How To Use Edgar
RNIB Technical Training Department
HOW TO USE EDGAR
Edgar is a simple editing program for braille. It does not have all the features you would
expect of a proper "word processor", but it does have some useful features which help you to
create and reformat your braille text.
The following is a glossary of the main operations. A few other features of the program
appear in the list at the end of this document.
How to ...
Start Edgar Edgar is a DOS program (not Windows), and is started from the DOS
command prompt. Make sure you are in the Edgar directory: the prompt on the
screen should say C:\EDGAR. (If necessary type cd \edgar to get to this
position.) Then type, for example, edgar myfile.brf, where myfile.brf is the name of the file you want to edit or create.
When you start a new document you actually need to press the space bar and move the cursor down before entering any braille. This puts in the braille page number on line 1.
Exit Edgar Type ALT-x. This automatically saves your file and exits the program. A copy of your file before you started the session is also saved in the C:\EDGARBAK directory, so you can go back to that if you need to; for example, if you have corrupted the working version of the file in the editing session.
Use the help system Type ALT-h (when you are in the program). On any help menu, press the
relevant number or letter to find more information about that topic. To exit
help completely press ESCAPE. To exit one screen only, press ENTER.
For convenience, the key presses found at various places on the help screens are listed at the back of this document.
Enter braille Braille is entered using the ordinary keyboard by pressing combinations of the
keys: s d f j k l together (a bit like a piano!). The correspondence to the braille
dots is f=dot 1, d=dot 2, s=dot 3, j=dot 4, k=dot 5, l=dot 6. So to get a letter
"t", that is t, dots 2-3-4-5, you have to press the keys d, s, j and k together,
and release. For a space, just press the space bar.
As you enter more text and reach the right margin, the text will automatically wrap onto the new line.
Start a new line The braille text will automatically wrap onto a new line when you reach the right margin, but if you want to start a new line before this, press ENTER. Note that this only takes you down one line - it does not create a new line when you are within text.
Start a new paragraph Press ENTER to start a new line, then 2 spaces.
Start a new line within text Press CTRL-ENTER. This creates a new line and puts the cursor at the beginning of it.
Centre text With the cursor in the relevant line, press CTRL-c.
Change between insert and overwrite mode These are two modes for editing: In insert mode existing text is retained and pushed to the right of text you add; in overwrite mode existing text is overwritten. Press ALT-i to toggle between these modes.
Move the cursor small distances Use the up, down, left and right arrows on the keyboard.
Move to the beginning or end of the line Press HOME for the beginning, and END for the end.
Move to the beginning or end of a page Press HOME HOME for the beginning, and END END for the end.
Move to the beginning or end of a document Press HOME HOME HOME for the beginning, and END END END for the end.
Move to the next or previous page Use the PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN keys.
Move to a particular page and line To go to a particular page, press ALT-g 2, enter the number, and press ENTER. To go to a particular page and line, press ALT-g 3, enter the page number and press ENTER, then enter the line number and press ENTER.
Set up the page information line Line 1 on a braille page is reserved for the "page information line", and is not
used for normal text. Edgar protects this line from normal paragraph flow, but
only after you have set up a running header during the current editing session.
To do this press ALT-f 5 1. Then enter the text you need for the page
information message. This text is only used if you create a new page, so you
can leave it blank if you do not have in mind actually creating a new page.
Press ENTER a few times to return to the main screen.
When page infomation lines are set up in this way, the status line on the screen
(the top line) will show an "h" when the cursor is on line 1 of a page. The
protection of line 1 will apply to all pages in the document, not just newly
You need to set up the page information line for each editing session - this setting is not retained when you exit the program.
Start a new page Edgar will automatically start a new page when you braille past the end of the bottom line of the braille page. This is shown by a horizontal line across the screen. If you want to start a new page before this (e.g. because it is a new section of text), place the cursor on the line to begin the new page and press ALT-p 5. If you make a mistake in the placement, delete the page break and start again.
Delete a page break With the cursor below the page break line press ALT-p 3. Or with the cursor above the page break line press ALT-p 4.
Disable the bell Edgar can be set to make a beep sound as you approach the right margin (like a typewriter). To disable this feature move the bell setting beyond the right margin. E.g. with a right margin of 38, move the cursor to cell 39 and press ALT-4. To turn this feature on again, move the cursor inside the right margin to where you want the beep to sound (e.g. cell 35), and press ALT-4.
Do small deletions For single characters use the DELETE and BACKSPACE keys.
Delete a whole line With the cursor on the line, press ALT-d.
Delete from the cursor to the end of a line Press ALT-k.
