“There is no substitute for the ability to read.
For blind people, braille is an essential tool in the process of becoming literate.”

Unified English Braille (UEB)

Unified English Braille (UEB) is an update to the braille code designed for use in nearly all types of material (such as novels, poetry, recipe books, magazines, financial statements, computer manuals, mathematics and scientific textbooks). The representation of braille music is the one exception, as there is already a well-accepted international code that has been widely adopted.

A Brief History of UEB

In 1992, the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) began a project with the aim of modifying the braille code so that it could be applied across all subject areas. In 1993, other English-speaking countries became interested in the UEB project and it was internationalised under the auspices of the International Council on English Braille (ICEB). The goals of the project changed from developing a code for North America to developing a code for the entire English-speaking world, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa, UK and the US.

In early 2004 ICEB met and agreed that UEB was sufficiently complete for recognition as an international standard, which member countries could choose to adopt as their national braille code if they wished. ICEB recommended that UEB should be referred to the national braille authorities of member countries for consideration and possible adoption, after consultation with their braille users and other stakeholders.

Benefits of UEB

The following list has been drawn from the experiences of other countries who have implemented UEB or who are in the process of doing so:

  • UEB has been well-researched and developed by braille experts over many years.
  • Unification of literary and technical codes means there is no need to learn additional codes for technical materials.
  • Ambiguity of braille signs is eliminated, meaning that braille characters no longer have different meanings in different contexts.
  • Harmonisation of numerous braille codes across English-speaking countries would allow for the sharing of resources, saving both money and production time.
  • Braille teaching resources can be shared among English-speaking countries using the same code.
  • More accurate translation from print-to-braille and braille-to-print, making it easier for sighted teachers to access the work of their Braille-using students.



In association with UKAAF, a list has been formed to discuss issues surrounding Unified English Braille (UEB).

There are currently many questions being asked, some of a quite technical nature, and it is hoped that it will be possible to gather these together in the form of an FAQ or knowledge base.

Since UEB has been adopted almost world-wide, we hope that the experience already gained by those who have been using UEB for some time, will be passed on to newer adopters.

To subscribe, send a blank message to ueb-ed-request@freelists.org with the word subscribe in the Subject. (If your e-mail software supports it, you may be able to simply click on the link to create a message and send)