What's new in SMB's older releases


Date: June 2nd, 2022

For more details of new features, improvements and fixes, please read What’s new in 22.6 release.

Below are only highlights of this release:


  • Keep same cursor position when translating from print to Braille, and from rich-text to plain Braille view modes.
  • Detected BRF, BRL and PEF Braille page settings when opening and automatically applied that settings for the document instead of using global settings.
  • Supported to save Braille into .bra Spanish Braille format.
  • PEF file is automatically saved in Unicode.
  • Added new tables for internal conversion of between ascii and Unicode Braille (ascii-us-patterns’.cti, ascii-to-Unicode.dis, Unicode-to-ascii.dis). In addition, new ascii Braille display code tables for British, Euro, French and Spanish are added.
  • Supported BRF and BRL view modes from SMB Braille rich-text document window. And supported to save in Spanish Braille .bra filetype.
  • Improvements and fixes: Braille translation and display table names are now localizable; removed “Braille #” before filename of Braille translation file; document title has word “print” or “Braille” to indicate document content; fixed focus loss when open and save music profile; fixed issue of conflict between old SMB.ini config file when updating to new release; fixed wrong number of row and column values when saving into PEF format; and removed unnecessary blank page when meeting page-break character.

New music Braille features and improvements

New music Braille options are added to Format and Transcription pages in Options dialogue include: new measure numbering methods; restate key signature at beginning of each parallel line; condition to break to new parallel when meeting time and key signature; new show/hide checkboxes for harmonics, thumb position, figured bass and music parenthesis; state tied-into and l.v ties; restate slur and tie before first note at the beginning of parallel line; slur position in chord; add supplement accidental in other voices; combine multiple voices into chords; and new doubling options for harmonics/open-string.

  • Supported to process hidden notes: appeared in chord and in different voice as hidden playing notes.
  • Supported partial and full measure repetition for fingering and accidental cases.
  • Supported to combine multiple voices as chords whenever they have same length, same slur status and same articulations. Option is also added to turn it on or off.
  • Partial and full measure repeats with dynamics is applied correctly.
  • Repetition text is now placed at the same position on multiple staves.
  • Now phrases at beginning of a voice, or between notes in a voice or at the end are correctly applied with dot 5 and space for specific situations.
  • Placed text direction in correct voice based on MusicXML voice tag or its location.
  • Rewrote algorithm to handle partial in-accord for a measure with multiple hidden rests in different passages.
  • Improved algorithm to handle more cases of tie, including: ties without start or stop, chord and single-note ties crossing voice or staves, ties for arpeggio, and added two user options to toggle applying L.V. ties.
  • Supported slur cases for chord, using same rules of single-note slur cases.
  • Fully supported for both chord interval and voice direction based on different settings, which are included:
    • Custom for specific score: transcribers can specify exactly staves to be treated the direction as going up or down.
    • Instrument settings: transcribers can easily config global settings for different instrument types right in the Instruments.xml setting file. By default: single-part and chamber transcription modes are treated similarly for the interval and voice direction such as: keyboard has right hand down and left hand up. String type is based on its clefs (treble assigned to down and bass assigned to up direction) etc. While, orchestra mode will be all in up direction by default.
    • Third-level interval and voice direction option: is mainly used for future applying to selected range of measures.
  • Supported to handle voice numbering in two methods, 1) Re-number all voice in unified order, and 2) Keep using MusicXML voice generated numbers for checking cross translation rules such as cross voice/staff slur and tie.
  • Supported voice and staff changing and hand division: at the beginning of score, the staff and hand division will be detected and assigned based on its starting staff. Then, it will be reassigned to other hand if meeting a whole measure changed to other staff.
  • Supported to apply more than one partial in-accords in a measure and not to apply note grouping if the group is separated.
  • Automatically assigned voice number for un-numbered note element. Treated all notes of a chord same as voice number.
  • Rewrote to improve shown and hidden staff management. Now, shown and hidden staves are handled based on different transcription modes (single-part or full score) and the instrument types.
  • Supported to apply stem note sign for tuplets. And added more valid conditions to apply stem note sign.
  • Supported to combine hidden voice with only directions with other voice on same staff. And applied offset duration by stem signs for these directions if needed.
  • Supported moving pedal signs from different voices to one voice and applying stem signs. The engine will move pedal start and stop signs to one same voice if fixed in note duration. Otherwise, it will keep on same voice of pedal start sign and apply stem sign.
  • Treated all cross voice ties as normal ties if the start and stop notes have different number of voices on the same staff.
  • Offset duration is calculated when moving directions to one same voice (previously just calculated offset duration of the destination voice). Directions stand alone on its own voice number is moved to the voice with notes on same staff. In addition, direction at same duration value with note, it is placed before the note but is placed after the note if direction has attribute type=”stop”.
  • If a note has slur stop and start at the same time, it’s not treated as nested slur anymore. And nested ties are also ignored to be forced the usage of long slur dots 46-46. Previously, all these cases were forced to use long slur brackets, dots 56-12 and 45-23.
  • Long slur with doubling dots 46 now has been improved and worked well when turning off the Use long slur bracket option.
  • And many more other improvements and fixes.



