Use the TalkBack braille keyboard

Important: BrailleBack is no longer required to connect to a braille display.

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

TalkBack braille keyboard is available in Ancient Greek, Arabic, Bulgarian 8-dot computer braille, Cantonese, Catalan, Central Kurdish, Chinese (Taiwan), Chinese common (China), Chinese current with tones (China), Chinese current without tones (China), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Kannada, Khmer, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Northern Sami, Norwegian 8-dot computer braille, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian 8-dot computer braille, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Turkish 8-dot computer braille, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Welsh.

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

Contents

Step 1: Set up the TalkBack braille keyboard

Step 2: Choose a keyboard mode

Use gestures with the TalkBack braille keyboard

Manage your TalkBack braille keyboard

Step 1: Set up the TalkBack braille keyboard

  1. Open the TalkBack menu.
    • On devices with multi-finger gestures support (Android 10 & up): Three-finger tap. Or, in one motion, swipe down then right.
    • On devices without multi-finger support: In one motion, swipe down then right.
  2. To enable the braille keyboard:
    1. Select TalkBack Settings and then Braille keyboard and then Set up braille keyboard.
    2. Follow the instructions there.
  3. Open an app that you can type in, like Gmail or Google Keep.
  4. To find the keyboard, move focus to the text field and double-tap.
  5. 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.
  6. Select TalkBack braille keyboard.

Tip: When you open the braille keyboard for the first time, you can complete 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.

Update dot positions

If your dot positions aren't where you want them, you can update them in 2 ways:

Update one hand position at a time:

  1. While the TalkBack braille keyboard is on, 3-finger swipe up.
  2. Choose Update dot positions.
  3. Follow the instructions to update the positions for the left hand, followed by the right hand.

Update both hand dot positions:

  1. While the TalkBack Braille keyboard is on, hold dots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 for about 3 seconds.
  2. Your phone will play a sound as the dots are updated.
  3. Continue to hold all 6 dots until you receive confirmation that the dot positions have been updated.

List of Braille keyboard gestures

Basic controls

Action Gesture
Add space Swipe right with one finger
Backspace Swipe left with one finger
Delete word Swipe left with two fingers
New line Swipe right with two fingers
Move backward by selected granularity Swipe up with one finger
Move forward by selected granularity Swipe down with one finger
Hide keyboard Swipe down with two fingers
Switch to next keyboard Swipe down with three fingers
Submit text Swipe up with two fingers
Help and other options Swipe up with three fingers

Cursor movement

Action First gesture Second gesture
Previous character Hold dot 3, then swipe up with another finger Hold dot 6, then swipe up with another finger
Next character Hold dot 3, then swipe down with another finger Hold dot 6, then swipe down with another finger
Previous word Hold dot 2, then swipe up with another finger Hold dot 5, then swipe up with another finger
Next word Hold dot 2, then swipe down with another finger Hold dot 5, then swipe down with another finger
Previous line Hold dot 1, then swipe up with another finger Hold dot 4, then swipe up with another finger
Next line Hold dot 1, then swipe down with another finger Hold dot 4, then swipe down with another finger
Move to beginning of text Hold dots 1 and 2, then swipe up with another finger Hold dots 4 and 5, then swipe up with another finger
Move to end of text Hold dots 1 and 2, then swipe down with another finger Hold dots 4 and 5, then swipe down with another finger
Previous granularity Swipe left with three fingers  
Next granularity Swipe right with three fingers  

Text selection

Action First gesture Second gesture
Select previous character Hold dot 3, then swipe up with two fingers Hold dot 6, then swipe up with two fingers
Select next character Hold dot 3, then swipe down with two fingers Hold dot 6, then swipe down with two fingers
Select previous word Hold dot 2, then swipe up with two fingers Hold dot 5, then swipe up with two fingers
Select next word Hold dot 2, then swipe down with two fingers Hold dot 5, then swipe down with two fingers
Select all Hold dot 1, then swipe left with three fingers Hold dot 4, then swipe left with three fingers
Copy Hold dot 1, then swipe down with three fingers Hold dot 4, then swipe down with three fingers
Cut Hold dot 1, then swipe up with three fingers Hold dot 4, then swipe up with three fingers
Paste Hold dot 1, then swipe right with three fingers Hold dot 4, then swipe right with three fingers

Proofread text

Action Gesture
Move to the next proofreading suggestion Swipe down with one finger
Move to the previous proofreading suggestion Swipe up with one finger
Move to the next suggested correction Swipe right with one finger
Move to the previous suggested correction Swipe left with one finger
Insert suggestion Swipe right with two fingers
Undo suggestion Swipe left with two fingers

Tip: To enter or exit proofread mode, use three-finger swipe left or right to switch to the proofread option.

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

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