Computers, special software, and braille embossers have made it much easier to produce braille. You can make corrections as you work, save to a file for later use, and make multiple copies if you wish. A braille embosser is a special printer attached to the computer. It produces raised dot braille that can be read with the fingers.
Pictured below is a braille embosser with paper loaded and ready to emboss. The fanfold tractor-feed paper is inserted in the machine from front to back. As the blank sheets are embossed they pile up below in a stack. When the embossing is completed, the tractor-feed strips on each side must be removed and the perforated sheets of paper separated. The rectangular holes on the left side are for 19-hole binding combs.
Brailling on Your Computer
If you don't have a brailler but wish to know what it is like to use one, you can download a simple braille editor called Perky Duck. Perky Duck is a computer-based Perkins brailler simulator produced by Duxbury Systems. Duxbury does not provide support for the program, nor do we.
Downloading Perky Duck
Go to Duxbury Systems website.
Click the All Products link on the left.
Scroll down to Perky Duck and download to your computer. There is a download for Windows and a download for Mac.
Using Perky Duck
Refer to the Braille Writer page of this web for directions on using a brailler. The keyboard instruction will apply to brailling on a computer.
The home row keys - fds jkl - on your computer are used to write braille.
f is dot 1
d is dot 2
s is dot 3
j is dot 4
k is dot 5
l is dot 6
Open Perky Duck
You will have a blank page with a menu across the top.
Select File/New. You will have a page ready for brailling. Press a few random keys. Only fds and jkl will respond.
Select "View" from the top menu. You have choices of "Print Font," "Braille Font," or "Sim Braille."
"Print Font" displays print characters
"Braille Font" displays the dots that are raised in real braille.
"Sim Braille" displays the raised dots and smaller dots to show relative dot positions in the braille cell. "Sim Braille" is the default.
Braille a few characters, click the various font options, and watch what happens.
Note about Keyboards
As with the manual Perkins brailler, when a braille character requires more than one dot, you must press all appropriate keys at the same time.
Some computer keyboards will not allow multiple keys to be pressed simultaneously. It will show up as garbled braille characters on your monitor.
The least expensive keyboard in the store has worked for us. We currently use a Gear Head USB Keyboard Model No. KB2500U. Sometimes you can pick up old keyboards at computer repair shops for little or no money. The feature to look for is an "n-key rollover."