BrailleBlaster User Guide

Introduction

BrailleBlaster (BB) is a braille translation program that is designed to work with files that have semantic markup. Semantic markup is information provided in the file that identifies what kind of content a specific piece of text is. This information can help improve and automate the braille translation process. For example, a page number can be identified in the source file (and to software) as a page number, rather than just a number. This markup, created by the publisher, is used to help correctly format the elements of the file before it is even presented to the user.

This process is not perfect. There are standards that publishers follow, but not all publishers apply the standards in the same way. There are also several essential differences between how braille and print format textbooks. To the print world, an exercise is just a nested list. In braille, there are only four heading levels; in print, there are dozens of variations of font and size used to indicate heading levels. These are just two examples of the many differences between print and braille. In creating BrailleBlaster, APH hopes to provide the necessary tools to overcome the obstacles between print and braille translation.

We hope you enjoy working with BrailleBlaster. It is our goal to help you do the work that you love so that people everywhere can get the braille that they need.

File Types Specific to BrailleBlaster

BrailleBlaster has two file types that are specific to this software: BBX and BBZ. These files types were developed for certain explicit purposes within the software.

BBX file type: BrailleBlaster currently works with text files and XML (eXtensible Markup Language) files, such as NIMAS. When a file is opened it is converted to the BBX (BrailleBlaster XML) file type.

BBZ file type: BrailleBlaster can also work with a zipped NIMAS file set. If you save the zip file, it is saved as a BBZ (BrailleBlaster zip) file type, and all of the images in the zipped folder are maintained in the saved file set. This allows certain tools to display each image instead of just the image name.

BB menu bar with all items circled
The user can access all of the functions of BrailleBlaster using the Menu Bar. The User Guide covers each menu in turn.

File

Menu bar with File circled in red
File menu showing all menu items

New

Shortcut: Ctrl + N

Opens a new tab and allows the creation of an original braille document.

Open

Shortcut: Ctrl + O

Browses file directory for a document and opens selected document.

Recent Documents

Displays a list of recently opened documents for quick access.

Save

Shortcut: Ctrl + S

Saves any changes made to a document.

Save As

Shortcut: Ctrl + Shift + S

Saves working document as a new file, preserving original document.

Save BRF

Save BRF (volume) allows the user to save whole documents and individual volumes in a variety of ways.

No Volume Breaks: If the document has no volume breaks, clicking this button saves the entire document as a single BRF with no further input from the user other than naming the BRF.

With Volume Breaks: If volume breaks have been inserted a dialog is opened displaying each volume and a number of options for how to save them.

Save to BRF dialog showing that Volume Breaks have been inserted
Individual Volumes: Individual volumes may be saved to separate files. To do this, follow the steps below:
  1. Select the volume you would like to save from the list and click the "Save Selected to Folder" button.
  2. Type the name of the BRF in the edit field of the save dialog box.

Multiple volumes: Multiple volumes may be saved to separate files as well. The file name for each volume is the name of the document followed by the name of the volume. For example, a file called Literature.bbx with two volumes (one preliminary and one normal) automatically has two saved brfs: Literature_preliminary1.brf and Literature_volume1.brf.

To select multiple volumes, follow these steps:
  1. Simultaneously, press the Ctrl button and select the volumes from the list.
  2. Click the "Save Selected to Folder" button.
  3. Select the destination for the saved volumes from the tree view.
  4. The file name for each volume is the name of the document followed by the name of the volume. For example, a file called Literature.bbx with two volumes, one preliminary and one normal, would automatically have two saved brfs: One called Literature_preliminary1.brf and the other called Literature_volume1.brf.
    Browse for folder dialog
  5. Volume types include Preliminary and Supplemental (identified as Preliminary or Supplemental plus the number of the volume) or Normal (which is identified as Volume plus the number of the volume). Volume type is determined when the volume is inserted (see Insert Volume).

Save All to Folder: Utilizing this button will save all volumes to a single folder as individual BRFs.

Print

Shortcut: Ctrl + P

Sends the file to a printer.

Emboss

Opens up a dialog of available embossers, and works just like the Windows dialog for printing a document.

Braille Preview

Shortcut: Alt + Home

The Braille Preview is the display of the file as it appears as a Braille Ready File (BRF). BRF is the file format used to emboss the document. The difference between the two is that the Braille preview conforms to both view Braille or view ASCII settings. By definition, a BRF is always in braille.

The Braille Preview displays in Dual View mode. This mode displays the braille pages in the same sequence as they are embossed, meaning the odd-numbered pages are on the right and the even-numbered pages are on the left. This ensures that the content is on the correct facing pages. Even single-sided materials will be displayed with this layout. If you are working with a single-sided document, ignore the distinction between left and right pages.

  • To set the Braille Preview to display Unicode, select the box "Display as Unicode." Do this if you want to view braille in the preview but the Braille view is set to ASCII print. Additionally, Unicode characters are more reliable if you need to copy and paste content into other programs.
    Braille Preview screen showing location of Display as unicode option
Finally, the text can be navigated in three ways:
  • Print Page Number‒the number inside the page tags in the XML
  • Braille Page Number‒the number assigned to the page by BB based on the formatting of the document (including t-pages and p-pages)
  • Raw Page Number‒the braille page number with no regard to formatting
    Braille Preview screen showing location of page number and page number options

Raw page numbers identify the pages to a printer when individual pages need to be reprinted due to corrections made. How you navigate the document depends on how the document is formatted within BB (how many t-pages, p-pages, etc.).

Example: The second page of the main body of a document could have a print page number of b1, a braille page number of 2, and a raw page number of 30. The number displayed is updated as the page number type is changed.

Split

The Split option allows the user to divide the source file into two or more separate files, so that different parts of the book can be transcribed by multiple transcribers at the same time.

File menu with Split menu item highlighted
Choosing this menu option opens a prompt asking the user to confirm the action.

Warning pop-up asking user to confirm that they wish to divide the document
Click Yes to continue. This opens the Split Book screen.
  • In the left pane, the divisions of the book can be displayed by clicking the title (or Untitled).
  • The right pane shows the designated part break numbers and locations.
  • BrailleBlaster automatically creates the beginning of the first part at the beginning of the book.

Split book screen showing the default starting point for Part 1
Split Book screen showing the complete book tree on left and parts column on the right, with the default starting location for Part 1 present

The book sections seen in the left-hand pane are automatically provided in the publisher's file.

  • Major sections may be further subdivided depending on the book.
  • This is indicated by a right-pointing arrowhead in the left margin before the section's name.
  • Click on the arrow to expand a list of subsections.
  • The print page number for each heading appears to the right of the arrow and begins with p. and is followed by a colon.

Below the list of sections is a panel labeled Create a New Part containing two buttons: Add Start and Cancel. Add Start will add the beginning of a new part to the pane on the right and will serve as the beginning of a new part when you divide. Cancel will cancel dividing the book and all changes done in this session will be cleared.

Bottom of Split Book screen with Add Start, Remove Start and Remove Section circled in red
  • This frame is divided into two columns: Part # and Part Starts At.
  • Part numbers are automatically generated, in numerical order, as new sections are added. Part numbers are assigned on the order of the print page numbers of each section. For example, a section for print page 1 will have a lower part number than a part beginning on print page 100.
  • The Part Starts At column indicates where the section begins.

The first part is automatically selected as the beginning of the file. Once the start point of the second part is selected, decide where the third and further parts (if any) begin. Each selected part contains all of the text up to the point where the next part begins. There is no maximum limit to the number of parts that can be designated, but a minimum of two is required.

  1. Decide where the second part begins.
  2. Click on the appropriate section in the list, then click Add Start. This automatically places the selected section in the right-hand frame of the window, under "Parts."

Using the screenshot below as an example, there are three parts selected from the various sections of the book.

  • Part 1 begins at "p. vi: Contributing Authors" and includes all the text up to the start of the section titled "p. 2: PART 1 SETTING EXPECTATIONS"
  • This begins a new part (Part II), which contains all of the text from PART 1 SETTING EXPECTATIONS to the beginning of the section "p. 754: PART 1 SETTING EXPECTATIONS" which in turn begins a third part.
  • Each of these parts is automatically assigned a number in the order they appear in the file.

Split Book screen showing three parts in the Parts column
Remove Section: This button is used to delete parts that are selected under the Parts frame.

Click on the check box of the part or parts to be deleted. Then click the Remove Section button. The selected sections are removed from the list of parts. Note that this action removes the section entirely.

Split Book screen with Part 3 of four parts checked and Remove Section circled in red
In the example above, when Part 3 is selected to be removed, Part 4 "moves up" to that spot, and becomes the new starting point for Part 3.

Split Book screen showing that Part 3 was removed and the previous Part 4 moved up into the Part 3 location
Divide Book: Once the desired number of parts are chosen and designated, the book is ready to be split. Click this button to begin the splitting process.

Bottom of Split Book screen with Divide Book circled in red
Once clicked, BrailleBlaster takes a few moments to work as it processes the different parts into separate files. When completed, the view returns to the main BrailleBlaster window. Note: This return to the main editing interface is the only indication that the operation is completed. Once this has occurred, you can locate the created files in the folder where the original file was located.

Cancel: Click this button to exit the Split Book window. Performing this action removes all of the part divisions you may have selected.

Bottom of Split Book screen with Cancel button circled in red

Split Part Files

The split part files are saved into the same directory as the original book file. Each part is saved as a separate .bbx file with the original file name plus the part number. These files can then be opened separately in BB, allowing different sections of the same book to be worked on by different transcribers.

File folder showing the individual .bbx files as created by the split operation
In addition to the split part files, a manifest file is also created automatically as part of the splitting process. This file is named the same as the original file with the addition of "_manifest" at the end. It has the file extension .mnf (manifest). This file is necessary for merging split parts back into a single file, and is used in the Merge function, as described below.

File folder with manifest file circled in red

Merge

To merge files, follow these steps:

  1. Click on File, then Merge.
    File menu with Merge menu item highlighted
    This opens the following prompt:
    Merge dialog requesting that the user load the manifest file
  2. Click OK to continue. This opens an "Open" file selection window, which defaults to the location where the original file is saved.
    Note: Because only files with the .mnf can be opened using Merge, only these files are shown in the window. However, in order for the merge to work, all of the .bbx part files must also be present in this same folder.
    File folder showing the location of the manifest file to be uploaded
  3. Find and click on the manifest file for the split parts to be merged. This file is created automatically during the split volume process (see above) and has the original file name with the addition of "_manifest" at the end.
  4. Click Open to start the merge.
    Open file dialog showing the selected file name and the Open button circled in red
    Note: The split part files must be in the same folder as the manifest file for this function to work.

BrailleBlaster processes the files for a few moments then opens the new, merged document in the main BrailleBlaster window. This new file is automatically titled the same as the original file with "_merged" added to the end, and has a .bbx extension. The new file may now be edited and saved in BrailleBlaster in the usual manner.

File folder showing all the originally saved files and the new merged .bbx file circled in red
Note: As seen above, the merge operation does not remove the separate parts files. These remain in the folder and can be manually deleted as needed.

Close

Shortcut: Ctrl + W

Closes the current document. If more than one document is open it closes the selected document.

Exit

Shortcut: Ctrl + Q

Closes the BrailleBlaster program.

Edit

Menu bar with Edit circled in red
Menu bar with Edit highlighted and drop down revealed

Cut

Shortcut: Ctrl + X

Removes selected (highlighted) text and temporarily saves it to the system; only works in the text view.

Copy

Shortcut: Ctrl + C

Copies selected (highlighted) text and saves it to the clipboard; only works in the text view.

Paste

Shortcut: Ctrl + V

Inserts selected cut or copied text; only works in the text view.

