Sao Mai Braille User Guide

Posted on Tue, 06/05/2018 - 10:26


Sao Mai Braille (SMB) is a free rich-text editor and Braille translation software for Windows, developed by Sao Mai Center for the Blind. SMB is created with the goal of providing a unified solution in the Braille conversion process for text, images, mathematics, and music. We hope that this additional tool will assist both blind users and transcribers in producing Braille materials more quickly, effectively, and at a lower cost.

Main Features

  • Rich-text editor for both print and Braille.
  • 6-key input method.
  • Translate text into Braille with approximately 150 different language translation tables using LibLouis library.
  • Work with popular file types such as Microsoft Word, TXT, RTF and HTML. Open and save Braille documents with the rich-text .SMB extension, Portable Embosser File (.PEF), Braille-Ready File (.BRF), unformatted Braille (.BRL), and Spanish Braille (.BRA).
  • Translate document written in multiple languages by selecting relevant Braille translation tables.
  • Mathematics support: view/edit math equations, import/export LaTeX and MathML, speak and convert equations to Braille, and read in navigation mode. The MathCAT library is used to provide speech and Braille.
  • Fully support the process of drawing, editing and converting images into tactile graphics.
  • Translate music score into high-quality Braille result (currently supporting the MusicXML standard). SMB software uses our own SM-BungSang engine, which supports many unique features and custom transcription options. With its Score Info dialogue, transcribers can perform basic score editing to obtain a high-quality Braille output.
  • Easily add new highly customizable styles and apply flexible Braille formatting. The software also includes frequently used styles.
  • Automate the creation of Braille table of contents with many customizable options.
  • Various Braille data table types with customizable options for each.
  • "Split Document" tool to manage book volumes.
  • Support for different Braille output encodings and a tool to convert between Braille Ascii and Unicode.
  • The software’s user interface is available in 36 languages and is designed to work friendly with screen readers like Jaws and NVDA.


SMB does not have any specific system requirements and has been tested on both Windows 10 and 11. However, it is expected to work with older versions of Windows as well.

To install SMB, please follow the setup instructions. By default, SMB is installed on your system drive at the following location: "Program Files\SaoMai\SMB". The configuration files are saved in: "%appdata%\SaoMai\SMB".

Users of Jaws and NVDA screen reading software can enhance their navigation and reading experience by installing a script or add-on. When starting SMB, a prompt will appear asking if you would like to install the Jaws script or NVDA add-on if the corresponding screen reading software is detected. Alternatively, you can manually install the script or add-on later by accessing the Tools menu, selecting "Install add-on," and choosing the appropriate option.

User Interface

From main window, press F1 to open user guide. From Options dialogue, press F1 to read help message for the current item.

To change the language of user interface, go to Tools menu and choose "Interface language", or change "UI language" from "General" page of Options dialogue.

Main Editor Window

Main window of SMB includes the following controls:

  • Title bar: displays the name of the application.
  • Menu bar: contains main menu items. Press the Alt key to open the menu.
  • Tool bar: Provides frequently-used editing features. Press Ctrl+Shift+S to open the "Apply Style" dialog, and press Ctrl+Shift+F to open the "Apply Font" dialog.
  • Editing area: This is the window for multi-document editing. Use Ctrl+Tab or Ctrl+Shift+Tab to navigate between opened documents, and Ctrl+F4 to close the current document.
  • Status bar: Displays relevant information about the currently opened document, such as line number, column, and page.

SMB has following main menus:

  • File: New file/Open/Save/Export, Page setup/Print preview/Print, document property.
  • Edit: functions relating to text editing such as copy, cut, paste, paste special, find, replace, go to, clear format, remove hyperlink, remove page break, character case, and split document.
  • View: change to different view modes, access header and footer.
  • Insert: page number, page count, page break, horizontal bar, file, symbols etc.
  • Format: options and settings for font, styles, paragraph, bullet and numbering list, increase/decrease, text/background color, and line spacing.
  • Table: all functions relating to create/delete/manage and format tables.
  • Tools: Braille translation related options, and installing add-ons.
  • Help: user guide and other info about the program.

Document Editing and Formatting

Start the Sao Mai Braille program, and then press Ctrl+N to create a new print document or Ctrl+Shift+N to create a new Braille document.

By default, the Braille document window enables the 6-key Braille input method with fds-jkl (standing for dots 123-456).

Supported Filetypes

Important notes: The term "Print document" refers to a document that has not been translated into Braille yet, similar to the text you see in MS Word. On the other hand, "Braille document" refers to a document that has been translated into Braille, requiring knowledge of Braille to read it.

Sao Mai Braille supports two native rich-text filetypes: 1) The .SMD extension is used for print documents, and 2) The .SMB extension is used for Braille documents. Additionally, you can open and save files in other supported filetypes, including:

For print documents: Word DOCX, PDF, HTML, RTF, TXT.

For Braille documents:

  • Braille-Ready File with .brf file extension: Contains plain formatted Braille with a header, footer, and Braille paper settings, including correct line and page breaks.
  • Unformatted Braille with .brl extension: Contains plain Braille without a header, footer, and page breaks. It is suitable for reading on a Braille display.
  • Portable Embosser Format with .pef extension: saves Braille content in an XML-based PEF file. Read PEF specification for more info.
  • Spanish Braille with .bra extension: simlar to the BRF filetype, but without adding page break character.

For PEF document, you can go to File menu, choose Property and provide the metadata information.

Text Editing

Editing text with SMB is similar to other mainstream editors like Microsoft Word.

Applying Style

SMB has print and Braille styles. The print style is applied to print documents, while the Braille style is applied when the text is translated into Braille.

Please note, Braille style must have the same name as the corresponding print style to ensure that SMB applies correct translation rules.

Please refer to Styles settings page for more information on how to define translation rules for equivalent Braille styles.

To add a new print style:

  1. Go to the "Format" menu and choose "Styles" (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S) to open the Styles dialogue.
  2. Click on the "Add" button and follow the instruction.

From the Styles dialogue, you can also modify existing styles.

To apply style for a paragraph or selected text:

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+S or click on the Styles button on the toolbar.
  2. Use arrow keys to select the desired style and press Enter to apply.

Press F2 to cycle through header and footer, where you can input elements such as text, page number, date and time etc. Header/footer content is shown at the top/bottom of every page .

Like editing in main document window, you can use text commands such as to align left/right/center.

For example, to set page numbering on header at the rightmost:

  1. Press F2 to header.
  2. Alt+I for Insert menu.
  3. Choose Page Number.
  4. Select that line with inserted page number.
  5. Ctrl+R to align right.

By default, it uses decimal numbers for page numbering. You can change to other numbering type:

  1. Move to the inserted page number object,
  2. Press Alt+Enter to open its property dialogue.
  3. Choose desired options and click on Ok to apply.

When you're satisfied, press Escape to return to main document window.

Important note: it's recommended to insert header and footer contents from print document window in order to have more accurate Braille translation result, especially when the document has inserted objects like music score and table.

