The Braille Alphabet (alphabet for the blind, english braille, Blindenschrift englisch)
The Braille writing system was invented 1825 by the Frenchman Louis Braille (new window)and it is today
the most important and successful
writing system for the blind of the world
Text will be read with the touch sense of fingers. The characters
of Braille writing consists of dots only, since blind people can use their
fingers to differentiate the raised dots better than other raised geometrical forms.
Louis Braille, blind since the age of 3, experimented for a long time until he found the solution:
6 dots could be felt by one finger and yet available in different combinations to cover the entire alphabet:
Here find you Informations about the english Braille alphabet (english Braille, english writing for the blind, english dot writing)
- Hier finden Sie Informationen über das englische Braille Alphabet (englische Blindenschrift, Braille englisch, englische Punktschrift)
The english Braille alphabet:
---------- code table for english Braille (Braille code): ----------
number behind the 'd' are occupied dots,
the dots are numbered as follows:
Line 1  und 
Line 2  und 
Line 3  und 
Braille character a = d 1
Braille character b = d 12
Braille character c = d 14
Braille character d = d 145
Braille character e = d 15
Braille character f = d 124
Braille character g = d 1245
Braille character h = d 125
Braille character i = d 24
Braille character j = d 245
Braille character k = d 13
Braille character l = d 123
Braille character m = d 134
Braille character n = d 1345
Braille character o = d 135
Braille character p = d 1234
Braille character q = d 12345
Braille character r = d 1235
Braille character s = d 234
Braille character t = d 2345
Braille character u = d 136
Braille character v = d 1236
Braille character w = d 2456
Braille character x = d 1346
Braille character y = d 13456
Braille character z = d 1356
Braille character # = d 3456 [number sign]
Braille character 1 = d 1 [corresponds to letter a ]
Braille character 2 = d 12 [corresponds to letter b ]
Braille character 3 = d 14 [corresponds to letter c ]
Braille character 4 = d 145 [corresponds to letter d ]
Braille character 5 = d 15 [corresponds to letter e ]
Braille character 6 = d 124 [corresponds to letter f ]
Braille character 7 = d 1245 [corresponds to letter g ]
Braille character 8 = d 125 [corresponds to letter h ]
Braille character 9 = d 24 [corresponds to letter i ]
Braille character 0 = d 245 [corresponds to letter j ]
Braille character . = d 256
Braille character , = d 2
Braille character : = d 25
Braille character ; = d 23
Braille character - = d 36
Braille character ( = d 2356 [corresponds to ) ]
Braille character ) = d 2356 [corresponds to ( ]
Braille character ! = d 235
Braille character ? = d 236 [corresponds to „ ]
Braille character & = d 12346
Braille character ' = d 3
Braille character “ = d 236 [open quote, corresponds to '?' ]
Braille character ” = d 356 [close quote]
Braille character ´ = d 4
------------- End Braille code ---------------
[to the top]
Louis Braille developed his dot writing further, also for music notes and
even for mathematical formulas.
On the left you see a music score, and the right picture shows a chemical formula in Braille.
Due to the development in the year 1825 is clear:
the 6-dot-writing of the Frenchman Louis Braille was definitely
one of the first practical dual codes or binary codes of the world!(two conditions: dot present or dot absent = 1 bit)
The basics of Braille for the written communication of the blind:
The basic character (full cell) consists of 6 dots and is sometimes used for orientation.
The dots are numbered according to the following schedule:
The number of possible characters amounts to 2 to the power of 6 = 64,
without blanks thus 63. Not all combinations of dots are useful standing alone, because the dot writing is read
with the fingers in contrast to print. The basic pattern of the Braille letters "a" to "j" is modified
for the remaining letters and characters at the dot locations [ 3 ], [ 3 and 6 ] or [ 6 ]. Afterwards the remaining
A Braille character with its maximum of six or eight dots is called a cell.
The size of touchable Braille characters is 6 to 7 mm, and customarily have the following dimensions:
Dot-spacing 2.5 mm
Dot-thickness 1.5 mm (diameter)
Cell spacing 6 mm
Line spacing 10 mm
Height (survey) at least 0.4 mm
Due to the tactile minimum size of the signs and the need to use thicker paper, documents and books
are much larger and heavier than comparable editions in print.
For the blind, the term print is used to describe the font for the sighted.
Often, the term 'normal type' is using for print, as opposed to Braille.
There are only lowercase letters in Braille. If an uppercase letter must be designated, then 'CAP' (D6 )' is
written in front. 'CAP' written twice (D6 D6 ) designates a word which only
exists in uppercase letters.