Delete larger regions Put the cursor at the start of the region, press ALT-m, move the cursor to the
end of the region, press the grey - on the right-hand key pad. The amount that
can be deleted in one go is limited - you can delete up to about 10 pages at a
A single page can be quickly deleted by pressing ALT-p 2 with the cursor in
the relevant page.
Note that the deleted text is now in a buffer ("scrap"), and can be recalled if desired by pressing INSERT. A copy of the text remains in the buffer until overwritten (e.g. it is overwritten if you delete another region), and can be recalled repeatedly.
Copy a block of text Put the cursor at the start of the region, press ALT-m, move the cursor to the end of the region, and press the grey + on the right-hand key pad. Then move to where the copied text is to be inserted, and press INSERT. You can press INSERT again for multiple copies. The amount that can be copied in one go is limited - you can copy up to about 10 pages at a time .
Move a block of text Put the cursor at the start of the region, press ALT-m, move the cursor to the end of the region, and press the grey - on the right-hand key pad. Then move to where the text is to be inserted, and press INSERT. The amount that can be moved in one go is limited - you can move up to about 10 pages at a time.
Automatically put in page information lines Press ALT-f 5 1. Then enter the text you need for the page information
message. This text is then centred on line 1 when you create a new braille
page. It does not affect any existing pages. The braille page number is also
automatically put in the right-hand cells of line 1. Press ENTER a few times to
return to the main screen.
When you start a new section and need a different page information message, press ALT-f 5 1 again, and edit the text as required. Note that this will only affect new pages created, and so you may need to edit line 1 of the current page to reflect the change of section on that page.
Change an existing page information line Move the cursor to that line and edit it manually. Note that the centring command does not work here: you will have to centre manually.
Put in print page numbers In book work, print page turns are normally marked by centring the print page
indicator in the text, and putting the current print page number in the left-hand
cells of the page information line. There are two ways you can do this in
Method 1: Insert these manually. (You can centre the print page indicator in
the text using CTRL-c.)
Method 2: Edgar has an automatic facility for putting in print page numbers,
similar to putting in page information lines. However, unfortunately for British
users, the American style is used, rather than the British style. Nevertheless
you may find it worth using, and then amending the format afterwards to
British style. At the appropriate point in the text, make sure the next line is
blank, then press ALT-F8. Enter the print page number (including the numeral
sign), and press ENTER. The (American style) print page indicator will appear
on the next line. After doing this, the (American style) print page numbers will
also automatically appear in the left-hand cells of the page information lines,
whenever you create a new page.
You can convert the American style print page indicators to British style as
you go along. Alternatively, you could correct them at the end of the
transcription by searching for the sequences of hyphens and replacing them by
dot 5 dots 2-5 signs, and centring the resulting lines.
Similarly, the page numbers on the page information lines can be corrected as you go along by deleting the initial letter a, b, c, etc. which is not used in the British style. Or you could go through and correct these at the end of the transcription.
Search for text Press F5, enter the braille text, press ENTER. To find the next occurrence,
press SHIFT-F5. To search backwards instead of forwards, use ALT-F5 intead
Automatically replace text
Press F6, enter the braille text to find, and press ENTER. Then enter the
braille text to replace it with, and press ENTER again. The cursor will move to
the first occurrence, and the top line of the screen will ask you whether to
make the replacement: yes, no, global or quit. Press y, n, g or q, as appropriate.
If you press y or n it will make the replacement or not, and go to the next
occurrence and repeat the question. It you press g it will make the replacement
for all instances in the rest of the file (be careful!). If you press q it will quit
the search and replace without making the replacement.
To repeat this search and replace (e.g. somewhere else in the file), press
SHIFT-F6. To search and replace backwards instead of forwards, use ALT-F6
instead of F6.
After doing a search and replace you may need to reformat the text.
Transfer text to and from the search and replace boxes If the text you wish to find or replace already exists in your document, you can
copy it to the search and replace text boxes, rather than having to type it in.
Mark the relevant text in your document as a block using ALT-m and the
arrow keys, and press the grey + on the right-hand key pad. (This copies the
text to "scrap".) Press ALT-=. Press 3 to select scrap as the source. Press 1 to
copy it to the search text box, or 2 to copy it to the replace text box. When you
next use the search or replace operations, the selected text should already be
present in the relevant text box.
ALT-= also allows you to do other useful transfers of text, as shown on the menus.
Reformat a paragraph When you have inserted or deleted words, the lines may not be the right
length, and will need to be reformatted. To do this first make sure that no lines
are protruding beyond the right margin (press CTRL-ENTER at a suitable
point to break a long line). Move the cursor to the line in the paragraph where
the reformatting should start, then press ALT-F9. It sometimes happens that
you will find that some of the lines now start with a space. If so, delete these
spaces and press ALT-F9 again from where you want to reformat.