Text Editing Keystrokes

Editing keystrokes
Command name Keystroke
Apply heading styles level 1 through 6 Ctrl+alt+1-6
Bold Ctrl+b
Italic Ctrl+i
Underline Ctrl+u
Bullet list Ctrl+shift+u
Number list Ctrl+shift+o
Increase indent/list level Ctrl+shift+.
Decrease indent/level list Ctrl+shift+,
Align left Ctrl+l
Align center Ctrl+e
Align right Ctrl+r
Justify Ctrl+j
Say format info F4
Insert equation Alt+F9
Insert picture Alt+F10
Insert music score Alt+F11
Object property Alt+Enter
Activate Math navigation mode Shift+F5
Header/footer F2
Speak next sentence Ctrl+Alt+Right
Speak previous sentence Ctrl+Alt+Left

Data Table

Creating and Applying Table Type

From the Table menu, you can find all related features to manage a data table, such as creating, editing, deleting.

Currently, SMB supports creating a data table from a print document, and then translating it into Braille.

SMB supports three Braille table types: cell per paragraph, row per paragraph, and columnar. Each type may be suitable for different purposes of table usage.

To apply Braille table type:

  1. In the print document, move cursor to any cell of the table that you want to apply the Braille table type.
  2. Open Table menu.
  3. Open "Translate table as" submenu, and choose desired one.

Repeat same steps to apply for other tables in the document.

Tables that are not applied with a specific table type will be translated using the default Braille table type currently set in the Table page of the Options dialogue.

For more information about translation settings for table, read Table settings page.

Keystrokes For Table

Some tips to select multiple cells, columns and rows are:

  • Select multiple cells: press Alt+Shift+E to select current cell, then press shift+Arrow keys to select cell in that direction.
  • Select multiple columns: press Alt+Shift+C to select current column, then press Shift+RightArrow or Shift+LeftArrow to select next or previous column.
  • Select multiple rows: press Alt+Shift+R to select current row, then press Shift+UpArrow or Shift+DownArrow to select next or previous row.
Table navigation keystrokes
Command name Keystroke
Next cell Alt+Right
Previous cell Alt+Left
Cell below Alt+Down
Cell above Alt+Up
First column cell Alt+Pageup
Last column cell Alt+Pagedown
First row cell Alt+Home
Last row cell Alt+End
First table cell Alt+Home, Alt+Pageup
Last table cell Alt+End, Alt+Pagedown
Read current cell/object F7
Read current column Ctrl+Shift+c
Read current row Ctrl+Shift+r
Say table info Ctrl+Shift+t
Select table Alt+Shift+t
Select cell Alt+Shift+e
Select column Alt+Shift+c
Select row Alt+Shift+r
Select to beginning of row Alt+Shift+Home
Select to end of row Alt+Shift+End
Select to beginning of column Alt+Shift+Pageup
Select to end of column Alt+Shift+Pagedown


Besides the function of inserting and displaying images in the print document, from SMB 24.1, it fully supports the process of drawing, editing and converting images into tactile graphics. SMB integrates the Sao Mai Graphics (SMG), a tool for drawing and editing images. The SMG tool can be also downloaded, installed, and run as a standalone application.

By default, SMB will ignore all images when converting from print to Braille. To change relevant settings, go to Tools menu, open Options dialogue and choose the Tactile Graphics page.

When an image is inserted directly into a Braille document or translated into Braille from a print document, the image will be converted to black and white.

To insert an image:

  1. Open the Insert menu and select Picture, or press Alt+F10.
  2. Choose an image and add it to the document. If inserting an image into a Braille document, a dialog box will appear to customize brightness and darkness.

After completing the insertion, as in the print document, press Alt+Enter on the image to open the Image Properties dialogue, allowing customization of some basic settings and providing alternate text.

If the focus is in the Braille document, press Alt+Enter on the image to open the SMG tool, allowing you to edit the image.

When done with the editing, press Ctrl+s to save, exit SMG and return to the SMB window.

Using Sao Mai Graphics (SMG) Tool

The interface of SMG program is entirely intuitive for sighted users. This document provides a general instruction of the functions and keyboard interactions, specifically designed to help visually impaired users quickly familiarize themselves with and use the software.

To create a new image, choose “New” from the File menu or press Ctrl+N. The Canvas Size dialogue appears to allow specifying the maximum width and height, as well as the graphic resolution.

To change the size of the current image, choose 'Canvas Size' from the Edit menu.

In the main window, press F6 and Shift+F6 to switch between panes: layer list, graphic editor, and settings pane for the current layer. Additionally, use Tab or Shift+Tab to navigate between controls.

Drawing with SMG is done by adding layers. Select layer from the Tools menu to add. Each layer type may have different configurable settings.

To edit a layer, select the layer in the list, press Tab to navigate to the setting controls, and modify the parameters. The Layer menu also provides additional functions for layers.

In addition to common parameters found in most layers such as Left (left edge of the layer), Top (top edge of the layer), Width (width of the image), and Height (height of the image), here are specific notes for some layers.


When drawing a Line, there is a “Curve” spin edit control to turn the straight line into a curve. You can enter positive or negative values, and it will curve in two opposite directions (upwards and downwards or leftwards and rightwards).

When a Line is selected, and the focus is on the Graphic editor pane, use Alt+Up and Alt+Down arrow keys to adjust the curve.


When selecting a Polyline, you need to define the coordinates of the points in the X, Y field. Then press Enter in the X or Y field to confirm the coordinates. Pressing Ctrl+Enter will replace the currently selected point in the Points list. Press Delete key or the Delete button to remove the selected point from the list.

From the Layer menu, select “Edit layer points”, and press Alt+mouse drag on a polyline edge to turn it into a curve. On the right, there is a Points list and a “Curve” spin edit control. The value ranges from -10 to 10 (=0 does nothing). It will curve the straight segment from the selected point in the Points list to the point immediately after. After selecting the curve in Curve, press Shift+Enter to apply. You can also focus on the Points list and press Shift+Enter to curve according to the current value of Curve.


In the Tools menu, selecting Chart opens a dialog to choose the chart type: Bar, Line, Pie. Enter multiple values into the list. Clicking OK will create the chart.


In the Tools menu, select Graph, open the dialog to enter expressions. Click OK to insert the graph.

Example: for x^3, press the x^y button, which will display Power(x,2), replace the number 2 with 3. Apply similarly for Root(x,2), Log(x,2).


When adding text, press Tab to go to the Graphic editor pane, press F2 to enter text, Shift+Enter to new line, Enter to save, and Esc to cancel.

If you want to input with 6-key Braille method, select the “Use Six-key” option in the Edit menu first, then press F2 to edit text. Furthermore, the Text menu offers various formatting functions.


Important notes: screen reader users should enable option to Read image and math contents from General page in Options dialogue. If not checked, screen reading software just announces "graphic" or "equation" when moving cursor across inserted image or math expression.

