BrailleBlaster: Free braille transcription software

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BrailleBlaster logo

Post Updated 9/26/19

APH states that BrailleBlaster version 1.1.23 "Document types that are supported by Pandoc and include LaTeX can convert that LaTeX into MathML and ASCII Math when opened in BrailleBlaster. This change affects all file types except NIMAS XML, TXT, BRL and ZIP.

Learn more about BrailleBlaster updates on the APH website.


The American Printing House for the Blind has been making educational materials more accessible for almost as long as braille has existed. And now we’re transforming access as dramatically as braille did back in the 1850s, with the introduction of BrailleBlaster™ .

This revolutionary new software tool translates text into braille more quickly, easily, and accurately. This breakthrough means that students can have braille learning materials on the first day of class along with their sighted peers, rather than waiting weeks or months for their textbooks.

Instead of a painstaking manual transcription process that can take weeks or months, BrailleBlaster efficiently converts print into braille. BrailleBlaster gives students who are blind or visually impaired the power to learn at the same pace as their sighted peers. In the past, these students were at a disadvantage because they couldn’t learn alongside their classmates until they received braille versions of their textbooks. 

What’s more, BrailleBlaster is available to download at no cost. We think that’s the right thing to do, and it reflects APH’s commitment to making sure people who are blind or visually impaired have the same educational and entertainment opportunities as anyone else. BrailleBlaster’s innovative technology puts students who are blind or visually impaired on equal footing with their sighted peers—letting them show everyone that they can achieve just as much as anyone else, if they’re given equal access to information.

BrailleBlaster can be used by braille transcribers, teachers, students, and parents—anyone who needs to produce braille material. The software provides all the tools to efficiently produce a high-quality embossed braille textbook from an original publisher file using Liblouis (, an open-source braille translator. Early testers of BrailleBlaster told us they saw a substantial increase in the number of pages a braille transcriber could produce compared to current methods.

I invite you to learn more about the technology behind BrailleBlaster and download the software at so you can experience it for yourself. When you do, I know you’ll be as excited as all of us at APH are about this new technology and the equal access it represents for millions of students.

Dr. Craig Meador, President

Below is APH's Getting Started with BrailleBlaster video.



Posted by Diane BraunerMar 31, 2020

Question: Can the BrailleBlaster take a word file and convert it into a .brf file that can be uploaded into her Braille Note?

Answer: The latest version of the BrailleBlaster can open Word files. Simply open, make any adjustments that are needed, and then save as BRF by going to File > Save as BRF. You can then open that BRF on your Braille Note.