DBT Codes

All Word Processors use some form of mark-up codes, which may or may not be visible, 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 using DBT styles, and you can select DBT codes to enter through DBT's menus. However, you can also use keystrokes to quickly open a dialog for entering a DBT code.

In fact, once you gain familiarity with DBT codes - and depending on your preferred working style - this can be a much quicker method of operation than the menus for code entry. For how to enter a DBT code directly, see the topics Manually Inserting Codes and Amending Codes.

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 Help pages are generally displayed in the Courier New font, usually in red and contained within square brackets. However, as shown in the menus and the topic on Manually Inserting Codes, they cannot be inserted into a document as text.

Layout 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.

Translation Codes

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 Effects

A code is an instruction to DBT. It does not appear in the final output. Instead, the effects of the code will appear.

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

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 your 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 starts 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 repeatedly will turn Coded View on and off.