SMB supports inputting math equation, importing/exporting between LaTeX and MathML, and converting them to both Braille and speech. Currently, it supports math Braille in Nemeth, UEB and Vietnam codes.

For more information about math speech and Braille options, please see Math equation settings page in Options dialogue.

Math Editing

From the print document window, go to Insert menu and choose Equation, or press Alt+F9. The focus will be on the Expression edit field of the Expression page, where you can directly input LaTeX code.

The dialogue has three tab pages: Expression, Font, and Appearance. Font and appearance pages are used to choose settings for visually presenting expression in print document.

By default, the focus is on the Expression page, which has two subpages: 1) Search by category, and 2) Direct text search.

To search by category:

  1. Press Alt+S to focus on a list of categories and choose one.
  2. Next tab will display a subcategory list if available. Otherwise, it will show a list of math operators belonging to selected category. Choose an operator and press Space to insert.

To search by entering text:

  1. Press Alt+D to move to Direct search tab.
  2. Type the name of equation you want to search, for instance, type “Root”. It will list equations with the word “root” in their name.
  3. Press Down arrow key to select the correct one and press Enter to insert.

Equation in LaTeX code is inserted in Expression edit field, where you can modify its parameters.

Below are the remaining controls on this page:

  • Clear button (Alt+l): deletes contents in Expression edit field.
  • Check button: validates equations in Expression edit field for any errors.
  • Formular name: provides a name for the content in Expression edit field to be saved in equation Favorite category.
    After typing the formular name, A "Save to favorite" button will appear. This feature allows you to add frequently used math expressions into the favorite category, which can be searched for by choosing “Favorite” category in the Search by category tab page.
    Press Ctrl+Delete to delete the equation in ”Recent use” subcategory.
  • Next are Import and Export buttons, which are used to import or export math equation from/to LaTeX/MathML.
    Imported equation is inserted directly into the Expression edit field.

Press Escape to close the dialogue or choose the Ok button to insert the equation into current print document.

It's recommended to validate the equation by pressing "Check" button before clicking Ok.

In the print document, move cursor to an equation, press Alt+Enter to open equation dialogue to edit.

Math Navigation Mode

If you are using screen readers like Jaws and NVDA, at the equation, press Shift+F5 to activate math navigation mode. This mode will let you read equation in detailed structure with speech and Braille.

Use Tab key to move between math formular and Braille output controls.

Press Escape to close math navigation mode.

Keystrokes for Math Navigation Mode
Keystrokes to read math expression in navigation mode with Sao Mai Braille
Key Unmodified +Ctrl +Shift +Ctrl+Shift
Left Move to previous

In table: Move to previous cell

In columnar math: Move to previous digit

Read previous Describe previous
Right Move to next

In table: Move to next cell

In columnar math: Move to next digit

Read next Describe next
Up Zoom out

In table: Move to cell above

In columnar math: Move to digit above

Change Navigation Mode (Enhanced/Simple/Character) to larger Zoom out all the way
Down Zoom in

In table: Move to cell below

In columnar math: Move to digit below

Change Navigation Mode (Enhanced/Simple/Character) to smaller Zoom in all the way
Numbers 1-10 (0 is 10) Jump to Place Marker Set Place Marker Read Place Marker Describe Place Marker
Space Read current Read current cell Toggle "speech mode" to read or describe Describe current cell
Home Move to start of expression Move to start of line

Move to start of column

Move to digit at top

NYI: Read from start of expression
End Move to end of expression Move to end of line

Move to end of column

Move to digit at bottom

NYI: Read to end of expression
Backspace Move back to last position      

Music Score


Since version 21, SMB has new Braille music translation engine named “SM-BungSang”,which currently supports to translate score written in MusicXML standard into Braille. Most of mainstream music notation software’s like Musescore, Sibelius, finale etc., can export score into MusicXML file. There are many resources of MusicXML scores available on the internet like

SM-BungSang engine is mainly developed based on the Music Braille Code (MBC) documentation. However, it has variety of options to flexibly apply for New International Manual of Braille Music Notation (NIM) and for other country-specific settings.

Same as other document types, in order to have a high-quality Braille score, the original print score should be well notated and exported into high-quality MusicXML format by notation software. You can read a document published by DAISY Music Braille project about Tips For Engravers To Produce Braille Transcription-Friendly Scores.

Inserting Score

From print document window:

  1. Press Alt+F11 to open Music Score dialogue. Or, press Alt+I for Insert menu, and choose Music score.
  2. Browse and insert music file.

Multiple MusicXML files can be inserted into one print document.

By default, each score and a score part will be placed on a new Braille page. For more about music Braille translation options, please see Music Braille settings page in Options dialogue.

If you want to translate score into Braille with default settings and without making any basic score info editing, just press Ctrl+T after inserting the score into print document.

Read Translating Into Braille section to know more about additional preparation steps.

Score Info Dialogue

Beside a variety of music Braille translation options from the Options dialogue, this dialogue is used to let you edit some basic score information and provide custom Braille signs for music parts.

Same as other document types, the better music score is notated and prepared, the higher quality of Braille output you get.

After inserting a score into the print document, press Alt+Enter on the inserted music score to open the Score info dialogue. Press F6 to move quickly between the score’s general info section and its part list.

If there’re multiple scores inserted into a document, press Alt+N to move to the next; Alt+P to move to the previous.

When done with the editing, press Alt+S to save; Alt+C to close the Score info dialogue.

  • Music profile: select the music settings profile to be applied to translate the chosen score into Braille. This feature gives you option to flexibly translate each score in a document with specific translation settings. Refer to Profiles page in Options dialogue -> Music Braille.
  • Next tab edit controls, including title, subtitle, composer, arranger, lyricist and copyright, are to edit general information for the whole selected score.
  • Parts: list of parts in selected score. By default, all parts are checked to be translated into Braille. Use arrow keys to choose one and press Tab for further editing. Or, press Space to exclude from translating into Braille.
  • Check all and Uncheck all buttons are used to quickly select or exclude all parts from being translated into Braille.
  • Selected parts: this edit field, you can also follow the syntax to directly specify part number to be selected for Braille translation. For instance, type: "1-3" to select from part 1 to part 3. "1,3" to select part 1 and part 3 (not include part 2).

After selecting a part from the list, there will have 4 tab pages to edit and provide custom Braille signs for that part. Those are Part, Staff, Instrument, and Lyric.

When focus is on tab bar: use left and right arrow keys to move between 4 tab pages. Press Space to activate, and press Tab key to navigate through its options.

