Braille and Moon

What are Braille and Moon and how can they help?

Braille and Moon are writing systems formed of raised areas that are read by touch.

Braille is made up of six raised dots and is far more commonly used than Moon which is a simplified version of the alphabet.

Braille may be used as a direct representation of English characters; "Uncontracted braille", formally known as Grade 1 braille, or it may be used as a short form; "Contracted braille", formally known as Grade 2 braille.

Contracted braille is used by more experienced readers because it is quicker to read and reduces the size of braille books which are generally much larger than print books.

Moon word building kit | © RNIBThere are specialised versions of braille used for subjects such as maths or music. 

For someone unable to see text well enough to read it, braille can be used to label objects and give access to books. Objects designed especially for people who are blind and deafblind may already be labelled in braille.

For more information about braille, please visit RNIB's website.

Our Computing section has information on using braille to access computers.

What should I look for in Braille and Moon products?

Juliet ProBraille Embosser | © RNIBNot everyone reads Contracted braille and braille is far more widely used than Moon. If you are buying braille products for an unknown audience you should get uncontracted braille braille because it will be understood by more people. 

Contracted braille is normally used to shorten books and large documents so uncontracted braille should be used unless that would make the document unwieldy.

Possible stockists

Please note: The following list is not exhaustive. Sense is not responsible for the content of external sites nor do we endorse the products mentioned.

Computer room services
Force Ten
Sight and Sound


First published: Wednesday 23 May 2012
Updated: Wednesday 11 October 2017