Braille Codes and Formats

Unified English Braille (UEB)

BANZAT has adopted Unified English Braille (UEB) for the teaching and production of braille in New Zealand.

UEB was developed by the International Council on English Braille (ICEB). BANZAT is a member of ICEB. ICEB has a Code Maintenance Committee which monitors the use of UEB and updates it as appropriate. When ICEB makes any changes to UEB, BANZAT considers these changes and adopts them on the recommendation of its own Code Maintenance Committee following consultation with New Zealanders involved in the use, production and teaching of braille.

The Rules of Unified English Braille are available for download from the ICEB website, together with the UEB symbols list.

More detailed information about transcribing mathematics and science in UEB are provided in Unified English Braille: Guidelines for technical material.

Learning the Braille Code

Braille and the UEB code used in New Zealand can be learned from the New Zealand edition of the UEB Manual. The New Zealand manual is maintained by the braille team in Accessible Format Production at the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind under the auspices of BANZAT.

The UEB Manual New Zealand Edition is a training manual for students studying for the Trans-Tasman Certificate of Proficiency in Unified English Braille. It is based on the Australian Primer produced by the Australian Braille Authority and uses the same exercises but is adjusted to reflect New Zealand format rules. The Australian Manual is based on the British Braille Primer.

Three formats of the March 2017 New Zealand edition of the UEB Manual are provided here for download:

UEB Online

“UEB Online” is a training program for sighted people to learn Unified English Braille (UEB). This program is the first online UEB training tool. The program is suitable for classroom and specialist teachers, parents, teacher aides and other professionals supporting children and adults with vision impairment. This program has been created by the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children’s Renwick Centre in Sydney, Australia.

The link is

Students with a vision impairment can use the accessible version of UEB Online which provides a much more screen reader friendly version of exercise completion. Go to:

Teaching the Braille Code to Children

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to UEB” was written for children learning UEB by New Zealand resource teachers vision as a quick reference tool for all those supporting children learning UEB. It is divided into two sections, literary braille and maths braille. The BRF and PDF versions are here with printing and binding instructions for the PDF version. The BRF version is formatted 25 lines per page, 40 characters per line.

Transcribing Braille

BANZAT recommends the use of the Duxbury Braille Translator program (DBT). Endorsed by BANZAT, the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind has written a New Zealand template for Duxbury. This includes rules for the correct transcription of words in Te Reo Māori. The New Zealand template is available in the DBT program.

Essentials of Braille Formatting

“Essentials of Braille Formatting” has been developed by BANZAT for the New Zealand environment. This guide covers letters, agendas and minutes, accounts, the treatment of tables and print page indicators and tables of contents, as well as BANZAT’s rules for the transcription of Te Reo Māori. Guidance is given about copyright and cataloguing and the handling of print errors that producers might encounter.

International Phonetic Alphabet

Following ICEB approval, BANZAT has adopted the braille code for the International Phonetic Alphabet for use in New Zealand.

A PDF version can be found at IPA Braille: an updated tactile representation of the International Phonetic Alphabet, print edition, overview, tables, and sample texts edited by Robert Englebretson, Ph.D., produced by CNIB for the International Council on English Braille 2008.

Last updated 12 July 2018