Use the TalkBack braille keyboard

With the TalkBack braille keyboard, you can use 6 fingers on your screen to enter 6-dot braille.

TalkBack braille keyboard is available in Unified English Braille, Spanish, and Arabic.

Important: To use the TalkBack braille keyboard, turn on TalkBack and turn off magnification.

Step 1: Set up the TalkBack braille keyboard

  1. Open the TalkBack menu.
    • On devices with multi-finger gestures support: Three-finger tap. Or, in one motion, swipe down then right.
    • On devices without multi-finger support (prior to updated Android R with TalkBack 9.1): In one motion, swipe down then right.
  2. Select TalkBack Settings and then Braille keyboard and then Set up braille keyboard.
  3. In the text box, select Settings.
  4. Turn on TalkBack braille keyboard.
  5. Open an app that you can type in, like Gmail or Google Keep.
    • The braille keyboard isn't compatible with Google Docs.
  6. To get the keyboard, move focus to the text field and double-tap.
  7. Select Switch input method Input or Next language Globe.
    • If you don’t use Gboard, your options might be different. This option is usually at the bottom right.
  8. Select TalkBack braille keyboard.

Tip: When you open the braille keyboard for the first time, you can watch a tutorial for more information.

Step 2: Choose a keyboard mode

Important: By default, TalkBack braille keyboard switches between the modes based on the orientation of your device.

To turn off the default setting:

  1. On your device, go to Accessibility.
  2. Select TalkBack and then Settings.
  3. Select Braille keyboard and then Layout.
Screen-away mode

Screen-away mode lets you type with your device screen faced away from you.

To open the screen-away tutorial:

  1. Hold your phone so the screen faces away from you.
  2. Three-finger swipe up on your screen.
  3. In the list of braille keyboard options, select Open tutorial.

To use screen-away mode:

  1. Turn your phone so the screen faces away from you.
  2. Rotate the phone horizontally to landscape position.
    • Your left hand holds the top of the phone. Your right hand holds the bottom of the phone, where the USB port is.
  3. Use your pinky and thumb to support the phone. On the screen, hover your 3 middle fingers.
  4. Hover your left index finger in the position of dot 1.
  5. Try these letters:
    • A: With your left index finger, tap dot 1.
    • B: With your left index and middle finger, tap dots 1 and 2.
    • C: With your left index and right index finger, tap dots 1 and 4.
    • D: With your left index, right index and right middle finger, tap dots 1, 4, and 5.

Tip: If the dot positions are off, you can adjust them. Hold 6 fingers on the screen for 3 seconds until you hear “Dot position updated.” Braille keyboard remembers the positions for screen-away mode and tabletop mode separately.

Tabletop mode

In tabletop mode, you can type on flat surfaces. When your device detects a flat surface, it transitions out of screen-away mode and into tabletop mode. This mode might be useful if you’re familiar with or prefer to type with a Perkins Braillewriter.

  1. Put your device on a flat surface until it says, “Tabletop mode.”
    • Place your device so the charging port is on the left.
  2. From left to right, dots are placed as 3, 2, 1, 4, 5, 6. Put your hands near the device so your 3 middle fingers hover on the screen.
  3. Hover your left index finger over dot 1.
  4. Try these letters:
    • A: With your left index finger, tap dot 1.
    • B: With your left index and middle finger, tap dots 1 and 2.
    • C: With your left index and right index finger, tap dots 1 and 4.
    • D: With your left index, right index and right middle finger, tap dots 1, 4, and 5.

Tip: If the dot positions are off, you can adjust them. Hold 6 fingers on the screen for 3 seconds until you hear “Dot position updated.” Braille keyboard remembers the positions for screen-away mode and tabletop mode separately.

Use gestures with the TalkBack braille keyboard

Important: When you use the braille keyboard, other TalkBack gestures aren't available. To close the braille keyboard and use other TalkBack gestures, two-finger swipe down.

Try these gestures

  • Delete a letter: Swipe left
  • Delete a word: Two-finger swipe left
  • Add a space: Swipe right
  • Start a new line: Two-finger swipe right
  • Submit text: Two-finger swipe up

To get a list of available gestures:

  1. On your screen, three-finger swipe up.
  2. Open the list of braille keyboard options.
  3. Select See all gestures.

Tip: On some devices, if you're on the Messages app and you close the TalkBack braille keyboard, the Back button won’t work. To continue, go back to the Home screen.

Manage your TalkBack braille keyboard

Hide the keyboard

  • To hide the TalkBack braille keyboard: Two-finger swipe down.
  • To switch to your original keyboard: Three-finger swipe down.

Add or remove languages

You can choose languages to use with the braille keyboard.

  1. Open the TalkBack menu.
    • On devices with multi-finger gestures support: Three-finger tap. Or, in one motion, swipe down then right.
    • On devices without multi-finger support (prior to updated Android R with TalkBack 9.1): In one motion, swipe down then right.
  2. Select TalkBack settings and then Braille keyboard and then Typing languages.
  3. Check the languages that you want.

Switch languages

If you choose more than one language, you can switch back and forth in the braille keyboard menu.

  1. While the TalkBack braille keyboard is on, three-finger swipe up.
  2. Select Change typing language.
    • You only get this option if you check multiple languages.
  3. Choose a language.

Switch between grade 1 & grade 2 braille

Grade 1 braille can be useful if you're new to braille. Grade 2 can be useful for more advanced typing of contracted Braille.

  1. While the TalkBack braille keyboard is on, three-finger swipe up.
  2. Choose a grade:
    • For grade 1: Select Switch to uncontracted braille.
    • For grade 2: Select Switch to contracted braille.

For more help with Talkback, contact the Google Disability Support team.