Welcom to BrailleKeyboard!
This app allows you to use your Windows keyboard to enter text, numbers, punctuation marks, and other symbols using braille keystrokes; the F, D and S keys represent dots 1, 2 and 3, respectively, and J, K and L represent dots 4, 5 and 6; the A key serves as a modifier for entering numbers, so that if pressed at the same time as you form one of the letters from A to J, the corresponding number from 1 to 0 is produced; pressing the A key alone acts as a toggle to allow for easy numerical entry; similarly, the semicolon key, located right of the L key, serves as a modifier for the entry of upper-case letters, and it can be toggled on as well. Note that the numerical entry mode and upper-case letter mode cannot be engaged at the same time.
The braille keyboard mode can be turned on and off in one of three ways:
- on the Window-Eyes app menu, open the Braille Keyboard pull-down, and choose Toggle braille keyboard
- press the Toggle braille keyboard hotkey (Control-Windows-period, by default)
- if braille keyboard mode is active, press dots 1,5 and spacebar simultaneously; the lower-case E stands for Exit braille keyboard mode; note that in order for this method to work, both the numerical and upper-case modes described above must be toggled off.
Please note that to avoid confusion, braille keyboard mode is turned off when the BrailleKeyboard app loads.
While in braille keyboard mode, audible beeps assist you to determine whether or not a key combination is valid, and to mark the activation and exiting of the braille keyboard mode; if you prefer silent keyboard entry, press dots 1,2 and spacebar to toggle beeps off.
Braille keyboard mode should work effectively throughout the Windows operating system; however, it should be noted that it does not work in any Window-Eyes dialog; this behaviour of disabling hot keys seems to be a safety feature of the screen reader.
This app is powered by an executable named braillekeyboard_ahk.exe, compiled from an AutoHotkey script freely shared on the author’s web site. The author’s original archive, which I renamed braille_keyboard_braillekbd.zip, can be found in the Window-Eyes profile folder. The author mentions that the AutoHotkey script does not work reliably on some laptop keyboards due to electronic design; however, he notes that this can be remedied by using an external USB keyboard.
In the Window-Eyes profile folder, you will also find my modified version of the AutoHotkey script, along with the settings file, named braille_keyboard_ahk.ini, which the AutoHotkey script requires. In the author’s archive, which I have included, the original versions of these two files were in ANSI format; my versions are in Unicode. Should you decide to modify the AutoHotkey script or its settings file, which are both text files, it is important to ensure that you continue to save them in Unicode format to offer the most flexibility for all users.
Compiled AutoHotkey script now works on 32 and 64 bit systems.