Date: Mar 3rd, 2022

Highlights in this release are:

  • Use LibLouis 3.20. List Braille display tables to choose for ascii or Unicode Braille output.
  • Styles: supported new Braille table style; added new list indent and right indent translation rules.
  • New volume/document splitter tool.
  • Supported to create table of content.
  • Saved Braille file into .smb (Braille rich-text), .brf (formatted), .brl (unformatted), and .pef (portable embosser format). Supported to add meta data for SMD (print document), SMB and PEF filetypes.
  • New music Braille translation features:
    • Repetition improvements:
      • Supported partial repetition for all popular types of beat-dividable and undividable time signatures. The engine will base on the time signature to correctly divide beat groups to check for repetitions.
      • Supported partial repetition for irregular beamed groups, including repetitions inside a group and adjacent irregular groups in a measure.
      • Supported feature to repeat up to 4 levels of continuous passages with different durations. This works in conjunction with partial repetition option as whole, ½ or ¼ beat depth.
      • Supported regular note grouping simultaneously with irregular grouping.
      • Supported tuplet cases: in-tuplet repetition; detecting tuplets without numbering in print; correct tuplet doubling as combining with both in-tuplet and tuplet repetitions; and adding in-tuplet repetition option.
      • Supported all repetition cases for pedal covered in MBC document.
      • Supported repetition for partially tie cases.
      • Supported repetition for multiple voices.
      • Supported combined translation options between in-accord and repetition modes, including full/partial/stem in-accords with partial/full measure repetition modes for both single and multiple voices.
    • Music words dictionary: created XML-based music words dictionary in which, users can flexibly add terms for different text categories and define translation rules. Main features include:
      • Supported text categories with default and custom definitions: common, tempo, repetition, dynamics and hairpins.
      • Supported Braille translation rules for music text: writing inline, on separate line  and signature line for four different text appearance locations (beginning at first measure, beginning at first measure in score, in-measure and at the end of measure). In addition, text with separate line option will have optional feature to apply left indentation, open and close indicators.
      • Supported one direction with multiple words, multiple directions shown at the same place and text directions are re-ordered based on its category as: common + dynamics + hairpin.
      • Supported options for parallel/section breaking based on segno, coda, repetition text; and music words dictionary processing (off, default and custom).
    • Supported doublings for following music elements and toggling option for each: tuplet, slur, tie, articulation, grace/cue, noteheads, trill-mark, tremolos, bows, string, open-string/natural harmonic, arpeggiate and intervals.
    • Supported to translate music dash and bracket when they are attached to string element, and correctly placed dash and bracket Braille signs after music text.
    • Supported advanced slurs and ties: cross staff/cross voice slurs and ties, convergent slurs, grace note slur, L.V. slur/tie, enharmonic tie, nested cross staff/voice slurs and ties, and improvements for chord slurs and ties.
    • Supported new slur/tie related options: use tie sign for both slur and tie case, use grace slur with dots 56-14, show hand sign when changing to new staff, use long slur bracket or dots 14-14.
    • Detected and applied translation settings for different instrument types, included: keyboard, organ, accordion, string, pluck, wind, brass, percussion and vocal.
    • Supported to translate part with multiple staves, not limited to 3 staves per part anymore.
    • Supported three translate modes: single part (part by part), orchestra and chamber (full score). Both single-part and full score modes are supported in bar-over-bar, line-over-line and section-by-section formats.
    • Supported to provide and translate custom Braille tags for part name, abbreviation, instrument change, staff name, instrument type and interval direction. If custom Braille tags are not provided, SMB will automatically apply settings saved in Instruments.xml file.
  • And many more improvements and bug fixes.