Hide

Shortcut: Ctrl + H

There are instances in which elements and text should remain in the XML source file but should not appear in the braille translation. To remove only this content from the braille version:

  1. Highlight the text
  2. Select the "Hide" option

The content no longer appears in the Print view, Braille view, or Braille preview. The content also does not appear in the embossed braille.

Edit Production Notes

Production Note Viewer dialog
Edit Production Notes is a tool that was designed to manage production notes which typically are notes added by the publisher that are meant to assist with the physical production of the textbook. Usually they are concerned with information such as "Image spans to next page." and are not found in the actual print book. Since they are not usually in the print book, you will usually not want to include them in the braille version. This tool assists with their removal by displaying all of them in a list followed by three radio buttons. The three radio buttons are:

  1. Hide: Selected by default for all production notes, Hide will remove them from the braille translation but keep them in the file so they can be referenced in future versions of this file that might not be meant for braille.
  2. Keep: While production notes are not usually found in the actual print book, there is a chance that the text will have been impromperly labeled or is a useful picture description and so will actually be in the print book and you will need to keep it. Select the Keep option to keep the production note in the braille.
  3. Remove: Removes production notes entirely by deleting them from the file. Not recommended as they will not be recoverable after this action is taken.

At the top of the dialog there are also three radio buttons: Hide All, Keep All, and Remove All. These allow the same action to be taken for all production notes at once.

Undo

Shortcut: Ctrl + Z

Undoes the most recent action or edit.

Redo

Shortcut: Ctrl + Y

Redoes the most recently undone action or edit.

Edit Guide Word

When a guide word has been automatically added by BrailleBlaster, it is based on the term identified by the publisher as the "Glossary Term." This glossary term might be "The Democratic Republic of Congo," which likely does not fit as a guide word.

To edit the Guide Word:

  1. Highlight the term that needs to be changed.
  2. Either right click and select this tool from the Context menu or select the tool from the Edit menu.
  3. In the textbox dialog, type the replacement for the guide word. Using the example of "The Democratic Republic of Congo," you could type DRC, and then DRC would be the guide word for that entry.

Edit guide word dialog box
Note: If you use Edit Guide Word on a glossary term that is not at the top or bottom of the braille page, and therefore does not have a visible guide word, it still changes the guide word for that term but there is no visible change.

Note: The Edit Guide Word tool is only available if the term selected could potentially have a guide word. If you highlight a word outside of a glossary, for instance, this tool is greyed out.

For more information about formatting a glossary see Working with Alphabetic References.

Edit Page Number

The Edit Page Number tool edits page numbers in the Print view. This tool can also be accessed by right-clicking in the Print view and selecting "Edit Page Number."

Right click menu shown with Edit Page Number item highlighted
Page Number Editor dialog

CHANGE PREVIOUS PRINT PAGE INDICATOR

This textbox displays the print page number to be edited. The number or roman numeral displayed can be replaced with either a single page number or a combination of two print page numbers. This affects the first page number and all of the runovers.

RUNOVER PAGE NUMBERS

Once a hyphen is inserted into the Change Previous Print Page Indicator textbox, these options become available. These options are based on rules for print page numbers found in Braille Formats Principles of Print-to-Braille Transcription, 2011 (Braille Formats, 2011).

  • Combined: Combining two print page numbers causes the runover to appear as hyphenated numbers.

Example: The runover for print page number 5-6 is a5-6, b5-6, etc.

  • Implied: Implying two print page numbers causes the runover to be displayed as only the second print page number.

Example: The runover for print page number 1-5 is a5, b5, etc.

DELETE INDICATOR

This button deletes the print page number.

CHANGE PRINT PAGE NUMBER
  • Continuation Letter: You can use this textbox to change the Continuation Letter from what is shown (i.e., b) to whatever letter is needed (i.e., c). All page number runovers that follow automatically update accordingly. This is useful for blank page requirements for tactile graphics.
  • Page Number: Changes just that instance of the print page number. If a print page was inserted, your page numbering could go 2, a2, 3, b2 or whatever was required.

Note: Requires numbers be entered in ASCII.

CHANGE BRAILLE PAGE NUMBER
  • Page Number: This textbox allows for direct editing of the braille page number, including page number type; only affects the current instance of the braille page number.
  • Page Number Type: Changes the page number type for this braille page number until a new page number type is specified by the user.

Find and Replace

Shortcut: Ctrl + F

This command opens the Find/Replace dialog box. There are two text boxes: Find Text and Replace with.

Replace dialog showing location of the Find Text and Replace with text boxes

FIND TEXT

In this box you can type any character(s) you wish to search for. The drop-down arrow on the right of the text field allows you to see recently searched-for text.

Replace dialog showing the word "database" in the Find Text box, and a drop down of recently searched terms
Below the text box are two optional checkboxes: Case sensitive and Whole word.

Replace dialog showing Case sensitive and Whole word options checked
  • Case sensitive: If this box is checked, BrailleBlaster only searches for the text as you type it in regard to capitalization.
    Example: If you search for "THE" with Case sensitive checked, BrailleBlaster only finds instances of the fully capitalized characters "THE" and ignores any others.
  • Whole word: If this box is checked, BrailleBlaster only searches for instances of the text that are preceded and followed by a space, rather than instances of the characters within a longer word.
    Example: If you search for "the" with Whole word checked, BrailleBlaster only finds instances of "the" where it stands alone as a word, and ignores results like "theater," "them," "bathe," and so on.

Both boxes can be checked simultaneously if, for example, you wanted to search for all capitalized instances of the whole word "THE."

Replace dialog and BB indicating the location of the word THE in the Print view

REPLACE WITH

Replace with is used to replace text found throughout the document. You can replace one or as many occurrences as you like. For example, if you wanted to replace an instance of the word even with the word odd, you would type "even" in the Find Text box and "odd" in the Replace with box. Then click Find until you find the instance that needs replacing. If you wanted to replace all instances of the word even with the word odd, you would click the word Replace All.

Replace dialog with Match case check box circled in red
  • Match case: Checking this box replaces the found text and maintains the case of the original text.

Example: If you enter "even" in the Find box and "odd" in the replace box with Match case checked, "Even" is replace with "Odd" and "EVEN" with "ODD."

Note: This option only works with lowercase, all uppercase, and initial case but not with camel-capped words (BrailleBlaster) or oddly capped words (BrAiLLeBlASTer).

FIND

Click this button to find the next instance of the text you typed in the Find Text field.

Clicking Find does not change the document. The Find button moves through the document, selecting each instance of the specified text, and allowing you to alter it as needed on a one-by-one basis.

Note: You can have text in the Replace with field when you click Find.

Replace dialog with Find circled in red

Replace/Find

The Replace/Find button is used to replace the text entered in the Find field with text entered in the Replace with field. After finding the instance you wish to change, click Replace/Find to make the change. This changes only the individual, selected instance of text.

This function is useful if you only need to change a few instances throughout a document rather than all instances at once. Leaving the replace box empty allows you to delete the text found.

Find circled in red

REPLACE ALL

Clicking this button replaces all instances of the text specified in the Find Text field with the text specified in the Replace with field with one click. This can be useful if you know your document has a consistent, predictable pattern of needed changes.

Caution: When using this option, be sure to specify the exact text you want to replace throughout the document by using the appropriate Case sensitive or Whole word, and by formatting search options so that you only change the content that you want to change.

FORMATTING

Click this button to open the Formatting window. Here you see two columns: Style and Emphasis.

Formatting dialog showing location of Style and Emphasis Add radio buttons

STYLE

There are two radio buttons to choose from: Add and Remove.

  • Add: With Add selected, your search adds the selected format to any instances of the specified text in the Find/Replace dialog.
    Example 1: You can search for a word that was 1-3 by adding bold to the Find box and can change the style of that word to 1-5 by adding 1-5 to the Replace box.
    Example 2: You can leave the Find box blank but add Centered Heading to the Replace box to replace the style of the text found with a Centered Heading style, regardless of what style it had before.
  • Remove: The behavior of Remove is a little more complicated. If you have Remove selected and are adding to the Find box, this adds an instance of NOT that style. So you could search for Not 1-3.
    Note: You cannot remove a style. You must replace the style. Trying to remove a style in the Replace box results in an error dialog telling you that the action is not possible.
Below Style is a list of all of BrailleBlaster's braille formatting styles.
  • The list is in alpha-numeric order, so you can either scroll through the list or press the key on your keyboard of the first letter or number of the style needed to jump to that section of the list.
  • Once you find the style you want, click it, then click the Modify button below the list.
  • This adds the style to the text field at the bottom of the column.

Note: Only one style can be added or removed at a time. Clicking a different style and then the Modify button simply replaces the style selected in the bottom text box.

Formatting screen showing Style Add radio button selected and 11-9 selected from Style list

EMPHASIS

There are two radio buttons to choose from: Add and Remove.

  • Add: With Add selected, your search adds the selected emphasis to any instances of the specified text in the Find/Replace dialog.
    Example: You can search for a word that is bold by adding bold to the Find box and also add italics by adding italics to the Replace box.
  • Remove: The behavior of Remove is a little more complicated. If you have Remove selected and are adding to the Find box, this adds an instance of NOT that emphasis.
    Example: You can search for Not Bold. If you have Remove selected and are adding to the Replace box, this removes that type of emphasis from the text found. So you could search for a word or element that is bold by adding bold to the Find box, and then remove that bold by adding Remove Bold to the Replace box.

Below Emphasis is a list of emphasis and text attribute formats used in braille. These include font attributes such as bold, italics, underline, and script, as well as different modes of braille translation, such as direct translation and uncontracted braille.

  1. Select the emphasis attribute you want.
  2. Click the Modify button.

This adds the selected attribute to the field at the bottom of the column. In this column, you can select multiple attributes to find and replace. You must select each one individually, then click Modify. This adds the selection to those you have already selected.

Formatting screen showing 11-9 selected from Style column and ITALICS selected from Emphasis column
Once you have selected either the style or emphasis attribute you want (or both), click the Done button to return to the Find/Replace dialog. Now, you see the formatting options you selected below the Find Text and Replace with fields.

RESET: FORMATTING

Both Find and Replace have a Reset button next to the Modify button. Clicking this button removes any of the selected items in either the style or emphasis column and also removes any entries from that text box.

Example: Clicking the Reset button on the left side removes any items in the Find box as well as removes selection from both the style and emphasis columns.

Replace dialog showing "Even" to be replaced by "odd" and Whole word and Case sensitive options selected

RESET: FIND AND REPLACE

Click Reset to clear all selected formatting options and checkboxes. The most recently searched text remains in the Find Text and Replace with fields.

CLOSE

Click Close to close the Find/Replace dialog.

Shortcut: F3

If Find/Replace has been used at least once, this button repeats the last search that was initiated.

Remove Emphasis from Selection

Shortcut: Ctrl + E

If text is highlighted, this feature removes all emphasis from that highlighted selection. This works for whatever amount of text is selected: a few words, a few paragraphs, or several pages.

Remove All Emphasis from Headings

Headings do not usually need to be emphasized in braille. Using this option BB automatically removes all emphasis from headings in the document.

As with removing emphasis from lists items, the transcriber can either manually remove emphasis for each heading, or use this tool to remove all emphasis and add it back in where it is appropriate.

Note: It is advisable to save your work before using this feature.

Remove All Emphasis from List Prefixes

In print documents, the numbers or letters at the beginning of list items can appear in bold. This emphasis is usually considered unnecessary in braille and as such is removed in braille documents.

By selecting this option, BB searches the document and removes the emphasis from numbers and letters at the beginning of lists.

Examples (where emphasis would be removed):

1. List Item
2. List Item
3. List Item

Or

A. List Item
B. List Item
C. List Item

This operation is not foolproof, and it is possible that numbers or letters in list items other than those intended could be affected as well.
The two approaches are:

  1. Manually remove the emphasis for each appropriate number and/or letter; or
  2. Use the Remove Emphasis option and then add emphasis back to any numbers or letters where it was incorrectly removed.