Part Tab Page
  • apply correct Braille options for that kind of instrument. If not provided, the application will detect instrument type automatically.
  • Part name: modify the part name in the original score. This part name is usually shown at the beginning of a part when translating with single-part mode. While, it is shown in instrument list as translating with orchestra/chamber full score mode.
  • Part abbreviation: modify the part abbreviation of original score. This is mostly used when translating with full score option. It is shown in the instrument list and in Braille score to indicator the start of that part.
  • Braille part name: provide custom Braille part name. If not provided, the application will use the original part name field. Use 6-key Braille input to enter the name.
  • Braille part abbreviation: provide custom Braille part abbreviation. If not provided, application will use the abbreviation defined in the Instruments.xml settings file. If not found in that file, it will automatically base on the original part abbreviation to generate one.
  • Measure: list measures that are changed to a new print page number. If you want to customize the page number of a measure, choose that measure and tab to the next control.
  • Start page numbering from: set the number from which you want to start for the selected measure in the previous control.
Staff Tab Page

To provide custom Braille name for each staff in a part. For instance, a part for string instrument type has multiple staves. Each staff is assigned for one player. So, beside the part abbreviation, each staff should be named to differentiate between different players.

  • Staff list: list of staff changes in selected part. Use Arrow key to choose, and press Tab to edit.
  • Braille staff name: use 6-key Braille input to provide custom Braille staff name. For instance, with Piano right hand staff can be changed from ⠨⠜ to ⠏⠗ etc. If not provided, application will automatically apply default settings defined in Instruments.xml file.
  • Interval direction: set direction to write intervals and voices from low to high pitch or in reverse. If not specified, application will apply settings defined in Instruments.xml file.
Instrument Tab Page

To list instrument changes in that part. For instance, Clarinet plays from bar 1 to 4, then Saxophone plays from bar 5 onward. This page is used to provide custom Braille name and abbreviation for those changed instruments.

  • Changed instruments: use arrow key to choose an instrument change if having.
  • Instrument info: show the original name and abbreviation of that changed instrument.
  • Braille instrument name: use 6-key Braille input to enter custom Braille instrument name.
  • Braille instrument abbreviation: use 6-key Braille input to enter custom Braille instrument abbreviation.
Lyric Tab Page

if selected part has lyric, it will list all lyrics and has a list to assign Braille translation table for each lyric.

For example: the part has lyric 1 written in English and 2 in Italian. You can:

  1. Choose lyric 1 from the list.
  2. Press Tab to the Braille table list and choose English translation table.
  3. Then, Shift+Tab and choose lyric 2.
  4. Press Tab to Braille table list and choose Italian.

If not specified any table for lyrics in Score info dialogue, it will use Braille translation table applied for the inserted music score, or the default one.

After done with editing, choose Save button. Go back to part list, select other and continue to modify.

Preparing and Transcribing Print Document Into Braille

Splitting Document Into Volumes

This simple tool is used to split one long print document into multiple volumes. It’s useful to make multiple Braille volumes.

From print document, go to Edit menu, choose Split document.

The tool relies on document heading structure to split contents into multiple files.

On the left pane, is the Document structure tree view, which shows document headings hierarchically. And on the right, is a list of splitted volumes.

Press F6 to switch between two panes. Or, use Tab, shift+tab to navigate.

For example, if you have one long print document, contains: 1) Preface pages, 2) 3 chapters, and 3) Index pages. The preface and index pages will be put at the beginning and end of each volume. While, each chapter will be in one volume file. Do the following steps:

  1. Open split document tool from Edit menu.
  2. From Split document window, choose New first page button.
  3. In Document structure pane, choose Preface and press Enter to add as first page.
  4. Choose New volume button, from Document structure, choose Chapter 1 and press Enter to add that section to the new volume as a starting point.
  5. Choose New volume again to create volume 2, then choose Chapter 2 from the Document structure and press Enter.
  6. Repeat same steps to create and add chapter 3 to volume 3.
  7. Choose Add last page button.
  8. Choose Index pages heading from the Document structure and press Enter.

You can double-check by pressing F6 to switch to Splitted volumes pane. If you are satisfied, choose Ok.

The tool will create and open three new volume files. Use Ctrl+Tab to switch between these opened document windows.

Please note, splitted documents are not saved yet. So, you can review, make any changes and save each document.

Braille Encoding

In some cases, your print document has both print and Braille text. So, you just want to translate print text into Braille, while Braille text is kept intact. In addition, the Braille text is written/encoded in ascii, but you want to have it in Unicode Braille.

In print document, to keep Braille text intact when translating into Braille:

  1. Select that Braille text.
  2. Go to Tools menu -> Translation tables -> and choose No translation.

To convert Braille text between ascii and Unicode:

  1. Select Braille text.
  2. Go to Tools menu -> Braille encoding -> and choose desired one.

If selected text is detected as ascii, only "Braille ascii to unicode" option is available. And in reverse, only "Braille unicode to ascii" option is available for selected Braille text written in unicode.

For more information about Braille table and encoding options, please read Translation Tables settings page.

Creating Table Of Contents

SMB relies on document structure assigned by headings to automatically generate Table Of Contents (TOC). Go to Insert menu -> Table of contents, and choose:

  • Generate TOC: to create table of contents.
  • Update TOC: to update existing table of contents with any changes since the last generated TOC.
  • Delete TOC: to remove existing table of contents.

You can create table of contents either from print or Braille document window.

For more TOC translation options, go to Table Of Contents settings page, in Styles in Options dialogue.

Translating Into Braille

Important notes: it's recommended to set following options in print document, before translating into Braille; especially, when a document contains table or music score:

  • Header and footer elements like page numbering: press F2 to move to header or footer, and input the content either by typing or from Insert menu. Read Header and Footer section for more information.
  • Braille Characters Per Line (CPL) and Lines Per Page (LPP): go to Options dialogue, choose Embosser page and make changes. Read Embosser settings page for more information.

Applying Braille Translation Table

If a document is not applied with any desired Braille translation tables, default table is used.

To change default Braille translation table:

  1. Open Options dialogue from Tools menu.
  2. Move down to choose Translation tables settings page.
  3. The first tab shows name and table path of current default table.
  4. Next tab is a Browse button. Press Space to activate and open dialogue to select translation table.
  5. Choose language and press Tab to choose contraction level.
  6. Choose Ok to add new default Braille translation table, but not saved yet.
  7. Focus is back to Translation tables page in Options dialogue. Now, press Ok to save the change.

You can apply desired translation table for selected text or inserted objects like equation or music score. Not-applied Content is translated with default table.

To apply desired translation table:

  1. Select a content (text, inserted objects like graphic, math equation or music score).
  2. Go to Tools menu -> Translation tables and open its submenu.
  3. Choose the table to apply.

You can apply multiple desired tables in a document by repeating same steps above.

By default, Translation tables menu only has few English tables enabled. To add more:

  1. Open Options dialogue from Tools menu.
  2. Move down to choose Translation tables settings page, and press Tab to Translation tables list.
  3. Move through the list to the table that you want to add to Translation tables menu, and press Space to check it.
  4. When you are done with checking all desired tables, choose Ok.

Please refer to Translation Tables settings page in Options dialogue for more information.

Translation Bar View

Before performing the entire document conversion, you can check for a quick translation of a character, word, and/or a line by going to the View menu and enabling the “Translation bar.”

To choose whether the current character, word, or line is translated and shown on the translation bar, open the Options dialogue from the Tools menu, and select the desired options.

