UEB Rulebook

This is a glossary version of the rulebook that allows for automatic hyperlinking of the rules.

Browse the glossary using this index

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Many braille signs have more than one meaning.


The reader determines the meaning of a braille sign in several ways:

  • by its spacing (e.g. the vertical solid line segment)
  • by applying the Standing Alone rule (e.g. alphabetic wordsigns)
  • by its position in relation to other signs (e.g. opening nonspecific quotation mark, line indicator, final-letter groupsigns)
  • by the mode in effect (e.g. digits, arrow indicator)


Use an indicator to establish the mode which determines the meaning of the braille signs which follow.

Note: The list below gives the basic indicators and the modes which they set. It does not include indicators for extended modes (e.g. grade 1 word indicator and grade 1 passage indicator), indicators for variations (e.g. bold arrow indicator), subsidiary indicators (e.g. superposition indicator used in shape mode) or terminators.


Use an indicator to change an aspect of the text which follows.

Note: The list below gives the basic indicators of this type.


The list below gives other indicators.


A mode established by a UEB indicator may not extend through a switch to another braille code.


The use of contractions is disallowed by certain rules. These include:

  • Section 4, Letters and Their Modifiers - no contractions following a modifier, no contractions before or after a ligature indicator
  • Section 5, Grade 1 Mode - no contractions within grade 1 mode
  • Section 6, Numeric Mode - no contractions within grade 1 mode when set by a numeric indicator
  •  Section 12, Early Forms of English - no contractions in Old English.
  • In technical material these include: [See Guidelines for Technical Material:]
  • Part 1, General Principles - no contractions in strings of fully capitalised letters.

 • Part 14, Shape Symbols and Composite Symbols - no contractions in the description of a transcriber-defined shape.

• Part 16, Chemistry - no contractions in letters representing chemical elements.

• Part 17, Computer Notation - no contractions in a displayed computer program.


Uncontracted (grade 1) braille is different from grade 1 mode.


Grade 1 mode exists only when introduced by a grade 1 indicator or by a numeric indicator.


Uncontracted (grade 1) braille is a transcription option which may be selected for any number of reasons, including:

  • when the pronunciation or recognition of a word would be hindered: Section 10, Contractions
  • in Middle English: Section 12, Early Forms of English
  • in foreign words: Section 13, Foreign Language
  • in texts for readers who have not learned contracted braille
  • when the spelling of a word is featured, as in dictionary entries

Note: Braille authorities and production agencies may establish policies for the guidance of transcribers in the use of uncontracted (grade 1) braille.

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