[ correct uppercase letters only exist in the Braille alphabet system using 8 dots
(Computer Braille) ]
For the display of numbers, the letter "a" to "j" is used. Numbers are started with the number-sign
'#' (D3456 )
and end with the space or with letter-sign 'LTR' (D56 ) if a letter "a" to "j" follows.
Some dot-combinations have several meanings, depending on the context of use. The three charcters
'S1' (D5 ),
'S2' (D456 ) and
'S3' (D45 )
change the meanings of the following letters by using contractions.
If Braille is written by hand, the dots are pressed backward into the paper with the aid of a
stencil (dot writing slate) and a pen (stylus). For reading, the paper is taken out and turned around.
If a Braille writer (machine) is used, the turning around step can be skipped. 6 or 8 keys are used to
write (7 or 9 keys with spacebar). You can write on your own computer using 6 keys of Braille
on the Braille slate simulator or the Braille writing simulator:
Among the blind, only about 20% have knowledge of Braille writing.
The classification of blind by age shows that most blind people are over 60 years old. These people
are often unable to learn the complexities of Braille and therefore are satisfied with acoustic alternatives.
These numbers are extrapolations from Germany, as exact figures are not available. Due to rising life expectancy
and the associated "aging society", we can figure that the percentage of blind people in society will be increasing.
Classification of writings for the blind in dot writings and relief writings:
Even if the other writing systems are not as important, the general equation of Braille writing with the dot writing
or writing for the blind is incorrect. The writing by Braille is the most effective writing system for the blind
and it is successful, but it is not suitable for all blind people nor used by all blind people.
The first true dot writing system was invented in 1815 by Charles Barbier (new window). The characters of his Night Writing (new window in german),
developed for military purposes, consisted of up to 12 dots in two rows. Barbier also brought his
writing system to the Paris Institute of the Blind, where it was also temporarily used as a
writing system for the blind.
Between 1821 and 1825 Louis Braille developed his alphabet for the blind
after improving the Night Writing of Charles Barbier. Braille did so by reducing
the number of points to 6. As a result, his dot writing was much easier to read and write. The first
publication of his dot writing system was in 1829, but it took many years before this writing system
prevails. Only in 1850 was the Braille writing system officially recognized as a
writing system for the blind, and thereafter it prevails internationally.
In 1839 Louis Braille introduce his Raphigraphy (new window in german)
to the replica of the print.
With this writing the blind could write their relatives, the Braille could not read. Later it was
written with an apparatus, and increasingly they writing replaced by the typewriter.
Parallel also incurred other writings for the blind, including in 1845 the Moon Alphabet (new window) by
William Moon (new window),
which despite the simplicity of optical is still not easy tactile to grasp. Moon developed
the system by Frere continues. (Frere had with similar characters like Lucas, a phonetic
alphabet developed.) The Moon Writing it in some regions of the world
still used as default writing for the blind.
From 1871 to 1916 was in New York used the dot writing system dissenting of Braille Writing named "New York Point" (new window) The about 1860 by William Bell Wait invented characters
were just two dots high. But despite uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and punctuation marks was init,
the characters was harder to read than Braille because the length of characters was different. And in 1916 by the
War of the dots (new window) was this writing by the English Braille displaced.
Even by Joel W. Smith 1878 reformed version named "American Braille" (new window)
was in this dispute does not prevail, even though they were arbitrarily set of dot patterns by Braille replaced
for the assignment by a statistically more effective (most letters were the fewest dots). A uniform blind
writing in english-speaking area had priority and it also supported the international dissemination of
In continuation of the idea of Louis Braille for his Raphigrafie for better communication of blind
and seeing was from 2007 to 2008 an alternate dot writing namend "Fakoo" by Alexander Fakoó developed. Fakoo (new window in german) uses the same dots as the Braille Writing.
Each characters consists of up to 9 dots and an integrated letter distance (9-dots-alphabet, 9-dot-braille, nine-dot braille). Thus this dot writing
is readable also for seeing, why many advantages result.
For handwritten recordings for the blinds was developed by Alexander Fakoó
a writing for the blind by hand without curves, which uses only the 4 side-lines and the two diagonals of a square (6-lines-alphabet).
This square writing can be written more simply than Moon and contains apart from letters also numbers.
Since Quadoo (new window in german) is strongly ajar against the print,
a big recognizing effect develops.
For the universal use, the confusion-free 7-segment alphabet Siekoo (new window in german)
was developed too by Alexander Fakoó in 2012, which also uses only the 7 elements of 7-segment displays for all letters.
Would be to note that the letters of the Braille almost no discernible lateral distance row will be.
writing for the blind,
alphabet for the blind,
dot writing system,