Preparing a Document for Conversion
There are several things you can do to prep a document to make conversion to braille easier. Making the information in a document simple, accessible, correctly formatted and styled, and eliminating the visual aspects that do not translate well, is the best way to prepare a document or piece of text for translation into braille.
The following lists are suggested guidelines from the University of Oxford Bodleian Libraries to keep in mind when getting a Word document or PowerPoint presentation ready to convert to braille.
For Word Documents:
- Use a sans serif font (Arial is preferred)
- Use font size 14
- Left align the text
- Use headings (a table of contents list can also be created in braille)
- Remove page breaks
- If changing between chapters use section breaks
- Check line and paragraph breaks using the ‘show/hide paragraph marks’ function in Word (leave them if they are required, but remove them if they are not)
- For lists use bullet points or numbered lists
- Do not use tab to create spaces, either use columns or tables (you can easily make the table lines invisible if you need to)
- Change any background colors to none
- Don’t use borders or shading
- To emphasize something, don’t use all caps, use bold or italics
- Check that website and email addresses are not split between two lines
- Try to divide big files into smaller ones as this will make them easier to manage
- Put page numbers at the tops of pages in square brackets (this will distinguish them from the braille page numbers)
- Remove graphics and images and replace them with a text description
- Use endnotes rather than footnotes
For PowerPoint Presentations:
- Remove all images, diagrams, and illustrations (if these are essential, replace them with a text description or in the case of charts and graphs, ask for a tactile diagram)
- Select the text from each slide, copy and paste it into a Word document
- Name each slide (e.g. before the title type ‘Slide 1, 2, 3 etc.’)
- Apply Word styles and headings to the document – make each slide title a heading
- Do not leave blank lines between each part of the text
Note: Beware of Braille Rules
Due to the complexity of the rules that govern braille codes and the fact that different countries use different braille rules, it is important that you understand the braille rules that exist in your country or have access to a professional braille transcriber to produce or proofread the braille for you.
Braille rules are occasionally updated and sometimes it can be a while before the braille translation software is updated to reflect the new rulings.
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