It is up to the transcriber to decide which approach requires the least effort.

Note: It is advisable to save your work before using this feature.

Split Element

Shortcut: Enter

While your cursor is inside an element (piece of text), pressing enter will split that element into two elements. The new, second element will have the same style as the element that was split. This function may seem obvious since that is how text editors work- except BrailleBlaster is not a text editor, it just behaves like one.

Page Break

Shortcut: Ctrl + Enter

This feature forces everything after the cursor to the next braille page. Using this feature a second time at the same location will again force everything after the cursor to the next braille page which creates a blank braille page. You can then continue using this feature at the same cursor location to create blank braille pages as needed.

Menu bar with Navigate circled in red
Menu bar showing the Navigate menu items

Go To Page

Shortcut: Ctrl + G

Opens a window that allows you to select navigation to a:
  • print page,
  • braille page, or
  • ordinal page.

The ordinal page is the braille page without regard to formatting. For example, if there was a volume with 3 t-pages, 2 p-pages, and 100 regular pages the first regular page would ordinal page 6.

Go To Page dialog showing text box and the three page type options

Home

Shortcut: Ctrl + Home

Goes to the beginning of the document.

End

Shortcut: Ctrl + End

Goes to the end of the document.

Book Tree

The Book Tree navigation menu displays all of the headings in the file arranged according to hierarchy. This hierarchy is based on a combination of the Section tags and the braille headings applied either by the transcriber or by the publisher.

When first opened, only the document title is displayed, and you must click the caret to the left of the text to go to the next level.

Book Tree shown with non-expanded sections showing a right-facing angle bracket and expanded sections showing a downward angle bracket

View

Menu Bar with View circled in red
Menu Bar with View drop down menu shown

View Braille

Toggling this option allows you to switch between viewing braille to viewing the ASCII equivalent of braille. Choose whichever you prefer.

Refresh Translation

Shortcut: F5

Refreshes the entire translation. Can be used to force BB to update in order to clear out a rendering error.

Increase Font Size

Shortcut: Ctrl + '+'

Increases the size of the text in all views.

Decrease Font Size

Shortcut: Ctrl + "-"

Decreases the size of the text in all views.

Show Breadcrumbs

Close-up of breadcrumbs
Since the Style Pane only shows the style associated with the element, the breadcrumb viewer shows the different levels that are associated with that style. These include any containers like boxes or poetic stanzas and also section tags that were added by the publisher. Clicking on any of these buttons will select everything within that container.

Tools

Menu bar with Tools circled in red
Menu bar with Tools drop down menu shown

Spell Check

Shortcut: F7

Checks for misspelled words in the text being translated into braille.

Spell check can replace a single instance of an incorrectly spelled word, replace all instances of that word, skip that instance, ignore all instances, or add the word to the dictionary.

Spell Check dialog showing text box with found incorrect spelling and suggested change

T-Page Generator

In BrailleBlaster, transcriber-generated pages are created using the T-Page Generator. This tool allows you to insert the necessary information and copy it to subsequent volumes as necessary. It also puts each volume's t-pages in the appropriate location by finding the volume divisions created by the user and putting the t-pages at the beginning of them.

Note: The T-Page Generator is most useful when volume divisions have already been added to the document.

T Page Generator dialog showing the four tabs across the top, and the Title Page 1 tab selected
Note: The following buttons are located at the bottom of the T-Page generator dialog and are persistent across each of the four tabs in the dialog.

Bottom of T Page Generator dialog showing Previous Volume, Next Volume, and Copy Current Volume buttons

VOLUME NAVIGATION: PREVIOUS VOLUME AND NEXT VOLUME

These options allow the user to move between created volumes to review, add, or edit content in the transcriber-generated pages. While a single volume's information can be copied to all volumes at once, individual changes or edits must be done one volume at a time.

COPY CURRENT VOLUME
This option copies the current volume information to all other existing volumes. The information copied includes:
  • the title page,
  • the second title page,
  • the Special Symbols page, and
  • the Transcriber's Notes page.

This does not take effect until the user clicks Ok.

OK

This feature inserts the information from the transcriber-generated pages into the document and closes the window. Once the information has been inserted into the volume, it should only be edited via this window.

CANCEL
This option closes the current window without saving changes you have made to the t-pages.
  • Only use this option if you do not want to save the data you have entered.
  • Be sure to click Ok when you want to save the changes.
TITLE PAGE 1

Each element of the braille title page is labeled by the name used in Braille Formats, 2011.

Enter the text for each element into the appropriate text box. BrailleBlaster automatically adds blank lines as needed between the sections so that the title page is formatted according to Braille Formats, 2011.

Sections that need to be filled out:
  • Title
  • Author(s)
    T Page generator dialog showing Title and Author(s) text boxes
  • Printing (the printing history of the document being transcribed)
  • Publisher
    T Page Generator dialog showing text boxes for entering Printing and Publisher information
  • Transcription (the "Transcribed by" information required by Braille Formats, 2011)
  • Volumes (the Volume and Page information required by Braille Formats, 2011)
    T Page Generator dialog showing text boxes for entering Transcription and Volumes information

Font Attribute Drop-down menu: This menu allows you to add font attributers to material in the title page text boxes.

  1. Highlight the text you want to edit.
  2. Click the drop-down menu.
  3. Select the font attribute(s) you want.
  4. Click Apply.

T Pages dialog showing location of font attribute menu and drop down menu

Change Translation: Clicking this button opens up a drop-down menu with two choices: Uncontracted or Direct. These options allow you to set a portion of text to be in uncontracted braille, or to translate direct ASCII braille, respectively.

  1. Highlight the text you want to change.
  2. Click Change Translation.
  3. Select which style you want.
  4. Click Ok.

The style of braille is applied to the selected text. A purple highlight around the text indicates Uncontracted, while a dark red highlight indicates Direct.

T Page Generator dialog showing location of Change Translation button and pop-up of translation options

TITLE PAGE 2

Use this text box to insert a secondary title page, which may be required based on the braille format and the publishing house standards for which the braille is being created.
T Page Generator dialog showing Title Page 2 tab selected

Create Heading: This option allows you to set a portion of highlighted text as a centered heading.

  1. Select the text you want as a heading.
  2. Click Create Heading.
  3. Select Centered from the drop-down menu.
  4. Click Ok.

The selected text is now treated as a centered heading. Note that in the text box, the text does not appear centered, but appears slightly larger than the default text size.
T Page Generator dialog on Title Page 2 tab, showing Heading type pop-up with Centered selected

SPECIAL SYMBOLS

Use this window to add symbols for the Special Symbols page. The Special Symbols heading is added automatically if symbols are inserted on this page.
T Page Generator dialog with Special Symbols tab selected and showing columns for Symbol and Description

Add: Add opens a dialog box with addition options to select: Type, ASCII Symbol, Description, and Pick From List.

  • Type: An entry on the Special Symbols page can either be a symbol or a heading. The type is changed using this drop-down menu. Under UEB (Unified English Braille), most entries are symbols, as headings are no longer necessary.
    Add New Special Symbol dialog with Type menu shown and Symbol selected
  • ASCII Symbol: Type in the ASCII print letters of the symbol that should appear on the Special Symbols page, and it is translated directly into the braille.
    Add Special Symbol dialog with Symbol selected as type and "_4" entered in ASCII textbox
  • Description: Type in the description of the symbol, as it is required, and it is translated according to the braille tables selected.
    Add Special Symbol dialog with Symbol selected as Type, "_4" entered for ASCII, and "Bullet" entered as Description
  • Pick from list...: Click this button to open a dialog box with a list of common braille special symbols. With this option, you can quickly add a single symbol as needed. The symbols are shown in ASCII characters in the left column, with their associated description in the right column.
  1. Select the symbol you want.
  2. Click Ok. This returns you to the Add New Special Symbol dialog and places the symbol you chose in the dialog fields of the box.
  3. Click Ok to insert the chosen symbol into the list.

Select dialog showing a list of common symbols which can be added
Edit: Use this option to edit a previously entered symbol.

Special Symbols dialog showing Bullet highlighted and location of Edit button at bottom left of dialogue
Edit symbol dialog

Delete: Deletes the selected symbol.
Special Symbols dialog showing Bullet selected and location of Delete button in bottom center of dialogue

Move Up/Move Down: Allows the user to manually rearrange the symbols based on the necessary braille format rules.
Special Symbols dialog showing an item selected and the Move Up button highlighted at bottom right of dialogue
Special Symbols dialog showing an item selected and the Move Down button highlighted at bottom far right of dialogue

Rearrange: Automatically rearranges the symbols in order of complexity, in accordance with UEB rules .
Special Symbols dialog showing location of Rearrange button at bottom left of dialogue
System pop-up alerting that the table will be arranged by cell complexity according to Braille Formats 2014, and prompting the user to continue
Special Symbols dialog showing the new order

Insert Prefix...: Click this button to open a dialog box that allows you to add a prefix symbol to all symbols in your list. This is useful when transcribing material in UEB, which requires the "dot locator for mention" symbol to appear before each symbol on the special symbols page.

The text box defaults to showing the ASCII characters for the dot locator symbol (.=).
Prefix dialog showing .= entered into the textbox

  • Include prefix in list: Check this box to add the prefix symbol itself into the list of special symbols. This is useful for transcriptions in UEB which require the dot locator for mention symbol to be listed on the special symbols page. By default, this option is unchecked.
    Prefix dialog showing Include prefix in list box checked and a Description entered
    Special Symbols dialog showing newly added prefix symbol included in the list
  • Symbol/Description: This text box becomes editable when you have checked the Include prefix in list box. Here, you can edit the symbol's description if needed. It defaults to "Dot locator for mention" unless changed.</li>
  • Make Default: Click this button to save any changes you have made in the dialog to appear by default in all future BrailleBlaster files.
  • Ok: Click Ok to confirm changes and add the prefix symbol to each special symbol in your list and to the list itself, if you have checked the associated box.

Autofill: Clicking this button opens a new window with two radio buttons labeled Volume X only and All volumes, with X being the volume the cursor is currently in.

The All volumes button is selected by default.
Autofill dialog with All Volumes radio button selected

  1. Select the radio button appropriate to your needs.
  2. Click Begin.
    • With All volumes selected, BrailleBlaster detects all special symbols throughout all the volumes of the book.
    • With Volume X only selected, BrailleBlaster detects all special symbols in that volume of the book.
  3. BrailleBlaster searches for and processes the symbols found in the selected volume(s).
    • When it has finished, the final line reads "Completed special symbol search."
      Autofill dialog showing the list of found symbols
  4. Click Continue. This opens up a Summary screen that shows all of the special symbols BrailleBlaster found, shown in ASCII (left column) and with their appropriate descriptions (right column).
    Complete list of special symbols found with Finish and Cancel buttons at the bottom of the dialog
  5. Click Finish to close this window and return to the Special Symbols tab of the T-page generator.

