Handy hints for making electronic files Braille ready
The more accessible you make a document the easier it will be converted into Braille. The RNIB have produced a useful website on writing accessible documents as part of their See it Right campaign and for your information to be truly accessible you should aim to follow their guidelines for printed documents.
For material that you think you may need Brailled (it is good practice to offer this as an option), ARACU has come up with some handy hints when writing documents, such as leaflets and lecture handouts.
Try to remember that the visual impact is not as important for a blind/partially sighted person so plain text with the information you need is best!
For Word documents
- Use a sans serif font (Arial is preferred) in 14 point
- Left align rather than right or justify
- Use headings. A contents list can also be created in Braille if you do
- Remove page breaks. If changing between chapters use section breaks
- Check line and paragraph breaks using the 'show/hide paragraph marks' function in Word. Leave them if they are required, but remove if they are not
- For lists use bullet points or numbered lists
- Don't use tab to create spaces, either use columns or tables. You can easily make the table lines invisible if you need to.
- Change all background colour to 'none' or 'fill'
- Don't use borders or shading
- To emphasise something, don't use LOTS OF CAPITALS, use bold or italics
- Check that web and email addresses are not divided between lines
- Try to divide big files into smaller ones as this will make them easier to manage
- Put the page numbers at the tops of pages in square brackets. This will distinguish them from the Braille page numbers.
- Remove graphics and replace with a text description
- Use endnotes rather than footnotes
For Powerpoint presentations
- Remove all images, diagrams and illustrations. If these are very important, replace with a text description or in the case of charts and graphs, ask for a tactile diagram.
- Select the text from the slide, copy and paste it into a Word document
- Name each slide, e.g. before the title type 'Slide 1, 2, 3 etc.'
- Apply Word styles and headings to the document - make each slide title a heading
- Do not leave blank lines between each part of the text
These are things that we come across regularly in material we are asked to Braille and it will reduce time and also costs if you take them into account before sending the electronic files. There is further information available on creating Braille friendly documents from Techno-vision.