For the purposes of reformatting, a paragraph extends to a blank line or a line
with an indented start. Be careful before you press ALT-F9 that the
reformatting will stop where you want it to. You can reformat line by line,
If you reformat a paragraph without dealing with lines protruding beyond the
right margin, as advised above, you sometimes find that spaces are omitted
between words after reformatting. If this happens, put the spaces in and
reformat again, making sure that no lines protrude this time.
After reformatting you may find that you have created a short or long page, which may need to be corrected.
Reformat a line Make sure that the line does not protrude beyond the right margin (press CTRL-ENTER at a suitable point to break a long line), then press ALT-F7. The same comments apply as for reformatting a paragraph.
Find long lines When the cursor is on a long line, a horizontal bar appears near the middle of the top line (the status line) on the screen. To automatically find the next long line place the cursor on a good line (i.e. not long) and press ALT-g 4.
Find long pages When the cursor is on a long page, a vertical bar appears near the middle of the top line (the status line) on the screen. To automatically find the next long page place the cursor on a good page (i.e. not long) and press ALT-g 5. ALT-g 6 will find the next long line or long page.
Reformat long or short pages Long or short pages can be created after making larger insertions or deletions,
and these page lengths need to be corrected before the document is finished.
There is no automatic way to do this. You have to go through page by page
making the adjustment.
The easiest way to do this is to move the relevant page break and following page information line as a single block. Place the cursor to lie on the cell following the last character of the last line of the page which is too long or too short, and press ALT-m. Move the cursor to lie on top of the last character of the following page information line. Press the grey - on the right-hand key pad. Move the cursor to to lie on the cell following the last character of what should be the last line of the page (line 25 for 25-line pages). Press INSERT. Check that the page break has moved successfully, and repeat for subsequent pages.
Insert a new page If an extra page needs to be inserted in the existing text, move the cursor to the line before which the new page is to be inserted, and press ALT-p 1. If there was not a page break at that point (shown on the screen as a horizontal line across the page), this will have to be inserted by pressing ALT-p 5.
Automatically renumber braille pages After reformatting pages, or inserting or deleting pages, the braille page
numbering may need to be corrected. This can be done automatically by
pressing ALT-F10. This operation starts from the current page and continues
to the end of the document, or until it gets stuck. This may happen if the area
for the page number on line 1 is too close to other text on that line, or if that
area is blank. A message to this effect will appear on the screen, which you
can clear by pressing ENTER. You should then correct this problem manually;
for example if the right-hand cells of line 1 are empty, insert some characters
there (it doesn't matter what). After this the automatic method can be tried
Note that the program is not set to UK rules, and automatic renumbering will stop if the page number is less than 3 cells from the page information message. UK format allows a gap of only 2 cells: in such cases the page numbers must be corrected manually.
Set a new left margin This is the cell to which the cursor goes when you press ENTER. Place the
cursor at the required position and press ALT-1. You may like to set this at 3,
so that you do not have to insert the 2 spaces at the start of paragraphs. (There
is no difference to the finished file which way you do this.)
When you set a new margin, this setting is indicated at the top right of the screen. The setting is not saved when you exit Edgar (although the format of the text you have entered will be); reset the margin in your next editing session if you require it.
Set a new runover margin This is the cell the cursor automatically goes to when the line is wrapped as
you braille past the end of the line (without pressing ENTER). Place the cursor
at the required position and press ALT-3.
This is handy when doing a contents table or index where runovers may be in
cell 3 or 5. (You can of course insert these extra spaces manually, but setting
the runover can make brailling these formats easier.)
The setting is not saved when you exit Edgar (although the format of the text you have entered will be); reset the margin in your next editing session if you require it.
Set both the left and runover margin Place the cursor at the required position and press ALT-2. Both the left margin and the runover will now be at that position. This is useful for doing indented text, such as extracts.
Set up tabs Tabs can be useful if you are setting out table columns, etc. You can simply
use the space bar or cursor to go to the relevant column, or you can set up tabs
and use the tab key.
To set a tab, move the cursor to the relevant column, and press ALT-8. To
remove a tab, move to cursor to the relevant column, and press ALT-7. To
remove all tab stops, press ALT-6. Note that inserting or removing tabs does
not affect existing text in your document, so there is no fear of altering your
previous formats by mistake.
When tabs are set, use the TAB key to move the cursor to the next tab position, or SHIFT-TAB to move the cursor to the previous tab position.
View your text in ASCII By pressing CTRL-d the display changes to show the text as ordinary characters (called ASCII) instead of braille. Press CTRL-d to revert to braille display. This does not affect the document - it is only a different dispay effect which some people may prefer. [This should not be used when learning.]