The symbols BrailleBlaster found are now added to the list in.
Special Symbols tab of T Page generator with symbols shown

Auto Fill Options...: Clicking this button opens up a window that displays all the current special symbols in the list (shown in ASCII). There are six buttons below the list: Add, Edit, Delete, Save, Cancel, and Restore Default.
Special Symbols dialog showing list of symbols and action buttons

  • Add: Clicking this opens up a dialog box with two blank fields: Symbol and Description. Here you can add your own special symbol (in ASCII) and its description. This is useful if you are using an unusual or original symbol (such as a transcriber-defined symbol) or if BrailleBlaster failed to detect a symbol in Autofill.
    Add special symbol dialog box showing text box for adding symbol and description
    • Edit Rules: This button opens up a window with three buttons: Add new rule, Ok, and Cancel.
      Pop-up for Add new rule showing Add New Rule, Ok, and Cancel buttons
      1. Click Add new rule. This displays a drop-down menu containing 12 conditional phrases.
        Edit Special Symbols Rules dialog showing drop-down menu of rule options
      2. Select your Option. To the right of the drop-down menu is a dialog labeled Option. This box is unselectable for most of the options in the drop-down menu, except the following: Followed_By, Not_Followed_By, Preceded_By, and Not_Preceded_By.
      3. When any of these options are selected, you can type in the Options box.
      4. You can use this to tell BrailleBlaster to look for certain ASCII symbols preceding or following the symbol to help define it from surrounding text.
        Example: If you have a symbol that uses the symbols 77 in ASCII, you can add the rule Not_Followed_By 7 (ASCII symbol) to prevent BrailleBlaster from interpreting braille box lines as the symbol you are defining.
      5. You can check the Always box to instruct BrailleBlaster to always interpret the symbol with the selected rule.
        Edit Special Symbols Rules dialog with NOT_PRECEDED_BY selected, 77 entered in Option textbox and Always checkbox checked
      6. When you are satisfied with the rule you've selected, click Add. This returns you to the previous window.
        Edit Special Symbols Rules dialog showing previously entered rule with Delete, Add new rule, Ok, and Cancel buttons
    • From here, you can delete any rule(s) you have added, or add more rules.
    • Once you have added all the desired rules, click Ok to return to the previous window.
    • Click Add to add the symbol to your list, along with any rules you defined for it.
  • Edit: This feature allows you to select a symbol in ASCII and change the description.
    • Click on a symbol in the list.
    • Click the Edit button. This opens a dialog box that allows you to change the symbol you selected manually in ASCII and change the description.
      Special Symbols dialog with Edit button highlighted
      Edit symbol dialog showing symbol and description text boxes filled
  • You may also click Edit Rules to change the rules in which the symbol is detected by BrailleBlaster (as explained under Add above).
    Edit Special Symbols Rule pop-up showing Add new rule, Ok, and Cancel buttons
    Click Save to save changes, or click Cancel to close the window without saving.
  • Delete: Select a symbol from the list, then click this button to delete it from the list.
    Special Symbols dialog showing an item selected and the Delete button highlighted
  • Save: Click Save to close the special symbols list, saving any changes you have made (such as adding new symbols, adding or changing rules for specific symbols, deleting symbols, or editing symbols/descriptions). This returns you to the Special Symbols tab of the T-page generator, with all your symbols displayed in the list.
  • Cancel: Click Cancel to close the Symbols window and return to the Special Symbols tab of the T-page generator without saving any changes.
  • Restore Default: Clicking this button opens a Confirmation window informing you that this action deletes all custom special symbols, and asks you to click yes or no.
    System confirmation pop-up asking for for confirmation to delete all custom special symbols, and Yes and No buttons
    Clicking yes removes all symbols you have added or edited through any of the functions described above. All default symbols (detected and created by BrailleBlaster) remain. Click no to cancel and return to the Special Symbols List window.
TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

Click on the Transcriber's Notes tab to open the transcriber's notes section of the T-page generator. This window is very similar to the Title Page 2 tab of the T-page generator, in that it has a single, editable text field with a drop-down menu for font attributes, a Change Translation button, and a Create Heading button.

The text "TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES" is automatically placed in the text box as a heading (this default text appears as a centered heading in the Braille and Print views, but is left-aligned in this window). You can type or copy/paste any necessary transcriber's notes for the volume(s) here.

Each new paragraph after the heading defaults to body text style (3-1 indent/runover).

T Page Generator dialog showing the Transcriber's Notes tab selected

HOW TO ADD T-PAGES TO VOLUMES USING THE T-PAGE GENERATOR

Before beginning, it is best to have volume divisions already created so that you can easily copy the t-page information from one volume to the next. The T-Page Generator works with a single-volume file, but if the file will eventually be split into multiple volumes, it is best to insert those volume breaks before using the T-Page Generator so work is not repeated.

  1. Open the T-Page generator from the Tools menu.
    • There are four tabs, Title Page 1, Title Page 2, Special Symbols, and Transcriber's Notes.
    • Under the first tab, Title Page 1, there are six editable fields: Title, Author(s), Printing, Publisher, Transcription, and Volumes.
    • Beginning with the Title field, insert the appropriate information for the book.
      • This can either by typed by hand in the field itself, or it can be copied and pasted from another file (such as a NIMAS file or Word document).
        Note: You cannot select text in BrailleBlaster while the T-page generator dialog is open. If any font attributes are required, you can edit these from the drop-down menu, selecting the one you want, and then clicking Apply. You can do the same with the Change Translation button for inserting uncontracted braille or direct ASCII braille.
      • Proceed through each field, inserting the appropriate information in each.
  2. Click on the Title Page 2 tab.
    • Insert any information here as required by the book or by your agency.
    • You can also alter the font attributes and braille contraction/direct settings just as you could in the Title Page 1 tab, as well as inserting headings as needed with the Create Heading button.
      Note: Many braille books do not contain a secondary title page. If your book does not, you can simply leave the field blank and move on to step 3.
  3. Skip the Special Symbols tab for now. Once all other information is entered you are copying this info to all other volumes, and this step does not apply to the Special Symbols tab since each volume's special symbols are usually unique.
  4. Click on the Transcriber's Notes tab in the T-page generator dialog.
    • You see an editable field with the words TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES at the top.
    • Anything in this field is editable, including the TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES heading.
      Note: The TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES heading is defaulted to centered even though it doesn't appear to be in the field. Also, each new paragraph after the heading automatically begins in body text (cell 3 with runovers on cell 1).
    • Use this field to insert any transcriber's notes for the volume.
    • Once completed, move on to step 5.
  5. If you are satisfied with all changes to your t-pages (all but the Special Symbols tab), click Copy Current Volume. This tells BrailleBlaster to add all the information you've compiled in the T-page generator to all volumes of the book. Alternatively, if you only wish to add t-pages to a single volume, skip this step.
  6. Click on the Special Symbols tab. If you are not transcribing in UEB, you can skip steps a through d unless your agency requires special prefixes on the special symbols page.
    • Click on the Insert Prefix button before adding any symbols to the list. This opens up a dialog box. This box lets you control what, if any, prefix symbol comes before each symbol on the Special Symbols page. This is especially useful for transcriptions in UEB which requires the "dot locator for mention" symbol to precede each symbol on the list. The dialog box defaults to this symbol (.= in ASCII) in the Prefix field.
    • Check the Include prefix in list box to automatically add this symbol to the list of special symbols (required in UEB ).
    • Under the Symbol Description field, you can change the definition of the symbol. The default is set to "Dot locator for mention."
    • Once you are satisfied with the options you've selected, click OK. This returns you to the T-page generator Special Symbols tab. The dot locator for mention symbol is now added to the list of symbols.
    • Click the Auto Fill button. This opens a dialog box with two radio buttons, Volume [x] only and All Volumes.
      • The All Volumes button is selected by default. The "x" in the Volume [x] Only button shows the volume number you currently have selected in the T-page generator dialog.
      • Use the Volume [x] Only button if you need to apply symbol(s) to a specific volume only, without making any changes in other volumes. This is useful if, after generating your special symbols pages across all volumes, you had to create a transcriber-defined symbol that came up in the text in a single volume, but didn't want to add it to all your volumes.
    • After selecting which option you want, click Begin. BrailleBlaster searches the document and finds all symbols it recognizes as special symbols in braille.
      • Once complete, you see a line at the bottom of the dialog list that reads "Completed special symbol search."
      • Click Continue. A new dialog appears that reads "The following special symbols were found:" and lists the symbols BrailleBlaster has detected, broken down by volume.
      • Click Finish to close this dialog and return to the Special Symbols tab of the T-page generator.
    • A list of all the symbols you have added is displayed, in order of least complex symbol to most complex. You may edit any of these symbols using the Edit button, add your own using the Add button, delete any with the Delete button, and move a symbol up or down in the list using the Move Up and Move Down buttons. Once you are satisfied with the order and arrangement of your symbols list, move on to step 7.
  7. Click OK. This closes the t-page generator dialog, and BrailleBlaster processes the new pages you've created. When complete, you see the new pages inserted at the top of the volume. If you need to edit any information in the t-pages, open the T-page generator and use it to make any needed changes.
    Note: Do not edit t-pages directly in the Print views.

Correct Braille Translation

Shortcut: Ctrl + T

BB was created with the goal of continuously expanding and improving the software by allowing users to correct braille translations if they find an incorrect translation.

  • To find out more, check out the LibLouis website ($).
  • The most often needed corrections are for Unicode characters (i.e., Unicode: U + 25B6), proper nouns, and non-English words, though you may find an actual mistake on occasion.
  • When you encounter an undefined Unicode character in the translation, the Unicode image appears in the Print view, but the Unicode name appears in the Braille view.
  • This ensures quick and easy recognition of undefined characters.

To define the character:

  1. Highlight the character in the Print view.
  2. Select Correct Braille Translation from the menu or use the hotkey Ctrl + T. This brings up both a menu that displays the print word in a textbox entitled Print and a braille textbox for entering the correct translation of the character.
    There are also two option buttons at the top of the window: Define New Character and Correct Word.
  3. For a new character, select the Define New Character option. OR
    To correct a proper noun or foreign word, select the Correct Word option.
    Note: The braille textbox also allows for either traditional six-key or ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) input.
  4. Click Save Translation Locally to save to a locally designated file on your computer; or
  5. Click Save Translation Globally, to save to your local file and submit the correction to APH. APH reviews the change for the future BrailleBlaster releases and to share with others who use LibLouis.
    This process of continuing improvement of the translation tables helps braille readers around the world receive timely, accurate braille.

Correct Braille Translation dialog showing Choose correct word or define character radio buttons, and Print textbox, and Choose entry method for braille with Six Key and ASCII radio buttons, and text box to enter Braille

VIEW YOUR CORRECTIONS

Clicking this button opens a view of your corrections listed in alphabetic order. Corrections can then be edited or deleted as needed.

Note: the corrections in the screenshot below are incorrect for UEB and are just examples.

Corrected Translations dialog showing four corrected terms

Six Key Input

Shortcut: F6

This tool opens a separate window where you may type braille directly using FDS and JKL as the 6 dots of braille.

Letter Dot Number
F 1
D 2
S 3
J 4
K 5
L 6

If you find this feature doesn't work for you, it is most likely your keyboard. Not all keyboards allow more than one letter to be pressed at a time.

Six Key Input dialog showing textbox with entered braille shown
After the braille is typed, press enter and it is inserted into the document as direct translated ASCII.

Sample ASCII translated text
This ASCII is then directly translated into braille as what you typed in the text box.

Braille equivalent display of entered ASCII terms

Line Number Tools

This tool adds a set of options to the toolbar that allows you to add line numbers to the document.

This tool is primarily used for line numbered prose. It can be used for poetry as well, but poetry line numbering is typically interpreted automatically by BrailleBlaster. See Poetry for more information.

After selecting Line Number Tools, several fields and buttons appear on the toolbar. The first is the Wrap Prose button (shortcut: Ctrl + F2).

Wrap Prose button with Line Number and Increment by textboxes shown

WRAP PROSE

Shortcut: Ctrl + F2

In order for BrailleBlaster to recognize the line numbers, the text in which they appear must first be wrapped in a Prose tag.

Note: This must be done in order for line numbers to show up in the Print and Braille views.

  1. In the style pane, click the tags of the text where you want the line numbers displayed. This could be a section tag or a single paragraph. Additionally, you can highlight your selection in the print view.
  2. Click the Wrap Prose button.
    • This wraps the selected text in a Prose tag.
    • This tag has no other effect on the text beyond allowing it to display line numbers.
  3. Once the text is wrapped, insert the line numbers as described below.

