Exploring Braille

Foundation – The Braille Cell

The basic unit of the braille code is the braille cell. A braille cell is a group of six dots. The dots are numbered and are referred to as dot 1, dot 2, dot 3, dot 4, dot 5 and dot 6. This is helpful in describing the combinations of dots that make the different braille signs.

numbered six dot braille cell

This simple six-dot arrangement is the invention of Louis Braille, who was a teenager when he completed his alphabet. The original braille alphabet consisted of various arrangements of raised dots within a six dot pattern, combined with short dashes. For ease of use he later removed the dashes.

A braille letter or character is made by raising one or more of the dots in the cell so that it can be felt by the fingers. The large dots in our braille samples represent raised dots. The small dots help to identify the position of the dots within the cell; they do not show in real braille.

The braille letter a is formed by raising dot 1.

numbered braille cell for letter a

The braille letter b is formed by raising dots 1 and 2.

numbered braille cell for letter b

The braille letter c is formed by raising dots 1 and 4.

numbered braille cell for letter c