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International Council on English Braille (ICEB)
Unified English Braille (UEB)

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Unified English Braille was developed by the International Council on English Braille to unify the braille codes used among english-speaking countries and to unify the braille symbols used in literary, mathematics and computing contexts. It was ratified in 2004 and is now used in many countries around the world, including Australia, Botswana, Canada, Fiji, Ghana, India, Ireland, Kiribati, Malaysia, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, the Phillipines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Tonga, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Vanuatu, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. ICEB continues to monitor the use of UEB and clarify or review its symbols and rules as necessary.

Rules of Unified English Braille, Second Edition, 2013

The Rules of Unified English Braille is the definitive UEB Rulebook produced by ICEB. Hard copies are available for purchase from RNIB in print and braille at an affordable price. The electronic files are available below for free download and can be printed or embossed for personal use.

The PDF version is designed for printing. See:
Rules of Unified English Braille 2013.pdf.

A PDF version with hyperlinks is also available. It is designed for easy navigation when accessing the document directly online. See:
Rules of Unified English Braille 2013 (linked).pdf.

The braille edition of the UEB Rulebook, in six volumes, is available as formatted braille (BRF) files with page size 25 lines by 30 cells:
Rules of Unified English Braille 2013 vol 1.brf (front matter, Sections 1-2)
Rules of Unified English Braille 2013 vol 2.brf (Sections 3-8)
Rules of Unified English Braille 2013 vol 3.brf (Sections 9-10)
Rules of Unified English Braille 2013 vol 4.brf (Sections 11-16)
Rules of Unified English Braille 2013 vol 5.brf (Appendices 1 [shortforms list] and 2 [word list])
Rules of Unified English Braille 2013 vol 6.brf (Appendix 3 [symbols list] )

The UEB Rulebook has been translated into French. The PDF version is available for free download:
Rules of Unified English Braille 2013-Translated into French.pdf.

Updates to the Rules of Unified English Braille (2013)

The following updates to the Rules of UEB have been approved, taking effect immediately, and will be included in the next edition. Transcribers and designers of braille translation software and equipment are asked to implement these changes now.

2.6.3 Add the line indicator (dots 456) to the "standing alone" rule with a new example
(Change as of April 19, 2017)

2.6.3 A letter or letters-sequence is considered to be "standing alone" when the following common punctuation and indicator symbols intervene between the letter or letters-sequence and the following space, hyphen or dash:
[an Emily Dickinson poem transcribed in linear format:]
The sun kept setting, setting still;
No hue of afternoon
Upon the village I perceived
From house to house 'twas noon

3.28 NEW UEB symbol for the check mark
(Change as of April 18, 2018)

Use for ✓ (U+2713) and (U+1f5f8).

3.28 Check mark, tick ⠈⠩
3.28.1 Follow print for use of the check mark.
✓ 1. 14
✓ 2. 25
⠀ 3. 42
✓ 4. 11

Sample ballot:
J. Hadfield
S. Marino
I. Wong ✓
[Their✓ There] son is kind.
I will go [yesterday ✓tomorrow].
The [child✓ children] is happy.

7.6.5 Single quotation mark or apostrophe
(Change as of August 4, 2015)

An amendment to the wording of section 7.6.5 has been approved, as follows (with added words in italics). Further changes to the rules for the apostrophe and quotation marks are still under consideration.

7.6.5 Use one-cell (nonspecific) quotation marks when apostrophes are used as the predominant quotation marks in print. Use specific single quotation marks when apostrophes are used as the secondary or inner quotation marks in print. However, when in doubt as to whether a mark is an apostrophe or a single quotation mark, treat it as an apostrophe when between letters, and as a single quotation mark in other circumstances.

10.12.2 Error in brailling of example
(Change as of March 15, 2017)

The lower groupsign for "ea" is not used in the word "reactor".

Strong contractions; See Section 10.3:

CANDU reactor ⠠⠠⠉⠯⠥⠀⠗⠑⠁⠉⠞⠕⠗
[Canada Deuterium Uranium]

15.1.3 New rule allowing use of the line indicator (dots 456) in tabular material
(Change as of April 19, 2017)

15.1.3 When columned or tabular material is changed to a linear format in braille, the line indicator may be used to mark the breaks between the columns. The line indicator is unspaced from the text in the preceding column and is followed by space before the text of the following column. Use of the line indicator within tables is not mandatory and should be determined according to the format guidelines of the producing agency or braille authority. Other methods for separating columns in braille are also permissible.
Child Brenda
AB Canada

Appendix 1: Shortforms List
(Change as of March 26, 2015)

Under "paid", the word unrepaid has been added to the List.

Under "said" the word unsaid has been added to the List.

Guidelines for Technical Material

This guidelines document was first produced in October 2008 by the Maths Focus Group, a subgroup of the former UEB Rules Committee during the UEB development phase. The purpose of this document was to give transcribers enough information and examples to produce Mathematics, Science and Computer notation in Unified English Braille.

In August 2014, a new version was produced to correct errors in the first edition. The 2014 version is available in print or braille:
Guidelines for Technical Material 2014 (PDF format)
Guidelines for Technical Material 2014 (BRF [formatted braille] format)

For those who already have copies of the October 2008 edition, errata are available in print (5 pages) and braille (7 pages):
Errata GTM 2014 (pdf format)
Errata GTM 2014 (brf [formatted braille] format)

Revisions to Guidelines for Technical Material

The Guidelines for Technical Material are currently under revision and will be released in sections for immediate use. Changes in the use of technical symbols that have been approved by the ICEB Executive are also listed below.

In all files, each math example is followed by a verbalization enclosed in quotation marks. Print readers are advised to use the PDF file because many versions of Word will not properly show the math symbols. The Word file is accessible for those who wish to use a screen reader. A braille display will provide optimum reading.

3. Signs of Operation and Comparison

Approved October 2018. This is the first completed section of the revised Guidelines for Technical Material (GTM).

GTM 3. Signs of Operation and Comparison (PDF) - recommended for print readers
GTM 3. Signs of Operation and Comparison (BRF) - recommended for use with a braille display. It is formatted with with 30 cells per line and 25 lines per page.
GTM 3. Signs of Operation and Comparison (Word) - available for use with a screen reader

Symbol assigned for triple vertical bar
(Change as of August 15, 2017)

The triple vertical bar ⦀ (U+2AF4, U+2980 or U+2AFC in print) is a sign of comparison meaning is similar to, as in same shape but different size. Its UEB symbol is ⠼⠸⠇ (dots 3456-456-123). It will be used in the same way as other signs of comparison and will be included in the upcoming revision of 3. Signs of Operation and Comparison.


UEB training and resource materials

ICEB has compiled a list of UEB training and resource materials available for free from its member countries.

UEB History

In April 2004, the ICEB General Assembly declared Unified English Braille to be substantially complete and that it could be recognized as an international standard and considered for adoption by individual countries. The original UEBC Research Project and its subcommittees were disbanded and replaced by a new project charged with oversight over UEB, including its further development.

After official adoption in five countries, the ICEB Executive, at its July 2010 meeting, determined that the development phase was complete and replaced the development project with a UEB Maintenance Committee. UEB has now been adopted in all eight member countries of the ICEB.

Some of the documents pertinent to the research phase of the project, as listed in UEBC Research Project Information -- especially the final committee reports presented at the 2004 General Assembly -- are useful as background information as to how UEB was developed and why certain decisions were made. However, the documents listed on this page provide the most up-to-date information about UEB and in particular, the Rulebook should be considered definitive.

ICEB contact information
ICEB home page
Page content last updated: May 14, 2019.