Wrap Prose button
The next field is Line Number followed by an editable text field. Use this field to set the initial line number you wish to appear in the text. Line numbers cannot have greater than 10 digits. The default is 1.

Line Number textbox
Next is Increment by followed by an editable text field. This field allows you to set the increment by which all line numbers after the first appear. The default is 1.

Example: With the Increment by field set to 5, each time you insert a line number after the first, the number increases by 5 (5 for the second line number, 10 for the third line number, 15 for the fourth line number and so on).

Line Number 4
Last is the Insert button (shortcut: F2).

Use this button to quickly insert line numbers in their appropriate places according to the text.

  1. Select the point in the text where you wish to insert the line number.
  2. Press F2.

This places a line number tag in the Style view which automatically adjusts based on the settings you specified in the Line Number and Increment by fields.

Example: On the default setting (line number 1 and increment by 1), the first time you press F2, line number 1 is inserted. The second time you press F2, line number 2 is inserted, and so on.

Insert button

LINE NUMBERED POETRY

BrailleBlaster is usually able to automatically insert line numbers for poetry based on the structure of the publisher's file. However, when needed, you can enter these numbers manually.

  1. Select the section of poetry you wish to display line numbers, just as you would select the section of prose as described above.
  2. Click the Poetry button on the toolbar to open the Poetry menu.
  3. Click Poetic Stanza. This command wraps the selected text with the poetic stanza tag, which has the same effect on poetry as the prose tag does on prose text.
    Note: Poetic Stanza also adds blank lines to the text. If you need line numbers but no extra blank lines, use the Prose tag as described above.
  4. Add line numbers as needed using the Insert button (or F2) on the Line Number Tool toolbar.
EDIT LINE NUMBER

BrailleBlaster allows you to edit or even remove line numbers from text as needed.

  1. Click on the line of text that contains the line number you wish to edit.
  2. Click Edit Line Number (or press F4). This opens the Edit Line Number window.
  3. In the editable text field, type the number you wish to edit the line number to (or delete it if removing the line number completely), and then click Apply. This applies the change to the line number.
  4. Click Previous or Next to cycle through the other line numbers in the wrapped section of text and edit as needed as described above. Clicking these buttons will also apply any change you have made to the line number.
  5. If BrailleBlaster cannot find any more line numbers, the Edit Line Number window will automatically close.
  6. When finished with all edits in the section, click DONE exit the Edit Line Number window and return to BrailleBlaster.

Table Editor

When a table is selected, this option opens the Table Editor window as detailed in the Insert Table section above. Information in the Table fields appears automatically according to the tagged text, and can be edited, formatted, and altered as described in the Insert Table section.

Note: To use this tool, the cursor must be placed inside text tagged as a table. Otherwise, BrailleBlaster will generate the error pop-up "Cursor is not on table."

Change Translation

This menu item offers three translation options for a selection of text: Uncontracted, Contracted, and Direct. Right-clicking on a selection of text adds this item to the Context menu.
  • Uncontracted: Does not use contractions and follows grade 1 rules.
  • Contracted: Uses contractions and follows grade 2 rules.
  • Direct: Presents the literal ASCII translation of the selected text.
    • Direct translation is sometimes necessary when you need to force the translation to appear a certain way but BB does not allow it otherwise.
      Note: Direct translation "locks in" the translation and reduces your ability to reuse the same BBX file to produce a different braille code translation, for example, convert UEB to EBAE (English Braille American Edition).

TOC Builder

The TOC Builder improves the creation of the Table of Contents (TOC) by speeding up and simplifying the process. It makes available a set of tools that not only apply the necessary margins and guide dots of a TOC but also automates the process of dividing the TOC between volumes. It is located in the Tools menu and when used opens a new set of tools on the toolbar.

TOC Tools menu bar

AUTOMATIC DIVISION OF TOC
This process is detailed more in the Regenerate Volume TOC section of this document, but it is an important distinction to note:
  • Each of the TOC styles, including both TOC Entries and Headings, a repeated in both Volume 1 and in the volume to which that TOC element pertains. For example, all elements with TOC styles that appear after the Volume 2 division appear in both Volume 1 and Volume 2, according to the rules of Braille Formats, 2011.

If you need an element to appear with TOC formatting, but not to be repeated in subsequent volumes, use the Guide Dots style and List styles instead of the TOC Builder tools.

TOC ENTRY (F4)
This feature formats the element where the cursor is located, either in the Print or Style views, as a TOC Entry.
  • Margins, blank lines, and if present, the page number are all formatted as a TOC entry according to the rules of Braille Formats, 2011.
  • The margins are determined by the numbers inserted in the two text boxes to the right and the page number is identified automatically.

Notice how differently TOC Entry styles appear in the Style view from normal Style view elements:

Section of TOC in Style View showing TOC tags highlighed in green and non-TOC tags highlighted in gray
A normal centered heading style is displayed in a grey box with black text and a Centered Heading tag. The TOC Centered Heading is displayed in a green box with black text and a TOC Centered Heading tag.

This same color scheme applies to styles. For example, a list item is displayed in a grey box and says L1-3, while a TOC item is in a green box and says T1-3.

Notice that the page number has been identified as TOC Page in a green box.

Indent: Insert a number into this text box to determine the first line indent of the element. Entering an invalid number results in a warning "Invalid indent" and the style is not applied.

Indent and Runover textboxes shown with Indent as 1 and Runover as 3
Runover: Insert a number into this text box to determine the runover of the element, (i.e., the margin of every line after the first line). Entering an invalid number results in a warning "Invalid runover" and the style is not applied.

TOC HEADINGS

A TOC Heading differs from a normal heading in that it is repeated in its appropriate volume.

CENTERED HEADING

This button applies a TOC Centered Heading to the element where the cursor is placed. This heading has a blank line before and after.

CENTERED HEADING NB

This button applies a TOC Centered Heading that doesn't have a blank line before or after.

FIND PAGE PREFIX
The TOC Builder automatically locates page numbers that are numbers or roman numerals. However, it is not able to automatically identify page numbers that include numbers and letters (e.g., C13, IN32, G5, etc.).
  • In order to find this kind of number, enter the appropriate letter in the Prefix text box.
  • The TOC Builder then finds both normal page numbers and page numbers preceded by the prefix letter.
  • The Find Page Prefix can also be used for pagination using letters only.

Find Page Prefix textbox

VOLUME SPLIT
This button inserts volume divisions into the TOC.
  • These volume divisions are used both to insert the appropriate text (Volume 1, Volume 2, etc) and also to identify which portions of the TOC correspond to which volume in the larger document (see Regenerate Volume TOC below).
    Note: These volume divisions are different from the volume divisions inserted throughout the document.

Volume Split button

REGENERATE VOLUME TOC

Once all volume divisions have been inserted in both the document as a whole (using Insert Volume Break) and in the TOC (using Volume Split), this button splits and repeats the volume divisions according to the rules of Braille Formats, 2011:

  • Volume 1 contains the entirety of the TOC.
  • Each subsequent volume only contains the entries and headings that are contained in the particular volume.

In order to be considered "contained" and also to be repeated, Volume Splits must be inserted; only TOC styles can be used. If a normal, non-TOC style is used, that element appears only in Volume 1 and not in subsequent volumes.

Regenerate Volume TOC button
Note: It is advisable to complete the following work before opening the TOC Builder:
  • Remove emphasis as necessary
  • Delete bullets as necessary
  • Format non-TOC elements that occur within the TOC (sidebars and extraneous information)
  • Insert volumes in the rest of the document using Insert Volume Break
BUILD A TOC USING THE TOC BUILDER
  1. Set Page Prefix
    • First set the page prefix, if applicable.
    • In the event that the document has two or more page prefixes, set the prefix that occurs first and remember to switch appropriately.
  2. Set and Apply TOC Margins
    • Set the runover of the entire TOC by deciding how many levels you think the TOC should be.
    • Type the appropriate runover into the text box.
      Example: A TOC with four levels has a runover of 9. This value does not need to be changed.
    • The indent changes, however. Recommendation: Set a specific indent, perhaps the most prevalent, and then format those elements first before changing the indent and formatting the rest.
      Example: In a TOC with two levels:
      • Set the runover as 5.
      • Set the indent as 1.
      • Format all of the entries that are level 1.
      • Set the indent as 3.
      • Format the rest of the entries.
    • Format entries by putting your cursor on the element you wish to format and clicking the TOC Entry (F4) button or by using the hotkey F4 with TOC Builder tools open.
      • The TOC Builder then applies the margins from the text box and also identifies the page number and applies the TOC Page Number style.
      • This pushes the page number to the right margin and applies guide dots according to the rules of Braille Formats, 2011.
  3. Insert TOC Volumes
    • Put your cursor at the end of the element that occurs before the first element of the next volume.
    • Press the Volume Split button
  4. Regenerate Volume TOC
    This button should be used last, only after volume divisions have been applied to the document as a whole and to the TOC itself, and after all TOC entries and headings have been applied. Clicking this button:
    • copies the portions of the TOC relevant to all volumes after volume 1 and
    • puts them after the t-pages in each volume.

Alphabetic Reference

There are many special rules for alphabetic references in braille that cause it to appear differently than it will in print. This makes it rather unique among print elements. For this reason there are several tools under this category. They are Add Uncontracted Glossary Items, Identify Guide Words, and Adjust Term/Definition Spacing.

ADD UNCONTRACTED GLOSSARY ITEMS

This tool is provided for cases in which uncontracted glossary terms are required by Braille Formats, 2011.

  1. Locate the glossary while in the Style view.
  2. Click the Section tag nearest the first or last glossary item. This should select the entire glossary.
  3. Scroll through to ensure the correct Section tag has been selected and that only the elements that require the uncontracted form have been selected.
  4. Click the Add Uncontracted Glossary Items button.

The uncontracted glossary term is inserted according to the rules of Braille Formats, 2011.

IDENTIFY GUIDE WORDS

Adds guide words to an element in an index or glossary. This can also be used to add guide words to an entire alphabetic reference or a single item in an alphabetic reference. See Selecting Entire Alphabetic Reference for more information.

This function has no effect on styles outside of the list or glossary categories.

ADJUST TERM/DEFINITION SPACING

Adjusts the space between a term and definition in a glossary. To use, first select an element that was either marked by the publisher as a term and definition or has its guide words identified by the Identify Guide Words tool and then activate this tool from the menu. A dialog box will appear with two radio buttons, one marked One and the other marked Two. Select One for one space between the term and definition and select Two for two spaces between the term and definition. It is most useful to select the entire alphabetic reference that needs to be edited rather than selecting each element one at a time.

Settings

BB menu bar with Settings circled
BB menu bar showing Settings menu drop-down

Page Settings

Settings dialog showing Page Properties tab selected and Page Size and Margins options

PAGE PROPERTIES

The options under the Page Properties tab adjust the page size or margins of the entire document.

Changing the page size alters both the size of the paper of the embossed braille and the braille margins on that page. Adjusting the page margins changes the margins around the braille on that page. It only affects the braille margins if there is not enough space to accommodate both the braille and page margins that have been selected.