Enter text in ASCII You can also enter text in ASCII by pressing CTRL-k. Press CTRL-k to revert to entering text using the 6-key method. This does not affect the document produced, it is only a different method of input which some people may prefer. [This should not be used when learning.]
Check your work If you press ALT-q the current line is displayed, translated into print. Press ENTER to exit this display, or CTRL-ENTER to display the next line. This feature is not intended to give a 100% accurate translation, but it can be useful for scanning for obvious errors. [This feature may be disabled during training. (Sorry!)]
Translate into braille Press ALT-t and enter print text in the box which appears. When you press ENTER, this text is translated into braille and inserted at the cursor position. By pressing CTRL-ENTER instead of ENTER, you can continue this process for more text. This feature is not intended to give a 100% accurate translation, and is probably not much use to trained braillists. [This feature may be disabled during training. (Sorry!)]
Change page dimensions Press ALT-f 1. Then press 1 to alter the page depth in lines, or 2 to alter the width in cells. In each case enter the required number (edit the number shown using the backspace key), then press ENTER a few times to return to the main screen.
Edit a new document You can load in more than one document into Edgar. Press ALT-e, and enter
the filename of the new document (which can be an existing document on
disk, or a completely new document) and press ENTER. Your original
document is still held separately in memory.
This feature can be useful if you want to compare two documents, or copy text from one to another.
Switch between different documents If you have loaded more than one document, press ALT-b to give a list. Move the cursor to highlight the required document, and press ENTER. Alternatively press ALT-n, which will automatically bring up the next document in the sequence.
Close a file When you have more than one file open, you can close a file you no longer need by pressing CTRL-hyphen when viewing that file. The file will be saved automatically.
Create a copy of the current open file under a new name Press CTRL-w, and enter a new file name for the copy of the current file. Press ENTER. The new file will be created on disk, but the file you are editing is still the version under its original name.
Save your work and continue editing As a safety measure you can save a copy of your work at any stage by pressing ALT-w. The copy of the file is saved to the directory EDGARCHK with the same name as the working file. This can be recovered if necessary by copying it back to your normal working directory. You may wish to use ALT-w before you embark on any major reformatting in case it goes wrong.
Clear messages When a message appears on the top line of the screen with an asterisk, you cannot continue until it is cleared. Press ENTER to do this.
FULL LIST OF COMMANDS
Up-arrow Go up
Down-arrow Go down
Left-arrow Go left
Right-arrow Go right
CTRL-left-arrow Left 1 word
CTRL-right-arrow Right 1 word
Home Beginning of line
Home Home Beginning of page
Home Home Home Beginning of file
PgDn Top of next page
PgUp Top of prev page
End End of line
End End End of page
End End End End of file
ALT-g Goto menu
Basic Insertion/Deletion/Line Ending
Enter To next line
CTRL-Enter Open (create) line
Delete Erase brl char
Backspace Erase prev char
Larger Direct Text Manipulations
ALT-d Delete line
ALT-k Delete to line end
CTRL-c Centre line on page
ALT-F8 Insert print page
Search and Replace
ALT-F5 Search backwards
SHIFT-F5 Search again
ALT-F6 Replace backwards
SHIFT-F6 Replace again
ALT-m Mark block
Keypad + Copy to scrap
Keypad - Cut to scrap
Insert Paste from scrap
ALT-1 Set left margin
ALT-2 Set L & runover
ALT-3 Set runover margin
ALT-4 Set bell margin
ALT-5 Set right margin
ALT-f Set format specs
ALT-6 Reset all tabs
ALT-7 Reset tab stop
ALT-8 Set tab stop
ALT-9 Set stops per line
Tab Tab to right
SHIFT-Tab Tab to left
File (Edit Buffer) Control
ALT-e Edit file
CTRL-minus Delete buffer
ALT-b Buffer file list
ALT-n Next edit buffer
ALT-q Braille to print
ALT-t Print to braille
CTRL-Enter Continue translate
ALT-F7 Reformat line
ALT-F9 Reformat para
ALT-F10 Renumber pages
ALT-p Whole page ops
ALT-= Copy strings
ALT-r Read (insert) file
ALT-w Write checkpoint
CTRL-w Write to named file
ALT-x Save and exit
ALT-v Version ID
CTRL-d Tog ASCII display
CTRL-k Toggle 6 key mode
ALT-i Toggle insert mode
ALT-a Toggle hard/soft
ALT-s Tog shadow dots
The Status Line
The status line contains: Current file name. Current page, line and column numbers. ^ = insert mode, # = overstrike mode. Blank = soft mode, h = implicit hard mode, H = explicit hard mode. / = right-hand page, \ = left-hand page. - = long line, | = long page. Blank = 6-key entry, 1 = ASCII entry.
Copyright Duxbury Systems, Inc. Thursday, July 25, 2013