Press F11 to move to the bar and press Escape to return to the editor. This feature works in both the print and Braille document windows.

Starting To Translate

From print document, press Ctrl+T to translate into Braille.

Please note, due to screen readers not supported SMB’s rich-text editor control yet, screen reader users might not see Braille spacing shown correctly on Braille display. But it's actually well-formatted on screen.

To show it correctly on Braille display, press F8 to view as BRF; or, F9 to view as BRL. Press Escape to close the view.

View as BRF and BRL options can also be found on Views menu.

SMB Options Dialogue

Go to Tools menu, choose Options to open the dialogue, where you can find most of program settings arranged in category pages.

On the left pane is category pages, and the right is settings of selected page. Press F6 to quickly move between two panes.

Context help message of current tab control is shown at the screen bottom. Or, press F1 to hear the message with screen reading software.

Some other notes:

Braille dot pattern is to define dots in numbers. Dash sign is used to separated two Braille cells. Braille space is defined with number 0.
For instance, dot pattern 456-345, will have US ascii Braille as: _>, and Unicode Braille as: ⠸⠜.


  • UI language: choose language for the application user interface. The next “More” button is to check for new language updates from Sao Mai’s web server.
  • 6-key input mode: choose Off to input in QWERTY method; choose FDS-JKL or VCX-M,. to input with 6-key Braille method with the dots in order of 123-456. This is only active in Braille document window.
  • Date time format: specify how SMB will format the date. For instance, yyyy/mm/dd for 2018/05/31.
  • Hyphen: define the line continuation dot indicator. If specified, SMB will cut word at the end of the line, add this Braille sign and continue to write the word remaining on the next line. If not specified, SMB will go to next line without cutting words. UEB line continuation indicator is defined with dot 5.
  • Header/footer blank lines: specify number of blank lines to be inserted right after header and before footer text.
  • Check for update when starting: choose to let SMB automatically check for new update every time it starts. You can manually check by finding it from Help menu.
  • Print header footer on odd page: check to translate header and footer on odd pages.
  • Print header footer on even page: choose to translate header and footer on even pages.
  • Ignore page breaks: check to skip page breaks and continue to translate text on the same Braille page. Uncheck to follow the page breaks as in print document.
  • Read image and math contents: read content of math equation and image’s alternate text. If not checked, SMB just announces “equation” for math, and “graphic” for image object.
  • Remove top blank lines in Braille text: The blank lines at the beginning of all Braille pages will be automatically removed when embossed or saved to files such as BRF, PEF, BRL. If not selected, blank lines will be kept as they are.
  • Next three options are available to show the current character, word, and line on the translation bar. The "Translation bar" in the View menu needs to be enabled to use this feature.


This settings page is to choose page layout and embosser settings for your Braille document.

If you are translating to read on Braille display, you might just want to change settings such as Paper size, CPL (Characters Per Line), and LPP (Lines Per Page). And if you are going to emboss, you might need to configure all settings in this dialogue.

  • Profile name: device profile list. You can remove/create new profile, but the list must have at least one.
  • Embosser model: if it doesn't work with your embosser brand, please try with Generic model. We don't have Braille embossers of different brands on hand to test. We just develop plainly based on their technical documentation. So, it might have issues when printing Braille with specific model.
  • Driver name: choose driver of the embosser. Many embossers support generic-text only driver. However, some requires to have its own driver.
  • Paper size: list of some frequently-used Braille paper size. Each paper size has its own width and height in inches, max CPL and LPP. You cannot increase desired CPL or LPP over its max CPL or LPP value.
    At the list bottom, press Enter on "New custom size..." to add new paper size. Fill in width, height, max CPL and LPP, then choose Ok to save.
  • CPL: set desired number of Braille characters per line.
  • LPP: set desired Braille lines per page.
  • Left margin: specify number of blank Braille cells for left margin.
  • Top margin: specify number of blank Braille lines for the top margin.
  • Graphic dot distance: choose resolution when embossing tactile graphic. Option is available for only supported models.
  • Print both side: check to emboss interpoint.
  • Braille and print: available for only supported embosser models with both Braille and ink-printing capability.
  • The new and remove profile buttons are to create new device profile, or delete current selected profile from Profile name list.

Translation Tables

  • Default Braille table: name and file of the default Braille translation table. Activate the Browse button in the next tab control to change the default table. It will open a dialogue to select the language and contraction grade.
  • Translation tables list: use arrow keys to move and space key to select/unselect. Checked tables are shown in Translation tables submenu in Tools menu. Next tab controls are to define Braille translation rules for selected table.
  • Table path: Name and file path of the selected table.
  • Beginning symbol: Braille dot pattern to mark as open indicator for the text translated with the selected table.
  • Ending symbol: Braille dot pattern to mark as close indicator for the text translated with the selected table.
  • Color: choose color in which will be displayed for the print text applied with the selected table. This would be helpful for sighted transcribers to quickly view of print contents applied with different tables.
  • Braille output encoding: choose Ascii or Unicode Braille.
  • Display Braille code: different options shown for the Ascii or Unicode that you chose in the previous tabl. Please check with your Braille device documentation for more information in order to select the right option. Normally, Ascii with North America Braille code should work for most of devices, while unicode should be the most suitable option to read on Braille display connected with your computer.
  • Always save BRF/BRL as: it will convert Braille document into selected encoding whenever saving the document into BRF or BRL filetype. By default, BRF and BRL are saved in ascii Braille.

Tactile Graphics

This page contains translation settings for tactile graphics.

  • Convert images to tactile graphics: If checked, all valid images in the print document will be converted to black and white images, ready for translation into tactile graphics for embossing or saving to final Braille files such as BRF and PEF. By default, this option is not selected, so all images are ignored when translating from print to Braille.
  • Convert image description: Whether to translate the description/alternate text of images into Braille.
  • Use resolution of each image: each tactile graphic could have its own dot resolution by specifying it from the Canvas size dialogue in SMG. If unchecked, SMB will use the resolution setting from the Embosser page in Options dialogue.



Text styles are used to format and structure in print document. Some frequently-used styles are headings, bullet/numbering list, title, subtitle, normal etc.

From here, you can customize rules for SMB to translate content with specific style into Braille. Select a style from the list and define translation rules. Repeat the same steps to customize for other styles. Built-in text styles are defined based on UEB format standard. However, if you find any missing and wrong definitions, please get back to us.

  • Text styles list: choose a style to customize. This list will show all built-in, custom and available detected styles of current opened print document. Next tab controls are to define translation rules for selected style from this list.
  • First-line indent: set number of spaces from the left margin for the first line of a paragraph.
  • Child-level indent: number of additional spaces from the left margin for child-level list item, compared and counted by the list level 1. Please note, this rule is only applied for paragraph with multiple-level styles like bullet and numbered lists.
  • Left indent: number of spaces from the left margin for remaining lines of a paragraph. This doesn’t change the indentation which is set for First-line rule.
  • Right indent: number of spaces from the right margin to the text of a paragraph.
  • Blank line before: number of blank lines inserted right before the paragraph with style.
  • Blank line after: number of blank lines inserted right after the paragraph.
  • Beginning symbol: define Braille dot pattern to mark as open indicator at the beginning of the text.
  • Ending symbol: define Braille dot pattern to mark as close indicator at the end of the text.


