DBT Codes

All Word Processors use some form of mark-up codes, which may or may not be visible to the user, to determine how a page element is displayed and printed. An obvious example is making a word appear bold. The following line shows what is actually hidden behind the word "bold" in the previous sentence.

<span style="font-weight: bold>bold</span>

DBT likewise uses codes, but its codes relate to how your Braille is translated and formatted.

For most general literary braille production, you can define your braille document through DBT's menus and using DBT styles. However, there are occasions when you need to do something special, and DBT codes make that possible.

DBT codes can be broadly categorized as either formatting codes or translation codes. Formatting codes are supported in all DBT documents, whereas the effect of translation codes can vary from one translation table to another. See Language Translation Tables for documentation about translation tables and the codes each one supports.

Note: Code examples in these topics will be displayed in the Courier New font, in red, contained within square brackets. However, this has nothing to do with how codes are inserted in DBT. Codes are inserted into a document, not as text, but in a special way described in the topics Manually Inserting and Amending Codes.


The formatting codes in DBT affect the final layout of the braille document. Just as corporations have their own corporate designs for their documents, so braille follows layout conventions recommended by the braille authority for individual countries. Similarly major braille producers may even have their own "corporate style" which determines the way they lay out braille documents.

DBT will do an excellent job of formatting braille documents, but you should always try to follow your local guidelines.


Sometimes it is necessary to guide the automated process of producing Braille to achieve a particular effect in the original text.

For example, if we were to write, In Grade-2 (contracted) English Braille, a solo letter k is the contraction for the word knowledge., we would not want the word "knowledge" to be translated (contracted) to the letter "k" or the intent of the sentence would be lost.

We would therefore use the code [g1] before that word to tell DBT not to contract it when translating this text to Braille, and we would put the code [g2] after that word to continue with Grade 2 (contracted) translation afterward.

In Grade-2 (contracted) English Braille, a solo letter k is the contraction for the word [g1]knowledge[g2].

Code Basics

A code is a special group of characters in a document that does not appear in the final output. Instead, the effects of the code will appear. One way that you enter codes into your document is when you use the Layout Menu to produce a translation or formatting effect.

In DBT, you can use the Codes item in the View Menu to switch the appearance of your document between seeing the formatted effects of the codes on the screen and seeing the codes themselves.

When visible, codes appear surrounded by square brackets. For example, in coded view, you might have some text divided by instances of the skip-lines code as follows:


and in formatted view you would see the effects instead:




Viewing codes can help track down formatting or translation problems. Without codes showing, your view is WYSIWYG and the effects of the codes are usually apparent. For further help with the syntax of each specific code, see the DBT Codes Quick Reference.

Viewing Codes in DBT

The DBT editor normally comes up in the Formatted view. To view codes, use the View menu as above, or hold down the Alt key and press F3. This is what is called a "toggle" command. Pressing Alt + F3 again will turn Coded View off.