TRANSLATION SETTINGS
Settings dialog showing Translation Settings tab selected and Standards and Selected Standard Settings options
  • Use this tab to select your braille translation code.
  • BrailleBlaster supports EBAE, EBAE Uncontracted, UEB, UEB Uncontracted, and UEB with Nemeth.
  • Braille cell standards also may be adjusted from NLS (used in the U.S.) to Small English (used in the UK).
  • Changing the translation code used automatically updates the translation tables that are pulled from LibLouis.
  • The different tables are displayed and can be used as a reference when reporting translation issues to APH.
PAGE NUMBERS
Settings dialog showing the Page Numbers tab selected and Braille, Print, Continue, and Guide Words settings
Braille:
  • Interpoint: This setting allows the user to change the location of the braille page number and select interpoint printing if necessary. When interpoint printing is selected, odd braille pages only appear on right-hand pages.
  • Location settings: The location of braille page numbers is set separately for the odd and even braille pages. The options are top-left, top-right, bottom-left, bottom-right, and none.
Print:
  • Location settings: Choose this setting to change the location of the print page number.
    • The location of print page numbers is set separately for the odd and even print pages.
    • The options are top-left, top-right, bottom-left, bottom-right, and none.
  • Continuation Symbols for Print Pages: This option sets whether continuation letters are used for print pages.
    • Continuation letters are used when the print page is longer than the braille page.
    • When that occurs, a letter is added to the beginning of the print page number. For example, print page 21 becomes print page a21, b21, and so on.

Continuation Symbol For Print Pages: Automatically set for Yes, this option sets whether or not a continuation letter appears before print page numbers when they continue past one braille page in length.

Continuation Grade 1 Indicator: Turning on this option causes a Grade 1 Indicator to appear between the continuation letter and the print page number if the print page number begins with a letter.

Note: This is not a rule in Braille Formats, 2011, but it is a convention. Therefore, it can be toggled on or off as the customer or printing house demands.

Continue Pages: This option sets whether braille page numbers continue from one volume to the next or if they reset.

Example: If this option is set to yes, and Volume 1 ends on braille page 119, then Volume 2 begins on braille page 121. If set for no, Volume 2 begins on braille page 1.

Guide Words: If Guide Words is set to "Yes," guide words are automatically added to the translation whenever the Glossary style is used.

If the Glossary style is not used in the document, changing this setting has no effect. Set Guide Words to "No" if the Glossary style is used but guide words are not needed.

Action Buttons: The three buttons at the bottom of the dialog are Ok, Make Default and Cancel.

  • Ok ‒ Applies the settings to the current document only
  • Make Default ‒ Applies settings to the current document and all future new documents
  • Cancel ‒ Exits dialog without saving changes

Emphasis

BB menu bar with Emphasis circled
BB menu bar with Emphasis drop-down menu shown
Emphasis can currently only be applied in BrailleBlaster to text that has already been created. Therefore, you must:
  • find or type the text,
  • highlight it, then
  • apply the emphasis desired using the menu item, hotkey, or toolbar button.

Each emphasis type is detailed in Rules of Unified English Braille, except for TN Symbols.

TN Symbols is a special emphasis that adds TN symbols at the beginning and end of the text to which it is applied. Adding this emphasis to three elements, for example, puts one TN symbol at the beginning of the first element and one TN symbol at the end of the last element.

Styles

BB menu bar with Styles circled
BB menu bar with Styles menu drop-down shown

Repeat Last Style

Shortcut: Ctrl + R

This action repeats the last style that was applied. If no style has been applied, and this feature is used, a popup appears letting you know there is no style to repeat.

Configure

Styles menu Configure option with Style Levels and 5 selected

STYLE LEVELS

This adjusts the number of style levels that appear in each drop-down that contains styles with multiple levels. The styles with multiple levels are the nested styles; lists, glossary, exercise, contents, and so on. The default number of levels is eight but some users might find they often need fewer levels or more levels.

STYLE LOADOUTS

Style loadouts are designed to make the transcription process faster and to offset the fact that there are not enough keys on the keyboard to make a hotkey for every style. Therefore, a loadout refers to either a section of styles or subsection of styles.

Please refer to the list of hotkeys for a complete list of all loadouts and their hotkeys.

Example of List Loadouts:
The List category has subsections because this is a nested style. Pressing Ctrl + Shift + L brings up a menu with the different levels of nesting. For example, choosing List 3 Levels sets all of the list styles in that subsection to a press of the Ctrl key and a number. So, for this loadout, Ctrl + 1 is L1-7, Ctrl + 2 is L3-7, and Ctrl + 3 is L5-7.

Style Loadouts dialog showing Lists as selected Style and options for levels of nesting, with List 3 Levels selected

Options

Styles menu with Options selected and sub menu shown
Style options allow the user to change the rules of a specific instance of a style.

DON'T SPLIT
This is the only style option that wraps other elements. It is used to keep the affected elements together on the same braille page.
  • Highlight the elements that need to be kept together and apply the style option through the menu.
  • If the selected elements do not fit on a single braille page, then the group moves to a new braille page; however, any text longer than that one braille page continues on to the next braille page.
KEEP WITH NEXT

Applying this style option to an element causes that element to stay with whichever element follows it. If the second element moves to a new braille page because of changes to formatting, the element that has Keep With Next applied to it also moves to that braille page.

LINES BEFORE/LINES AFTER

These style options, when applied to an element, cause that specific instance of the style to have the set number of lines either before or after. To apply this style, follow these steps:

  1. Select the desired element(s) by highlighting it.
  2. Click on the Lines Before/Lines After style option.
  3. In the pop-up window, enter the value (number of lines) before or after in the textbox.

Every style that begins on a new line already has a value of 1 for lines before and after. If you want that element to have a blank line before or after it, set the value as 2.

Styles that already have blank lines by default, such as Centered Headings, have a value of 2 for lines before and a value of 2 for lines after. To add an extra blank line before a Centered Heading, set the Lines Before value as 3.

PAGE SIDE
This style has two options: left or right.
  • Page Side Left: Applying this to an element causes that element to appear only on the left-hand side.
  • Page Side Right: Applying this causes that element to appear only on the right-hand side.

This is useful for setting graphics or material that needs to appear on facing pages. When formatting decisions cause an element or elements to move, they continue to appear where needed.

SKIP NUMBER LINES
This style determines whether the element should skip lines that contain page numbers. Options include:
  • Top: Prevents the element from appearing on the top line of the braille page
  • Bottom: Prevents the element from appearing on the bottom line of the bottom line
  • Both: Causes the element to skip both the top and bottom lines of the braille page
  • None: Removes other Skip Number Line options if they are no longer needed

Keep in mind that even if None is selected, when you have a running head or guide words, that element still skips those lines because they are reserved for those elements.

PAGE BREAK

Adds a page break between the text before the cursor and after the cursor putting the text after the cursor on a new braille page. Can be used multiple times to make blank braille pages and can also split elements. Shortcut: Ctrl+Enter.

NEW PAGE BEFORE/NEW PAGE AFTER

These style options are used to insert a blank braille page before or after the selected element. This ensures that formatting decisions made before this point in the document do not remove a blank page that the transcriber deems necessary.

GUIDE WORDS

This style option is used to turn off guide words for a single element or several elements but does not affect guide words elsewhere in the text. This is useful when guide words appear in a section where your printing house does not usually put them, but it is not feasible to turn off guide words in the Setting menu, because they are still needed in other areas of the document.

Style Options

Styles menu with Options selected and sub menu shown
Styles options menu buttons
Style menu items are found both in the Styles menu and as buttons on the toolbar.

Margins are presented as a hyphenated number with the indent listed first and the runover second. For example, a list item (which would be in 1-3) has an indent of 1 and a runover of 3. In other words, the first symbol of the element with this style appears in cell 1, and if a second line is needed, that line and all subsequent lines begin in cell 3.

Formatting is presented as though the style was inserted with no context. A lot of BrailleBlaster's formatting is contextual, and the styles conform to the rules laid out in Braille Formats, 2011. If you discover an instance where BrailleBlaster has incorrectly applied a style from Braille Formats, 2011, please notify us by email at brailleblaster.org.

Basic

Basic styles button and menu options

BODY TEXT

A simple indented paragraph.

  • Margins: 3-1
BLOCKED TEXT

A simple, left justified paragraph.

  • Margins: 1-1
CENTERED TEXT

Centered text with no automatic blank lines before or after.

  • Margins: Variable (centered)
DISPLAYED BODY TEXT

A displayed indented paragraph.

  • Margins: 5-3
  • Format: Blank lines before and after
DISPLAYED BLOCKED

A displayed, left justified paragraph.

  • Margins: 3-3
  • Format: Blank lines before and after
DISPLAYED 3-5

Used to display element that are normally 1-3.

  • Margins: 1-3
  • Format: Blank lines before and after

Captions

Captions styles button and menu options

CAPTION

Used to style captions. Still needs transcriber's notes symbols added if appropriate.

  • Margins: 7-5
DESCRIPTION

Used to style picture descriptions. Still needs transcriber's notes symbols added.

  • Margins: 7-5

Heading

Heading styles button and menu options

CENTERED HEADING
  • Margins: Variable (centered)
  • Format: Blank lines before and after
  • Special: Must be followed by other non-heading text (Keep With Next)
CELL 5 HEADING
  • Margins: 5-5
  • Format: Blank line before
  • Special: Must be followed by other non-heading text (Keep With Next)
CELL 7 HEADING
  • Margins: 7-7
  • Format: Blank line before
  • Special: Must be followed by other non-heading text (Keep With Next)

Lists

List styles button and menu options
The List styles are a nested style. So each style functions the same, in terms of formatting; the only difference being the margins.

  • Each List style is identified first with the letter L and then with the margins that are used for that instance of the style (L1-3, L1-5, L3-5, etc.).
  • They are organized by level, with each level indicating the number of styles available.

Level also affects the runover and formatting. For example, all Level 2s have a run-over of 5 and do not have a blank line between them, but there is a blank line between Level 2s and Level 3s.

  • Margins: Variable
  • Format: Blank lines before and after

Poetry

Poetry styles button and menu options
Poetic Stanza: Used to wrap poetry styles; forces a blank line between Poetry styles of the same level.

  • Margins: Not applicable
  • Format: Blank line before and after
  • Special: Needed to show line numbers in the print and braille if they are present in the Style view

The Poetry styles are a nested style. So each style functions the same in terms of formatting; the only difference being the margins.

  • Each Poetry style is identified first with the letter P and then with the margins that are used for that instance of the style (P1-3, P1-5, P3-5, etc.).
  • They are organized by level, with each level indicating the number of styles available.

Level also affects the runover and formatting. For example, all Level 2s have a runover of 5 and do not have a blank line between them, but there is a blank line between Level 2s and Level 3s.

  • Margins: Variable
  • Format: Blank lines before and after

Glossary

Glossary styles button and menu options
The Glossary styles are a nested style. So each style functions the same in terms of formatting; the only difference being the margins.

  • Each Glossary style is identified first with the letter G and then with the margins that are used for that instance of the style (G1-3, G1-5, G3-5, etc.).
  • They are organized by level, with each level indicating the number of styles available.

Level also affects the runover and formatting. For example, all Level 2s have a runover of 5 and do not have a blank line between them, but there is a blank line between Level 2s and Level 3s.

  • Margins: Variable
  • Format: Blank lines before and after
  • Special: Typically, the publisher has identified the term and the definition and so the term can be used automatically as a Guide Word. See Guide Words.

Exercise

Exercise styles button and menu options

DIRECTIONS

Used for the first paragraph of directions.

  • Margins: 5-5
  • Format: Blank line before
DIRECTIONS 7-5

Used for the second paragraph of directions.

  • Margins: 7-5
  • Format: Blank line before, unless preceded by Directions.

The Exercise styles are a nested style. So each style functions the same in terms of formatting; the only difference being the margins.

  • Each Exercise style is identified first with the letter E and then with the margins that are used for that instance of the style (E1-3, E1-5, E3-5, etc.).
  • They are organized by level with each level indicating the number of styles available.

Level also affects the runover and formatting. For example, all Level 2s have a runover of 5 and do not have a blank line between them, but there is a blank line between Level 2s and Level 3s.

  • Margins: Variable
  • Format: Blank lines before and after

Index

Index styles button and menu options
The Index styles are a nested style. So each style functions the same in terms of formatting; the only difference being the margins.