SMB currently supports to translate font attributes: bold, italic and underline. According to UEB rules, there are three level indicators: for letter, word and passage. Text with three words and more are considered as a passage. Place the indicator before the text with font attributes and ending indicator for only the passage. Choose an attribute from the list, move on to customize its settings, then go back to the list and choose another attribute to customize if preferred.

  • Font attribute list: choose font attribute to customize.
  • Show symbol: choose “Hide” to not detect and indicate font attribute for any text with font attribute.
    “Only normal” is to indicate for text with normal style.
    “Normal, headings” is to indicate for both text with normal and heading styles.
  • Letter: Braille dot pattern to indicate letters with the font attribute.
  • Word: Braille dot pattern to indicate words with the font attribute.
  • Phrase: Braille dot pattern to indicate the beginning of a passage with the font attribute.
  • Ending symbol: Braille dot pattern to indicate the ending of a passage with the font attribute.

TOC (Table Of Contents)

Options in TOC settings page are:

  • Place TOC at: choose position in a document to insert table of contents (applied in either Braille or print document).
  • Show levels: up to which level of heading style to be included in TOC (applied in either Braille or print document).
  • Show page number: include page number for each TOC item in print document. In Braille, it’s inserted Braille page number by default.
  • Tab leader: choose symbol used for tab to separate between TOC item and its page number (applied in print document only).

And all following settings are only applied for Braille:

  • First-line indent: set number of spaces from the left margin for the first line of a TOC item.
  • Child-level indent: number of additional spaces from the left margin for child-level TOC item. For instance, TOC item with heading level 3 will have left indentation of the first line and remaining lines with this added number of spaces, compared to the TOC item with heading level 2.
  • Left indent: number of spaces from the left margin for remaining lines of a TOC item. This doesn’t change the indentation which is set for First-line rule.
  • Right indent: number of spaces from the right margin to the text of a TOC item.
  • Centered text: the heading text written at the first line to indicate the start of a TOC.
  • Left column text: text to mark as table column header for TOC item contents.
  • Guide dot: Braille dot pattern used to separate between TOC’s item and its page number when having more than 4 spaces in between.
  • Right column text: text to mark as table column header for TOC page numberings.
  • Braille page number prefix: dot pattern to be inserted right before Braille page number.
  • Print page number prefix: dot pattern to be inserted right before print page number. It’s shown only when adding print page number in TOC is enabled.
  • Add print page number in TOC: place the page number of print document together with Braille page number.


SMB supports to translate data table into Braille based on following types:

  • Row per paragraph: each table row is written on a paragraph.
  • Cell per paragraph: each cell content is written on a paragraph.
  • Columnar: Braille table is presented in columns, similar to table in print, using columns to apply spacing between table cells.

Each type with its own options can be customized to translate into many different Braille table styles. Depending on the use of data table, transcribers should have his/her own decision on what style to be customized.

The first option in Table page is to choose table type, mentioned in the list above. Each table type has common and its own settings.

Common setting options for all table types:
  • Blank cell dot: dot pattern to fill for blank table cells.
  • Top line: Braille dot to indicator the start of a table. The dot is written in a full Braille line.
  • Row separator: Braille dot line to separate between table rows.
  • Bottom line: Braille dot to indicator the end of a table. The dot is written in a full Braille line.
  • Keep row together: check to make sure all contents of same-row cells to be on the same Braille page. If not checked, it will break freely.
For Row Per Paragraph type:
  • Row style: choose level style to apply for table rows in Braille.
  • First-cell dot: specify dot pattern to insert right after a first-cell content.
  • Second cell dot: specify dot pattern to insert right after second-cell content, and applied same for remaining cells like the third, fourth and so on.
  • Spaces between columns: specify number of spaces to be inserted between cell contents.
For Cell Per Paragraph type:
  • First-cell style: choose level style to apply for the first-cell content of a table in Braille.
  • Second cell style: choose level style to apply for the second-cell content of a table in Braille.
  • Remaining cells applied as second style: if checked, third, fourth cells and so on, will be applied same level style of the second-cell one. If not checked, remaining cells will be increased by level X+2-Y+2 formular, compared to its right previous column level.
  • Header row dot: Braille dot pattern to insert right after first row header text. Active when "First row as header" option is checked.
  • First row as header: check to make first table row as a header row.
For Columnar type:
  • Header separator: dot pattern to write across on a line as a cell's foot padding, right below the first table header row. The line has number of dots same as its associated column width.
  • Guide dot: dot pattern to fill in blank Braille lines within a table cell.
  • Spaces between columns: specify number of spaces to be inserted between cell contents.
  • First row as header: if checked, first table row is considered as header and will apply header separator if that option is specified.

Math Equation


  • Braille code: choose math Braille translation code such as Nemeth or UEB.
  • Navigation highlight: whether to place dot pattern 78 in Braille output.


  • Generate speech for: choose suitable speaking level for users with different disabilities.
  • Speech language: select text language to output to screen reading software to read aloud.
  • Speech style: more structured or simple to have screen reader speak.
  • Speech verbosity: choose how much info for screen reader to speak.
  • Navigation mode: choose the way that screen reader will speak. Modes are listed below. Please note, this navigation mode is activated by pressing Shift+F5 when cursor is at the equation in print document.
    Enhanced mode: Navigation is by mathematically meaningful pieces (operators, delimiters, and operands).
    Simple mode: This moves by words except when you get to a 2D notation (fractions, roots, …), then it speaks the entire notation. Zooming in lets you explore the 2D notation in the same mode. Zooming out or moving out of the 2D notation brings you back to the outer/higher level of navigation.
    Character mode: This is actually two useful modes -- word mode and character mode (zoom in to get "real" character mode). Moves by words/characters. This differs for numbers of more than one digit and function names such as "sin" that are multiple characters. Otherwise, word and character navigation are the same.
  • Navigation verbosity: how much info to read for selected mode.

Music Braille

SM-BungSang translation engine is developed based mainly on Music Braille Code (MBC) and the New International Manual of Braille Music Notation (NIM). So, for more details, please check those materials.

This user guide just describes shortly about main features’ options.


Music Braille settings are saved in profile file with .profile extension in “MusicProfiles” folder in the path “%appdata%\SaoMai\SMB”.

For your convenience, we make some profiles that transcribers often use to translate into Braille music.

  • Select music profile: choose a profile and press Enter to make it active. Or, activate the “Load profile” button button next to it.
  • Load profile: choose to activate selected profile from the list.
  • Remove profile: delete selected profile from the list.
  • Use default profile: use the default profile file for transcribing scores into Braille, which is used when there’s no active profile.
  • Description: provide detailed information about the profile when saving a new profile or viewing the selected one.
  • Profile name: give a name and choose “Save profile” button next to it to save current music settings as a new profile.
  • Save profile: it’s shown when “Profile name” field has data in order to save as a new profile.


