What is braille?

Braille is for anyone who has or is likely to lose their sight and would find that using large print becomes difficult.

Braille is the alphabet and numbers, designed to be read by fingers rather than eyes. Braille is a code based on six dots, arranged in two columns of three dots.

There are two grades of braille:

    • Uncontracted (previously Grade 1) Braille is a straightforward letter for letter translation from print and includes the alphabet, numbers and punctuation marks.
    • Contracted (previously Grade 2) Braille has special signs for combinations of letters and more commonly occuring words, such as 'sh', 'ing', 'the' and 'for'. This reduces the size of Braille documents by about 25 per cent, and generally increases reading speed.

There are also special braille codes, for instance for music, mathematics, science and foreign languages.

The UK has recently adopted a revised Braille code known as Unified English Braille code (UEB) which is replacing Standard English Braille (SEB) 

More information is available on our page on braille and other tactile codes.

Did this answer your question?

Your feedback will help us to keep improving this website.

Make a donation

Right now we can only reach one in three of the people who need our help most.

Please make a donation and help us support more blind and partially sighted people.

Regular donation Single donation