  • Each Index style is identified first with the letter I and then with the margins that are used for that instance of the style (I1-3, I1-5, I3-5, etc.).
  • They are organized by level, with each level indicating the number of styles available.

Level also affects the runover and formatting. For example, all Level 2s have a runover of 5 and do not have a blank line between them, but there is a blank line between Level 2s and Level 3s.

  • Margins: Variable
  • Format: Blank lines before and after

Numeric

Numeric styles button and menu options
The Numeric styles are a nested style. So each style functions the same in terms of formatting; the only difference being the margins.

  • Each Numeric style is identified only with the margins that are used for that instance of the style (1-3, 1-5, 3-5, etc.).
  • They are organized by indent with each indent level indicating the indent of the styles available.
  • Margins: Variable
  • Format: No automatic blank lines

Notes

Notes styles button and menu options

REFERENCE NOTE W/O HEADING

Used to make a reference note that does not have a heading.

  • Margins: 7-5
  • Format: Blank lines before and after
REFERENCE NOTE W/ HEADING

Used to make a reference note that has a heading.

  • Margins: 7-5
  • Format: Blank lines before and after

Plays

Plays styles button and menu options

PROSE PLAY

Prose Play 1-3: Used for the first paragraph of a speaker in a prose play.

  • Margins: 1-3
  • Format: Blank line before

Prose Play 5-3: Used for every paragraph after the first for a speaker in a prose play.

  • Margins: 5-3
  • Format: Blank line before
STAGE DIRECTIONS PROSE

Stage Directions Prose 5-5: Used for the first paragraph of stage directions in a prose play.

  • Margins: 5-5

Stage Directions Prose 7-5: Used for every paragraph of stage directions after the first in a prose play.

  • Margins: 7-5
VERSE PLAY

Verse Play 1-5: Used for the first line of a speaker in a verse play.

  • Margins: 1-5
  • Format: Blank line before

Verse Play 3-5: Used for every line after the first of a speaker in a verse play.

  • Margins: 3-5
  • Format: Blank line before
STAGE DIRECTIONS VERSE

Stage Directions Verse 7-7: Used for the first paragraph of stage directions in a verse play.

  • Margins: 7-7
  • Format: Blank line before

Stage Directions Verse 9-7: Used for every paragraph after the first for stage direction in a verse play.

  • Margins: 9-7
  • Format: Blank line before

Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous styles button and menu options

ATTRIBUTION

This style can be used for an attribution when the previous element's last line is in cell 1.

  • Margins: 5-5
  • Format: Blank line after
BOX

Puts a box line before and after the element or elements it is applied to. A top box line consists of the braille cell (2356) going across the width of the page. A bottom box line consists of the braille cell (1245) going across the width of the page.

  • Margins: N/A
  • Format: Blank before top line, blank after bottom line
FULL BOX

Puts a full celled box line before and after the element or elements it is applied to. A full top and bottom box line consist of the full braille cell (123456) going across the width of the page.

  • Margins: N/A
  • Format: Blank before top line, blank after bottom line
CITATION

Used for a source citation or permission to copy.

  • Margins: 7-5
  • Format: Blank line after
GUIDE WORD

Used to add a guide word for the word or series of words to which it is applied to the last line of the braille page.

  • Margins: Centered
  • Format: Appears on last line of the braille page.
FOOTNOTE

Used for notes that appear at the bottom of the braille page.

  • Margins: 1-3
ALPHABETIC DIVISION

Can be applied to the first alphabetic division in a glossary.

  • Margins: Centered
  • Format: Blank line before
MATH

This style is used to identify math in Nemeth-UEB documents.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE

Used to apply the Transcriber's Note style and symbols to text that is already written.

  • Margins: 7-5
  • Format: No blank line before or after
  • Special: Applies the Transcriber's Note symbols to the element as well as the margins. Because of the need for symbols, the entire element must be highlighted before this style can be applied.

Insert

BB menu bar with Insert circled
BB menu bar with Insert drop-down menu shown

Transcriber's Note

Shortcut: Ctrl + T

Inserts notes into the text that are not original to the document. Using this option creates a new line and opens a text box. Type your transcriber's note (TN) into the text box and it is inserted on that blank line with the appropriate margins and beginning and ending indicators.

  • This is a Print view function only.
  • This tool is only useful for transcriber's notes that are one paragraph and follow the 7-5 format.

Transcriber's Note dialog showing textbox for entering note

Volume Break

Insert menu showing Volume Break selected and sub menu options of Normal, Preliminary and Supplemental
Selecting this option inserts a volume break into the document.

  • The volume break is inserted directly before the cursor.
  • If the volume break is desired after a particular element, place your cursor at the beginning of the element that follows; this inserts the volume break between the two elements.
  • Everything before the cursor is then defined as that volume and everything after is defined as a separate volume.

The ideal cursor location for a volume break is on a print page indicator, as this inserts the volume break before the indicator.

  • If no print page indicator exists because the print page starts at the beginning of a braille page, put your cursor at the beginning of the first element on that braille page; this inserts the volume break on the previous braille page.

In addition to defining the text as belonging to specific volumes, selecting this option also inserts the END OF VOLUME statement and allows for some additional options. These include:

  • copying t-pages and TOC entries into new volumes
  • saving individual volumes to BRF

There are three different kinds of volumes that can be inserted. The main difference between them is the END OF VOLUME statement. Each agency has different rules about different types of volumes. Refer to your agency's guidelines for the appropriate use.

  • Preliminary: END OF PRELIMINARY VOLUME [number]
  • Normal: END OF VOLUME [number]
  • Supplementary: END OF SUPPLEMENTARY VOLUME [number]

Note Separation Line

This option inserts the Note Separation Line found in Braille Formats, 2011. Similar to the Insert Volume option, the Insert Note Separation Line option is inserted directly before the cursor. It automatically:

  • inserts the appropriate ASCII text
  • direct translates it
  • applies the Note Separation Line style

Image Placeholder

Inserts a set number of blank lines. Once you use this tool, a dialog opens.

  • Type the number of blank lines needed using only numbers.
  • That number of blank lines is inserted into the document before the cursor.

Insert Image Placeholder dialog showing textbox to enter the number of lines

Table

To insert a table in the text, place the cursor in the spot you want the table to begin, then click Insert Table to open the Table Editor screen.

Table Editor dialog showing 3 rows and 3 columns and textboxes for entering information
This screen shows editable fields for headings, rows, and columns. The user can type in each cell or paste in content.

The number of rows and columns can be edited in the bottom right of the screen. By default, the Table Editor generates 3 rows and 3 columns. The user can add or remove columns and rows as by entering the the desired numbers in the textboxes. The Editor then automatically displays a table template with the new row and column numbers.

Table Editor dialog showing textboxes to select number of Rows and Columns and 4 entered for Rows and 5 entered for Columns
In the lower-right corner is a drop-down menu called Table type. This menu provides several options for how to display the table in braille. It is set to auto by default.

Table Editor dialog showing drop-down options for Table type and Simple selected
Auto: BB formats the table automatically for you. Currently, BB can create automatic tables as simple and listed tables only. Automatic simple facing tables are in development.

Simple: Sets the table to display as a standard braille table with columns and rows and a separator line beneath each column heading. A button appears to the right of the drop-down menu labeled Simple Table Options. Click this to open the Simple Table Options screen.

Simple Table Options dialog showing options for Cells between columns, Guide dots, Row headings, and Column widths
Here, several specific options can be changed.

  • Cells between columns: Choose either 2 cells between each column or 1 cell between each column. Default is 2.
  • Guide dots: Controls whether guide dots appear after material in columns. Choose either Enabled or Disabled. Default is enabled.
  • Row headings: Controls whether information in column 2 and beyond appears on the same line as any runovers in column 1. When enabled, material in column 2 and beyond begin on the same line as the runover of the heading in column 1. When disabled, material in column 2 and beyond begin on the same line on which the heading starts. Default is enabled.
    Column widths: Allows control over the cell width of individual columns. Choose either default or custom. When custom is selected, a set of editable fields appear below the drop-down menu, showing each column in the table.

Simple Table Options dialog displaying Column widths information entered and total width
In each field, the number displayed represents the number of braille cells that column takes up. Between each column is a number in parentheses, either a (1) or a (2). This number represents the number of cells between each column. The fields can be edited to change the width of each column as desired.

The text "Total Width: x" is shown below the fields, where x is the total number of cells the columns (and the spaces between them) occupy on the braille page. This number automatically changes as the column widths are changed. This can be useful to ensure custom column widths do not exceed the width of the braille page.

When satisfied with any changes to these options, click Ok to return to the Table Editor.

Simple Facing: When this option is selected, a menu appears with a slider bar asking how the columns should be divided across facing pages.

Simple Table Options dialog displaying Column widths information entered and total width
Move the slider bar to represent the distribution of the columns between pages. For example, if 3 columns are preferred on the left-hand page, slide the bar to the right. The "Right page" setting on the right side of the window decreases to 2, while the "Left page" setting increases to 3. Once satisfied with the changes, click Ok to return to the Table Editor.

Listed: This sets the table to a listed table format. Information in the row fields become cell 5 headings while information in the column heading fields become the first part of each listed item, followed by a colon (inserted automatically). Information in the column fields is added after the colon for each appropriate list item.

Table Editor dialog showing 3 rows and 5 columns and headings entered in the first row of columns 2 through 5
Print view of table

Braille view of table
Stairstep: Select this option to set the table to Stairstep format. A button appears to the right of the drop-down menu labeled Create Transcriber Note Heading. Click this button to open the Create Transcriber's Note Heading window.

Create Transcriber's Note Heading dialog
This window configures the Stairstep table. Several fields appear in the window, equal to the number of columns in the table. The column headings are automatically included in the appropriate field if they have already been inserted in the Table Editor.

The first field is for the transcriber's note that precedes the table, informing the reader of the Stairstep format. The text defaults to "Table changes as follows:" but may be edited as needed. It is set on a 7-5 runover.

The next fields proceed in the standard Stairstep format, with the first column entry starting on cell 1, the second on cell 3, the third on cell 5, and so on. Each of these fields can be edited as needed.

All fields in this window can have font attributes applied to them. To apply the font attribute(s):

  1. Select the text.
  2. Select the appropriate font attribute(s) from the drop-down list above each field.
  3. Click the Apply button.

The translation of each field's entry can also be modified. Click the Translation button to open the Change translation to: drop-down menu.

Change translation dialog showing Uncontracted selected
Here you can choose between Uncontracted and Direct. Direct allows direct ASCII translation, as described elsewhere in this user guide.

When satisfied with changes to the Stairstep table options, click Ok to return to the Table Editor.

Note: Once this button is clicked, the table cannot be changed back to another table format or edited directly. Once the Ok button is pressed, the table is locked in with the settings it currently has and cannot be changed. (This is a known bug and a solution is in development.)

Linear: When selected, a button labeled Create Transcriber Note Heading appears next to the drop-down menu. Click this button to open the Create Transcriber Note Heading window.

This window is similar to the one utilized in the Stairstep table option.

  • There are two fields: one for the transcriber's note informing the reader that the table's format is changed (set to a 7-5 line/runover), and one for the explanation of the column heading order (set to a 1-3 line/runover).
  • By default, material placed in the column headings is automatically placed here in order, from left to right, with a colon following the first column heading and a semicolon following each additional heading.

Table Editor dialog showing listed table and row headings and content entered for all cells
Create Transcriber's Note Heading dialog showing information entered for 7-5 and 1-3
As in the Stairstep table options, font attributes and uncontracted/direct translation styles can be applied to text in these fields.

When satisfied with these fields, click Ok to return to the Table Editor screen.