  • Format type: support bar-over-bar, line-over-line and section-by-section formatting method. It will have different Braille layout for each format type. Some specific options will appear depending on format type you choose. For instance, section-by-section and line-over-line will have option to set how many measures per section.
  • Measure numbering: numbering the first measure of every parallel. Available for bar-over-bar and line-over-line. Option name with “auto” means that the engine will number in order from one to higher. While “print score” options, engine will respect measure numbering of the score.
  • Transcription mode: choose Single part mode to translate part by part; or, Orchestra/Chamber types as full score; or Solo with accompaniment which contains solo melody and an accompaniment.
  • Number of measures: choosing “Auto” will use same calculation as bar-over-bar for line-over-line; and will base on system breaks to divide number of measures per section for section-by-section format. Otherwise, you can specify exactly how many measures should be on one section. Please note, Braille parallel/section breaking feature works closely with “Break to new parallel” options from Format setting page.
  • Place title page at: when translating multiple-part score with single-part transcription mode, this will write title page info at the beginning of each part. Title page contains song info such as song title, subtitle, composer, arranger, part name etc.
  • Write additional lyrics: whether to write all lyrics together with notes on separate line, or just lyric 1 and additional ones will be written at the end of that part.
  • Write chord symbols: whether to write chord symbols in line with notes, or on separate line right below note line.
  • Always mark octave at first note of measure: force to state octave sign before first note of a measure.
  • Restate key signature: state key signature at beginning of every new parallel on each staff. This option is mostly used in full score translation mode.
  • State key sign without cancellation: when changing key sign from among flats and/or sharps, if not checked, it will reset to natural accidental(s) and then the new key signature. By default, it will state directly the new key sign without resetting to natural accidentals.
  • Insert blank line between sections: separate parallels/sections with one blank line.
  • Each part on new page: whether to continue write new part on current Braille page or force to a new one.
  • Each score on new page: whether to continue write new score on current Braille page or force to a new one.
  • Keep parallel together: when there’s not enough space to write whole parallel/section, it’s moved to new Braille page.
  • Show line number: state print line number on the second staff line in single instrument transcription mode . Or, state on a separate Braille line in orchestra/chamber full transcription mode.
  • Show page number: choose the position to state print page number, or choose “Off” to not show it. Please note, print page number here refers to the original print score, not the Braille page number which is handled independently from header/footer window of SMB.
  • Start page numbering from: specify the number that starts to number the first page of score.
  • Break to new sections: list of checkbox options to set condition when the engine should break passage to new parallel/section.


This sub-page is divided into option groups:

Show/hide Signs

A checkbox list containing options to toggle whether to translate Braille signs for different music elements. For instance, if uncheck articulation, articulation elements like staccato, accent will be not translated into Braille.

Slur and Tie
  • State only tie for both slur and tie: when both slur and tie are presented at the same location, check this option to use only tie sign.
  • Use bracket slur: if checked, slur bracket with dots 56-12 and 45-23 is used for long passage. Otherwise, common note slur with dots 14-14 is used. However, for nested slurs, first slur passage is always forced to use bracket slur.
  • Use appoggiatura slur: if checked, it uses dots 56-14 for graced notes with slur. Otherwise, normal note slur with dot 14 is used.
  • State tied-into tie: if checked, dot pattern 46-56-14 is stated before the note with tie without starting note. If not checked, it’s ignored.
  • State l.v tie: if checked, dot pattern 56-14 is stated after the note with tie without ending note. If not checked, it treats as normal tie.
  • Restate slur/tie: this is to restate slur and tie before first note of a parallel line if that note is slur stop and/or tie stop.
  • Restate accidental of tied note: accidental of tied note is restated if it’s at the beginning of parallel.
  • Slur position in chord: some countries prefer placing slur sign right after written note of a chord to placing after the last interval sign.
  • Ignore same-note slur start and stop: if checked, slurs that start and stop at the same note will be ignored. Otherwise, it will be stated with dot sign 56-14.
Multiple Voices

Handling multiple voices on multiple staves.

  • In-accord mode: Choose “Full-measure” to use only full-measure in-accord with dot pattern 126-345. “Part-measure” uses dot patterns 5-2 for in-accord and 46-13 for measure division. It applies both full-measure and part-measure in-. “Part-measure and stem” applies all in-accord modes (stem note signs + part-measure and full-measure in-accords). The engine will base on the print notation to decide when and what mode is applicable for stem signs or part-measure in-accord.
  • Part-measure in-accord for even-beat range only: whether to use part-measure in-accord when an in-accorded part of measure is in even beat range (1, 2 or 3 beats range etc), not in odds (1.5 or 2.5 etc.). Not available for “Full-measure” in-accord mode.
  • Part-measure in-accord for whole tuplet: if checked, whole tuplet must be within the in-accorded part of measure to be applied. Otherwise, it will apply full-measure in-accord. This option is not available for “Full-measure” in-accord mode.
  • Show hand sign when changing staff: whether to show left/right hand when a voice changes from treble to bass staff or vice versa.
  • Restate accidental in other voices: add supplemental accidental with cautionary dot 5 to clarify accidental case in measure with multiple voices.
  • Combine voices into chords: when notes on voices on same staff meet certain conditions such as same length, same slur/tie status etc., they are combined to write as chords instead of applying in-accord.
  • Rearrange fingerings to correct notes: in some non-standard notations, multiple fingerings are notated on only one note but actually they are assigned for other notes from different voices at the same duration position. This option will attempt to move and reassign fingerings to correct notes.
  • Interval direction: “Default” will automatically handle direction to write chord intervals and order of voices based on treble and bass staves as well as settings for each instrument type of different transcription modes. These default settings are defined in “Instruments.xml” file. “Up” will handle all from low to high pitch. And “Down” is from high to low pitch. In addition, you can specify custom interval direction for any staves from Score info dialogue.
  • Voice order by: method to detect higher and lower pitch voices in order to write based on the previous “Interval direction” option. “Pitch detection” will check the highest or lowest pitch. While, “Voice number” will simply follow voice numbering.
Offset Handling

Calculating offset duration and applying stem sign for direction, chord symbols and figured bass. In some cases, the playing time of these elements is not at the same as the attached note. So, offset duration is specified for these elements, and Braille stem signs are presented for the equivalent duration value.

  • Depth of stem: the deeper value is checked, the more detailed is presented with stem signs.
  • State stem sign for direction: the engine always checks for offset value and move the direction to right position in Braille score. This option is just for whether to present stem sign or not.
  • State stem sign for chord symbols: the engine always checks for offset value and move the chord symbol to right position in Braille score. This option is just for whether to present stem sign or not.
  • State stem sign for figured-bass: weather to state stem sign for figured bass with special offset duration.
  • State stem sign for pedals: check to indicate stem sign for pedal with offset duration based on the depth of stem option.

