially sighted people to read and write through touch. It was invented by Louis Braille (1809-1852), who was blind and became a teacher of the blind. It consists of patterns of raised dots arranged in cells of up to six dots in a 3 x 2 configuration. Each cell represents a letter, numeral or punctuation mark. Some frequently used words and letter combinations also have their own single cell patterns.

There are a number of different versions of Braille:

  • Uncontracted or Grade 1, which consists of the 26 standard letters of the alphabet and punctuation. It is only used by people who are first starting to read Braille.
  • Contracted or Grade 2, which consists of the 26 standard letters of the alphabet, punctuation and contractions. The contractions are employed to save space because a Braille page cannot fit as much text as a standard printed page. Books, signs in public places, menus, and most other Braille materials are written in Contracted Braille.
  • Grade 3, which is used mainly in personal letters, diaries, and notes, and also in literature to a limited extent. It is a kind of shorthand, with entire words shortened to a few letters. There is no official standard for this version of Braille.

Braille has been adapted to write many different languages, including Chinese, and is also used for musical and mathematical notation, chess, computing, science

Braille alphabet

Basic Braille letters

These letters are arranged to show how they are related: the middle row is the same as the top row with an extra dot in the bottom left corner. The bottom row is the same as the middle row with extra dot in the bottom right corner. W was an afterthought and doesn't fit this scheme, as Braille was invented for French and W is rarely used in French.

Braille abbreviations

The symbols in the first box correspond to the basic letters. Those in the second box are additional symbols.

More Braille contractions (as used in the USA)

Braille punctuation, numerals and special signs

Braille for accented letters

Sample texts in Braille

Sample text in Braille (Grade 1)

Transliteration: "Be kind to others"

Sample text and other information provided by Samuel Barnes

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Braille


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Text generated by the Braille Translator


Information about Braille and other reading codes for the blind

BRL: Braille Through Remote Learning

You've Got Braille - an introduction to Braille for kids (includes Braille translator)

Blindness Related Learning - braille tutorials and related services

How Braille is used to represent Japanese, Korean, Russian and other languages

Free Braille fonts

Export and emboss Braille documents using

Your name in Braille

Braille Signage

Organisations that support blind and partially sighted people

Versions of Braille

Braille for Chinese (Mandarin & Cantonese)
Braille for English
Braille for Latin & Greek
Braille for Welsh

Other notation systems

Blissymbolics, Braille, Graffiti, Moon, Shorthand, Solresol, Sutton SignWriting

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