Note: Once this button is clicked, the table cannot be changed back to another table format or edited directly. Once the Ok button is pressed, the table is locked in with the settings it currently has and cannot be changed. (This is a known bug and a solution is in development.)

Text view of table
Braille view of table
At the top of the Table Editor are three menus: Tools, Emphasis, and Translation.

Tools:

  • Swap Columns and Rows: Click this to interchange the rows and columns of the table. Click it again to switch them back. A transcriber's note explaining an interchange of rows and columns has to be inserted manually, if required.
  • Add Emphasis to All: This opens an extended menu with numerous types of font attributes, as well as uncontracted and direct translation options. Select the option desired, and it is applied to all the text in the entire table.
    Remove All Emphasis: This option removes all font attribute and contraction changes that have been applied to the table.

Emphasis: This menu allows font attributes to be applied to individual parts of the table text where required and includes bold, italics, underline, and more.

Translation:

  • Exact Translation: Translates the selected ASCII text directly into braille.
  • Uncontracted Translation: Sets the selected text to be uncontracted braille.

At the bottom-left corner of the Table Editor window are two buttons: Reformat Table and Advanced Reformat.

Reformat Table and Advanced Reformat buttons
Reformat Table: This button is used to change the table into normal text. This feature removes the table tags from the XML and is useful if the print book has content formatted as a table that should not be formatted as a table in the braille, such as columned lists.

When clicked, this button shows a prompt warning that the process cannot be reversed. Click Yes to continue or No to cancel.

Reformat table confirmation pop-up notifying the user that "Reformatting a table will convert the table formatting to plain text. This process is irreversible. Are you sure you want to continue?" with Yes and No buttons
If you clicked Yes, a new window opens, displaying a list of styles.

Select Style dialog showing list of available styles which the user can apply to each table cell
  1. Select a style to have all the table text reformatted into this style. This is useful if a table is converted to a list and all entries need to be on 1-3, for instance.
  2. Click Ok to confirm the style choice and reformat the table into normal text.

Advanced Reformat: This button does the same thing as the Reformat Table button except that it allows each field of the table to have a different style applied to it when the table is reformatted. For example, column 1 could be set to Cell 5 heading while rows 2, 3, 4, etc., could be set to 1-3. Once all fields have a style selected, the table is reformatted into normal text with the styles applied appropriately.

Running Head

This option, located under the Insert menu, is the same as the Running Head option found in the Page Settings. Choose one of the following:

  • No running head
  • Enter title

The Insert Running Head option does not check the inserted running head against every page number in the document. The transcriber should confirm that the running head works for all page number types and sizes.

Window

BB menu bar with Window circled
BB menu bar showing Windows drop-down menu

Toggle Views

Each of the three views (Print, Braille, and Style) can be toggled via this menu. Currently, when a view is disabled and then enabled, it moves to the right-hand side.

Print, Braille, and Style

REARRANGE VIEWS

This opens a dialog that allows you to rearrange the views. The view at the top of this list appears the furthest to the left, and the view at the bottom appears furthest to the right. Only the views that are visible are available to rearrange in the dialog.

  • Use the Move Up and Move Down buttons to move the selected view in that respective direction.
  • Press Ok to confirm selection and rearrange the views or Cancel to disregard the changes.

Rearrange Views dialog showing Style, Print, and Braille, and buttons for Move Up, Move Down, Ok, and Cancel

Toolbar

Each of the toolbar icons is arranged according to group, and each group can be hidden if not needed. Hiding some or all icons increases the space available for the views.

File, Document, View, Style, Tools, and Emphasis

Icon Size

Window menu showing Icon Size selected and sub menu of options Small, Medium and Large
These options adjust the size of the toolbar icons. Making them smaller increases the space available for the views.

Help

BB menu bar with Help circled
BB menu bar showing Help menu drop-down

BrailleBlaster Website

Opens the BrailleBlaster website in your default browser.

BrailleBlaster User Guide

Opens a local copy of this user guide.

About BrailleBlaster

Opens a popup with information about the current build of BrailleBlaster you are using. Useful when reporting bugs.

About LibLouis

Connects to a website with links to Liblouis and Liblouisutdml manuals.

Check for Updates

Checks for new versions of BrailleBlaster.

View Log

Provides the ability to view or save a software error log in the event that BrailleBlaster encounters an unexpected problem. This log can be provided to technical support staff to assist them in troubleshooting.

Reset BB

This option will not be available in the final version of BrailleBlaster but is included with early releases because of potential conflicts that can occur when updating the program. If BB worked fine yesterday and after updating it does not open any documents, the likely cause is one of these conflicts. To resolve this issue, use this feature.

Caution: This feature deletes all user data, which includes changes to the translation, page settings, and font size. It is not recommended that you use this feature unless instructed to do so by an APH employee.

Working with Alphabetic References

There are many tools in BrailleBlaster to help you create braille alphabetic references, such as glossaries and indexes. While each tool is covered at various points of this document, this section shows how they all work together.

Selecting the Entire Glossary or Index

A lot of Alphabetic Reference tools work best if you select the entire alphabetic reference. In order to do so, you need to use the Style view.

  1. Find the alphabetic reference in the Print view, and put your cursor on the print page indicator that precedes it. That should open the entire alphabetic reference in the Style view.
  2. Find an S-OTHER tag in the Style view that precedes the print page indicator. Selecting that tag also selects everything inside that tag.
  3. Either double click on that tag or put your cursor inside that tag and press Shift + Right Arrow.

Sample tags showing [S-Other:][Page]R64[/Page]
For most books, the above method is all you need to do to select the entire alphabetic reference. If that doesn't work, you need to hunt down the S-OTHER tag that does contain the entire alphabetic reference. It is usually within a print page or two of the print page that contains the start of the alphabetic reference. Look in that area until you find it.

Adding Guide Words

You may not immediately see guide words in your document, even when a glossary is correctly marked by the publisher.

  1. Check your settings under Page Numbers to see if Guide Words is set to Yes or No. If set to Yes, any properly marked glossary automatically has guide words added. If set to No, guide words do not appear and some guide word tools do not work properly. Be sure to change the setting to "Yes."
    Settings dialog showing the Page Numbers tab selected and Guide Words set to Yes
  2. Check the style options of your glossary. To do this, select the entire glossary (see Selecting the Entire Glossary or Index. In the menu go to Style > Options > Guide Words > Yes. This ensures that each glossary item is set to have guide words included.

If you need guide words to appear in one alphabetic reference but not another, you can set Guide Words to No for a particular section, even if the publisher has marked both sections to have guide words by default.

Styles menu showing location of Options, with sub menu showing Guide Words last, and Yes and No options when this item is selected
Finally, if you still do not have guide words, it means that this particular glossary was not coded as a glossary in the source file. However, you can still identify guide words manually. To do this:

  1. Select the entire glossary
  2. Go to Tools > Alphabetic References > Identify Guide Words

Note: You may need to edit the added guide words. (See Editing Guide Words)

Note: Indexes do not have guide words by default. If guide words are needed, use the Identify Guide Words.

Editing Guide Words

Once Guide Words have been added, right-clicking on the word in the list calls up a dialog box that allows you to edit that guide word. Right-click on the word in the list, not the guide word at the bottom of the braille page.

Edit Guide Word dialog showing the word "vague" entered in textbox

Glossaries With Pronunciation

BANA recommends special rules for glossaries with pronunciations in Braille Formats, 2011 the tools in BrailleBlaster accommodate these rules.

ADD UNCONTRACTED

This tool adds the uncontracted form to glossaries that have pronunciation that require the uncontracted form. It is found under Menu > Add Uncontracted Glossary Items. To best use this tool, make sure to select the entire glossary. More information about selecting the entire glossary can be found in Selecting the Entire Glossary or Index.

Tools menu showing location of Add Uncontracted Glossary Terms

REPLACE IMAGE WITH TEXT

Occasionally publishers use images for complex diacritics. This tool replaces these images with text.

  1. Find the image in the Style view by putting put your cursor on the word or pronunciation with missing text in the Print view.
  2. Look in the Style view for the image tags: [S-IMAGE:][/S-IMAGE:].
    Tags showing [S-IMAGE:][/S-IMAGE:]
  3. Go to Tools > Replace Image with Text to open the Simple Image Describer.
  4. Type the text that should replace the image, making sure to apply any changes to the translation or emphasis that is necessary.
  5. Click Apply to this for that one instance or Apply to all X instances for all instances of that image.

Simple image describer dialog showing image file path and text box for entering description

References

  • Braille Authority of North America (2011). Braille formats: Principles of print-to-braille transcription, 2011. Retrieved from $
  • Simpson, C. (Ed.). (2013). The rules of unified english braille (2nd ed.). International Council on English Braille. Retrieved from $

Appendix A: Shortcut Key Combinations

Key Combination
Description
FILE OPERATIONS
CTRL + N
Create a new document
CTRL + O
Open a document
CTRL + W
Close a document
ALT + F4
Quit BrailleBlaster
CTRL + S
Save the document
CTRL+SHIFT+S
Save the document in a custom location
CTRL + P
Print a document
CTRL + E
Emboss a document
ALT + HOME
Open the Braille preview
ALT + END
Open Book Tree
EDITING
CTRL + Z
Undo the last action
CTRL + Y
Redo the last action
CTRL + X
Cut the selected text
CTRL + C
Copy the selected text
CTRL + V
Paste copied text
CTRL + H
Hide the selected elements
CTRL + F
Open the find/replace pane
F3
Repeat the last search
ENTER
Split Element
SHIFT + ENTER
Insert Line Break
CTRL + ENTER
Insert Page Break
F7
Spell check
F5
Refresh translation
CTRL + +
Increase font size 1 point
CTRL + -
Decrease font size 1 point
CTRL + SPACE
Insert non-breaking space
CTRL + R
Repeat last style applied
CTRL + T
Correct Braille translation
F6
Six-Key Input
CTRL + F2
Wrap Text
NAVIGATION
ALT + P
Toggle Print View
ALT + B
Toggle Braille View
ALT + S
Toggle Style View
CTRL + G
Open the page selection dialog
CTRL + HOME
Go to the first page of the current document
CTRL + END
Go to the last page of the current document
TAB
Set Cell Position
TYPEFORMS
CTRL + B
Bold
CTRL + I
Italic
CTRL + U
Underline
ALT + SHIFT + S
Script
ALT + SHIFT + 1
Transcriber-Defined Typeform 1
ALT + SHIFT + 2
Transcriber-Defined Typeform 2
ALT + SHIFT + 3
Transcriber-Defined Typeform 3
ALT + SHIFT + 4
Transcriber-Defined Typeform 4
ALT + SHIFT + 5
Transcriber-Defined Typeform 5
CTRL + SHIFT + R
Remove Emphasis from Selection
SHIFT + F10
Open sub-menu
LOADOUTS
CTRL + SHIFT + M
Set Miscellaneous style loadout
CTRL + SHIFT + B
Set Basic style loadout
CTRL + SHIFT + C
Set Caption style loadout
CTRL + SHIFT + H
Set Heading style loadout
CTRL + SHIFT + L
Set Lists style loadout
CTRL + SHIFT + P
Set Poetry style loadout
CTRL + SHIFT + A
Set Plays style loadout
CTRL + SHIFT + G
Set Glossary style loadout
CTRL + SHIFT + E
Set Exercise Material style loadout
CTRL + SHIFT + I
Set Index style loadout
CTRL + SHIFT + U
Set Numeric style loadout
CTRL + SHIFT + N
Set Notes style loadout
CTRL + SHIFT + T
Set Contents style loadout
CTRL + NUMBER 1-8
Apply the style corresponding to that index number in the list of styles of the current loadout
MISCELLANEOUS
F1
Open Braille Blaster User Guide
CTRL + M
Open Math Tools
ALT + M
View Current Math as Image

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