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What's a BRF?

BRF books are electronic braille files in contracted - or Grade 2 - UEB braille format.

Almost all of our books are available as BRFs (see All Books)

You can also instantly download many of our books in BRF format!
See download instructions here.

Don't miss our Free Downloads page.

BRF: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a BRF?

BRF is an electronic braille file (in contracted, or Grade 2, braille). All our current titles, and most of our past ones, are available in BRF format, except those with tactile graphics. BRF is designed primarily to be read on a portable braille reading device, but these books can also be embossed with a braille embosser, or accessed with a computer and braille display or braille-aware notetaker.

What's on a BRF UEB/flash drive?

Every BRF book contains the following:

What hardware do I need to read a BRF?

You need one of the following:

How do I load a BRF into my hardware?

You load it the same way you would a text or Web-Braille file. Here are some possible scenarios:

Do I need any special software to read a BRF with a notetaker?

No. BRF is a plain braille format; the only symbols it contain are braille characters, carriage returns, and spaces. As long as your notetaker can handle braille files, you will be able to read BRF. If you are using a PAC Mate, open the file in the FS Editor, not Pocket Word.

Do I need any special software to read a BRF with a computer?

No. BRF is in a plain braille format; the only symbols they contain are braille characters, carriage returns, and spaces. If you're using a computer with a braille display, you can open and read BRF just fine in most word processors, including WordPad, Microsoft Word, and WordPerfect for Windows or DOS. If your braille display or screen reader normally translates text on your screen into contracted braille, just remember to turn this feature off (see the next question for more details).

Can I read BRF with a computer and speech if I don't own a braille display?

Yes. If you own version 6 or later of either Kurzweil 1000 or OpenBook 7, simply open the BRF file in either of these adaptive scanning programs.

Without such a program, BRF sounds garbled if you try to listen to them with a screen reader. They are written in contracted braille, not text, so your screen reader has no way of knowing, for example, that when it sees the letter "C" all by itself, it should read it as "can." If you're using a braille display, however, the file will appear on the display in contracted braille and you will be able to read it. Just be sure that if your display or screen reader has a feature that translates text into contracted braille, this feature is turned off when you read BRF. The file is already in contracted braille, so if your display tries to translate it into contracted braille, you will see gibberish.

What's the difference between BRF and a Web-Braille book?

There is no difference. Previously BRF contained some specialized formatting; they are now formatted exactly like Web-Braille books.

How much space will BRF take up in my notetaker's memory?

It depends on the book. A short book, like Who Moved My Cheese, is 70K (kilobytes), while our longest, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, is over a megabyte long. Except in rare instances, no BRF volume is over 125K.

Which books are available as BRFs?

All our current titles (and most of our past ones) are available, except those that include a significant number of tactile graphics.

If you have other questions that we did not answer here, please call our customer service department at 800-548-7323, or (617) 266-6160 x 520.

Downloads: Frequently Asked Questions

We at National Braille Press appeal to you not to duplicate electronic download versions of our books. It would be easy enough to do, but it would have a negative effect on our efforts to offer low-cost accessible products, like this one, in the future.

Which publications are available for download?

Any publication that NBP offers as a BRF or ASCII text file is available for download. This includes our periodicals, Syndicated Columnists Weekly and Our Special Magazine.

In what formats are downloadable publications available?

Most publications are available as embosser-ready electronic braille files with the BRF file extension. Some are also available as printer-ready ASCII text files with a TXT file extension.

How do I purchase a publication for download?

You can order a downloadable publication from the NBP website by doing the following:

  1. Go to or
  2. Log in.
  3. Select a book or magazine subscription in the usual way.
  4. In the Format combo box, choose "BRF (download)" or "ASCII Text (download)."
  5. Purchase additional items, if desired.
  6. Check out as usual. Note that if all your purchases are downloads, the page where you select shipping options is skipped.
  7. Once your credit card has been approved, you will be on a page containing a link to your My Downloads page. Follow this link to download your purchase.

How do I download a publication I have purchased?

  1. Log in if you have not already done so; you will be taken to your Account page. Note that if you are already logged into the site, you can reach the Account page from any other page on the site.
  2. Follow the My Downloads link on this page.
  3. Find the book or magazine you wish to download. Any books you have purchased are listed first, followed by periodicals.
  4. Click on the link to the publication you wish to download. Depending on your settings, either a download dialog box will open, or the file will open on screen. Download or save the file.
  5. If a book is more than one volume long, there is a separate link to each volume; be sure to download them all.

Can I download something more than once?

Yes, you can download the publications you purchase as often as you like; they remain on your My Downloads page and may be accessed at any time.

If I buy a magazine for download, how will I know when a new issue is available?

Unless you choose not to be notified, you will receive an e-mail message letting you know whenever a new issue is ready. This message is sent to the e-mail address you use to log in, so be sure it's a working address. This message includes a link to your My Downloads page, so that you can log in and download the magazine. You can also choose to have your new issue sent as an attachment to the message. You can configure your notification for each magazine separately, i.e., you could choose to have SCW sent as an attachment, but to receive only a link to OS. To choose your e-mail preferences, do the following:

  1. Go to your My Downloads page.
  2. Select the magazine whose options you want to configure. Each magazine is listed in the format, "magazine name - PBD."
  3. Press Down Arrow twice to reach a combo box.
  4. Choose the notification you want - none, link, or Attachment.
  5. Tab to the Update button.
  6. Press Enter. Your preference is saved.

Important: If you are correctly subscribed but are not receiving the emailed files or emailed notifications, please check your junk mail folder! Because these emails are generated by our database, they may be identified by some email programs as "spam" or junk. Check your junk mail folder; if you find an email from us in there, use the proper procedure for your particular email system to identify the email as "not junk mail."

What if I'm already subscribed to a magazine in braille? Can I get it as a download instead?

Yes. Just let Customer Service know, and they will change your subscription from braille to download. You can e-mail them at, or call 1-800-548-7323 or (617) 266-6160, extension 520.

If I want to download a free publication, do I have to use the shopping cart?

No. You can use the shopping cart if you like, but the Free Downloads page is still available; you can use it to download free publications as before.

If you have other questions that we did not answer here, please call our customer service department at 800-548-7323, or (617) 266-6160 x 520.

Children's Book of the Month!

Good Night Good Knight

Cover image of 'Good Night Good Knight'

Price: $5.00
Format: Print/Braille

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