19 June 2023

What is UEB Braille, and what is Grade 1 and Grade 2 Braille?

By Talia Morse

Have you ever wondered what the term ‘UEB’ means, or what the different grades used to describe Braille mean? Here’s a quick rundown on what we mean when we use those phrases.


UEB Braille

Most of the Braille documents A2i produce are in UEB Grade 2 Braille, which is the most up to date Braille format, used by the majority of English-language Braille readers.

UEB stands for Unified English Braille, and was created to bring together several other English Braille codes. For example, English Braille, American Braille and Australian Braille all used to be slightly different before UEB was brought in.

Since 2011 it has been UKAAF’s (UK Association for Accessible Formats) best practice to use UEB for Braille documents. UKAAF is the industry association that sets standards for accessible documents in the UK.


Grade 1 and Grade 2 Braille

Grade 2 Braille uses contractions. This means there is one Braille character to represent certain common words or common groupings of letters, rather than having individual Braille characters for each letter. For instance,

  • there are contractions for common strings of letters such as “er”, “st”, and “ing”,
  • some whole words are represented with just one unique character, such as “and”, and
  • other words are represented using only a single letter, for example, “that” is represented simply by the letter “t”


While UEB Grade 2 is the most common format for Braille, A2i can also produce UEB Grade 1 Braille. UEB Grade 1 does not contain any contractions, and each letter in a word is represented by the corresponding Braille character. As a result, documents in Grade 1 Braille tend to be much longer.

You can see the difference in the number of characters used in the following example.

We’ve translated the sentence “People like knowledge but don’t like reading”.


The sentence “People like knowledge but don’t like reading” in Grade 2 Braille at the top and in Grade 1 Braille underneath. The Grade 2 example is less than a line long. The Grade 2 example is almost 2 lines long.


In Grade 2 Braille, in the above sentence, almost all of the words are represented by a single character, whereas in Grade 1 Braille each word is spelled out with the same number of letters as in the standard English text. In a document that may number hundreds of pages in the standard print version, using Grade 2 Braille is a lot quicker to read, and can save a lot of paper too.


If you’d like a quote for Braille documents, in either Grade 1 or Grade 2, or even in another language, contact A2i for a quotation.

Email: info@a2i.co.uk

Web: www.a2i.co.uk

Telephone: 01179 440044

Or use the quick quote form on our website: Quote request

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