A checkbox option list to choose to apply doubling for different music elements. It supports doubling for following Braille music signs: tuplet, slur and chord tie, articulations, graces and cue, noteheads, harmonics, trill, tremolos, up and down bows, strings, arpeggiates and intervals.

In the list, press Space to toggle the selection.

  • Only doubling chords with same interval pattern: if not checked, interval doubling is handled separately one by one. If checked, all chords must have same intervals. For example: 4 chords have same interval pattern of interval 3+interval6. If a chord has interval 3+interval6+interval7, that breaks the same pattern.
  • Stop doubling at the end of parallel: if checked, doubling is always stopped at the end of a parallel/section, even it’s continued on the next parallel. If not checked, it will not state the ending doubling sign, but is reset the doubling from the beginning of next parallel.
Note Grouping

There are two note grouping types (regular and irregular). Regular type is to write first group note in correct shape and the rest in 8th note shape. Irregular bases on irregular rhythm to mark with Braille music comma.

  • Method: “off” to ignore note grouping; “regular” to apply only regular method; “Irregular” to apply only music comma for irregular beamings; and “Both” to apply in combination of both regular and irregular ones.
  • Interpret missing time signature as: when a score has no time signature, this option will tell the engine to process that score as irregular, beat-type=Quarter note or beat-type=8th note.

Setting options for repetition cases.

  • Full-measure: “Off” to not apply full-measure repeat. “Single voice”, only apply for measure with one voice per staff. And “Multiple voices”, apply repetition for measure with both single and multiple voices.
  • Part-measure: set beat depth for the engine to check for repeated parts of a measure. Choose “Off” to not apply part-measure repetition.
  • Part-measure for special rhythms: check beat by beat or all possible repeated beat ranges from longest to shortest based on minimum beat depth set in part-measure repetition option.
  • Part-measure level: this option works in conjunction with the beat depth option. Level 1 will not have two adjacent part-measure repetitions with different durations. Level 2 can have two adjacent part-measure repetitions with different durations and so on.
  • Part-measure for uneven beats: if checked, it will apply partial repeats for odd beats as well, such as beat 2.5-3.5 repeats 1.5-2.5.
  • Apply in-tuplet repeat: Choose "off" to avoid applying repeat within a tuplet; choose "any matches" to indicate repeats for all possible matches; and choose "divisible matches" to specify repeats within a divisible tuplet, where the original and repeated passages are also in a divisible unit.
  • Backward-numeral repeat: if checked, count-back method is used to repeat a measure passage. This method is only applied within a parallel or section. An example of backward-numeral repeat case: bars 5-6 repeats bars 1-2. It means: at the position of bar 5, counting back 4 measures and repeating 2s.
  • Measure-number repeat: if checked, this method is used to repeat a passage of measures by numbering the repeated measure range. This method can be applied in cross parallels and sections. An example of measure-number repeat method: bars 5-6 repeat bars 1-2. So, at bar 5 location, just number the bars 1-2.
  • Repeat from other parallel/section: check this option to apply full-measure and measure-number repeat methods in cross parallels/sections. Otherwise, repeats are only applied within a parallel/section.
  • Multiple-staff repeat condition: choose whether to state repetitions when all staves have same repeated measure length and same starting point; or, just check and state within its own staff. By default, bar-over-bar format is required to have same repetition starting point and length. While, line-over-line and section-by-section are handled by within each staff. Choose “Auto” to have the engine handle automatically based on different format methods and transcription modes.
  • Min repeated measures: this edit spinbox to specify minimum number of repeated measures to be valid to state.


This setting page has options for specific instrument types.

General group:

  • Octave-shift direction handling: when print score has octave-shift direction up or down 1 or 2 octaves, there are few options to translate into Braille: 1) Just translate with its real pitch (without octave-shift indicators). 2) Mark an additional octave sign of original print score right before real pitch octave sign at the octave-shift direction change. And 3) Indicate with VA/VB or MA/MB word direction.

Harp instrument group:

  • Harp pedal diagram: choose to write Harp pedal diagram on a separate line, or in line with notes, or not showing.

Wind/brass instrument group:

  • Translate “+” text as stopped: if checked, word direction=”+” is automatically converted into stopped technique with dots 126-12 for wind and brass instrument type.

String instrument group:

  • Translate “+” text as left-hand pizzicato: if string instrument detected, word direction=”+” is automatically converted into left-hand pizzicato sign with dots 456-345.
  • Translate stopped technique as left-hand pizzicato: stopped technique is automatically converted as left-hand pizzicato.

Pluck instrument group:

  • Translate “PIMA” text as pluck technique: if pluck instrument like Guitar detected, word directions are PIMA are automatically converted into correct plucked fingers.
  • Change to correct playing octave: if checked, score is marked with correct playing pitch instead of pitch shown on original print score.

Score type:

  • Vocal style: By default, one parallel/section of a vocal score will be a note line, then a line of lyrics. There will have music and lyric indicator signs at the beginning of respective lines. “MBC” style will write lyrics first, then with a note line. There’re no lyric or music indicator signs. The lyric line is written from the leftmost cell and the notes are written from the third cell if having no measure numbering.

Text direction

This page is to manage options for different music text categories defined in wordsDictionary.xml file. And it will apply translation settings for each category. Current supported categories are tempo, dynamics, hairpins, repetition and common text.

  • Process dictionary: “Off”: translate all text in line with notes.
    “Default text”: detect and apply translation settings for each default text category.
    “Default and custom text”: the custom text option is as experimental. It will detect and apply translation settings for custom text definitions before the default text.
  • Word Dictionary: specify the path to “WordsDictionary.xml” file, in which it defines translation rules and word list for different music text categories.
  • Instrument: specify the “Instruments.xml” file, in which it defines translation rules for instrument types in different format types.
  • Convert line breaks to spaces: if checked, it will convert direction text with line-break characters into spaces. Then, this will interpret multiline text into a single-line text.

Signs/lines order

Please note, changing either signs or lines ordering in this page should cause unwanted translation result.

This page has two Signs and Lines lists.

Signs list: to adjust the position of Braille signs for associated elements of a note item. For example: by default, “articulation” sign is placed before “note type”. “note type” of C quarter note in Braille is dots 1456. From this page, you can move articulation to after the note type etc.

Lines order: some readers might prefer to sort out music lines, for instance, to have lyrics line before notes line; or chord symbols line below lyrics line etc. So, you can arrange the order of those lines here.

Please note, tempo text, harp pedal and word written below lines should be kept in its default position at order of 1, 2 and 8.

Support and Feedback

We are a small non-profit organization based in Vietnam. We mainly rely on project grants to carry out activities to support for visually impaired people. We need your help to keep the work going on to better support the visually impaired people.

Please get in touch with us for any matters with the contact info below:

Sao Mai Center for the Blind (SMCB)

Address: 52/22 Huynh Thien Loc, Hoa Thanh, Tan Phu, HCM, Vietnam.



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Updated on: February 1, 2024

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