21.6 Beta

Date: Nov 4th, 2021

Highlights in this release are:

  • Used Liblouis 3.19.
  • Braille encodings: Unicode, Ascii and same as defined in LibLouis table. Find it on Translation table page in Options dialogue.
  • All dialogue controls and editor window are now accessible with NVDA and Jaws (version 2021 and later). It requires to install Jaws script or NVDA add-on to enhance the accessibility. Find it in Tools menu -> Install add-on.
  • Braille rich-text window is fully redesigned and can be saved as .brf file or embossed directly from this window. Or, can press ctrl+m to view the BRF formatted Braille.
  • All Braille indicator symbols in Translation table and Styles pages are now defined by dot patterns as LibLouis format. For instance: to define Braille indicator for bold letter should be 45-23.
  • SM Music Braille translation (check Music Braille page in Options dialogue for more details), supported new main formats and rules as followed:
    • Format page: lyrics and chord symbols placement; starting a part/score in new Braille page; and cases to automatically break passage to new parallels/sections.
    • Transcription options: advanced slur and tie cross voice/staff; in-accord methods (full, partial and stem); handling offset and applying stem for direction text and chord symbols; doublings; note grouping for regular, irregular or both rhythms; interval directions; and repetition options for full measure with single/multiple voices, partial measure based on beat depth and level, in-tuplet and unmeasured passage.
  • Added Burmese UI language.
  • And many other fixes and improvements. Alpha

Date: Jul 3rd, 2021

New features

  • Used LibLouis library 3.18.
  • Native *.docx Word file editing. No longer using Office Converter third-party dependency.
  • New SM LibMusicBraille library for Braille music translation with main features:
    • Supported bar-over-bar and line-over-line formats. Braille music output is currently supported in Unicode only.
    • Translated score with lyrics and chords. Lyrics can be selected to translate with LibLouis Braille translation tables.
    • Supported plucked instruments with alignment and inline formatting methods.
    • Note grouping.
    • Doubling for articulations, noteheads, tremolos, tuplets, grace/cue notes etc.
    • Translated most notations from chapter 1-23 of the MBC document.
    • Options to toggle translation for different musical elements.
    • Supported to arrange Braille sign order.
    • Used music profiles to manage custom translation options.
    • And many other fixes and improvements.



  • New options dialogue design.
  • Improved score info dialogue.


Known issues

  • Page breaks as converting document with music score to BRF is not correct.



New Features

  • Added Jaws and NVDA speech engine options to have SMB read document. Please note, for user interface voice, it still uses SAPI-5.
  • Supported 32 new user interface languages. Not all strings are translated and we need help from users to localize untranslated ones. Go to Tools -> Options and General page for more information.
  • Supported for LibLouis default Braille output (mostly in Braille ascii) and in Braille Unicode. Go to Tools -> Options, ctrl+tab to Languages page for more information.
  • By default, only English and Vietnamese are added in the Translation tables menu item under Tools. To add other Braille tables, go to Tools -> Options -> Languages page, move to languages list, use arrow keys and press Space to check language Braille tables you want to add to the Translation tables menu. Then, choose Ok. Please note, existing checkboxed list of SMB is not fully accessible with screen readers, so you can turn the self-voice feature for UI voice to have it read list item state.
  • For Braille music translation: can select inserted scores, part(s) and change score info (title, composer, copyright info etc.) before translating into Braille. Go to Tools -> Score Info for more information.
  • Used LibLouis library 3.14.
  • SMB will check and notify if there’s new update version available for download.
  • We created a simple addon for NVDA to initially define rich-text classes for SMB. This addon will make SMB rich-text editing window accessible with NVDA. So, users don’t need to enable document voice as working with edit window. Download and install SMB NVDA addon



New Features.

·         SAPI-5 TTS compliant speech output: to read document and user interface. Go to Tools -> Options and find Voices tab.

·         Translating inserted MusicXML sheet into Braille music. Going to Insert menu, choose Music XML. See more other settings on the Music XML tab in Options dialogue.

·         Supporting Braille rich-text editing.



·         Using new rich-text component for the editor to be much more similar to Microsoft Word.

·         Rearranging the Options dialogue in Tools menu into multiple pages with additional tabs for speech and Braille music translation settings. Find under Tools menu and choose Options.

·         Adding score info dialogue to customize basic information of music sheets. Before translating to Braille with Ctrl+T, go to Tools and choose Score info to customize sheets available in the document.

·         Completely free for all, no need to register the license key after 30 days.


Known Issues

·         Text edit window is not accessible with screen readers due to the implementation of new rich-text control. So, for now, blind users are advised to turn on speech output for document on the Voices tab under Options dialogue.

·         Braille translation features for Math equations and music sheets are still supported with basic rules. We need more support, inputs and feedbacks from users, experts and organization-based collaboration.

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