Tech Tips

Welcome to our Technology Tips section! The NFB Jernigan Institute Access Technology team is always on the lookout for new and better ways to give blind people access to technology, as the ever-growing International Braille and Technology Center attests. In these tips we want to share some of the pointers manufacturers and developers share with us to help you learn about new applications and new programs, and to help you find new functionality in familiar products. The Access Technology team works with the relevant manufacturers and developers to obtain the tips listed here, to make sure that you get the best and latest about anything new in the world of non-visual access technology.


If you have any feedback on the tips, please contact Clara Van Gerven at [email protected].

Tips on how to use ACE Plus

ACE Plus is the latest personal multifunctional assistant from ABISEE.  It scans and reads printed materials out loud, and it saves OCR-converted text on its internal hard drive or on a USB flash drive.  It does this quickly and accurately. It also alerts you when a scheduled activity is due, enables you to send and receive emails, downloads ebooks, stores your photo album to share with friends and family and wakes you up when your alarm clock is set. Here are some tips on how to get the maximum from the device.

Tip 1. Short cut to Scanning and Reading

Place a printed page alongside the base of the device, so that ACE Plus captures the entire 8.5 by 11 inch space. No matter where you were in the Main menu previously, just press the Scan button and enjoy listening to the content of the page.

Pi Day Tech Tips: Tip 1

Math in Desire2Learn

Having math in an accessible format can be tricky, making it hard to interpret the math when students can’t even be sure that they’re getting the right message. The old way of dealing with mathematical equations was to create an image of the equation. Of course, this meant it was up to the instructor to create meaningful, unambiguous alt text for each equation. I think we all know that everybody’s idea of good alt text varies wildly, and we definitely all know how unforgiving math is about interpretations of equations. There is only one right answer.

Pi Day Tech Tips: Tip 2

Nemeth Code on the Braille Sense!

As of version 8.1 of the BrailleSense firmware, full Nemeth Support is available on the Braille Sense Plus, OnHand, and U2 series.

On Braille keyboard models, press BACKSPACE+N to enter and exit Nemeth Mode.
On QWERTY models, press ALT+N to enter Nemeth Mode. When in Nemeth Mode on QWERTY units, use Home row keys to write in Nemeth so that FDS are dots 123, and JKL are dots 456.

If you save your file as a DOC file and, unlike other products, it can print with standard mathematical symbols from a computer.

Pi Day Tech Tips: Tip 3

Using the BrailleNote Apex to create Nemeth code

1.    Use Keyview or a VGA monitor to display your work.  Keyview is recommended because sim Braille can be seen on the screen.  To download Keyview, visit  Navigate to the BrailleNote link, and press Enter.  Navigate tothe  software and press enter.  Navigate to the Keyview link, and press Enter.  Download and install the program.
2.    To use Keyview, press Space-o (spaces dots 1-3-5) v (dots 1-2-3-6) u (dots 1-3-6) Enter.  Start Keyview on your pc.  To use a VGA connection press Space-o (Space dots 1-3-5) v (dots 1-2-3-6) v (dots 1-2-3-6) Enter.  The document will be shown on a monitor as you type, but no Braille dots will be shown.

Pi Day Tech Tips: Tip 4

Acid-Base Titration

adapted from Experiment 24,"Acid Base Titration" from the Chemistry with Vernier lab manual


In this experiment you will:

Pi Day Tech Tips: Tip 5

DropBox on the Braille Sense

The Braille Sense is the only notetaker that offers access to the Cloud. The BrailleSense Plus, OnHand, U2, and U2 Mini all provide easy access to the Cloud through our easy DropBox app.

To get a DropBox account, you can go to

Navigating Desire2Learn

At Desire2Learn, we really want to make it so that your focus is on taking your classes and learning the material you're in school for, not having to figure out how in the heck you're supposed to use the thing that's standing between you and those materials. So, we've tried to make navigating our stuff as consistent as we can. Here are some tips that should apply across the board to help make getting around our system a breeze.

A Desire2Tame The Desire2Learn WYSIWYG Editor

At Desire2Learn, we care about the user experience of all users, no matter how they are accessing our system. But we know that even when we try to make things as intuitive as we possibly can, there are going to be places along the way that make people raise their eyebrows in confusion. One of them is the WYSIWYG editor.

You should expect accessible PDF documents

NFB members frequently encounter PDF files that are not accessible. Much as with HTML-based web pages a few years back it can sometimes help to be able to provide pointers to the producer of the PDF document to help them understand how to properly create PDF documents that will offer an accessible and usable experience for all users.

Adobe provides a variety of documents that you can point people to (or use yourself when producing PDF files). These documents provide helpful guidance that help authors understand what steps are needed to make PDF files accessible, whether the documents are scanned images of paper documents, interactive forms, or are exported from popular desktop publishing applications.

The following documents are available:

Window-Eyes 6.1 and Windows Vista, Part II

In the previous NFB Tech Tip we discussed the Windows Vista Start Menu and some of the new features that offers.  In this article we are going to continue with some other, new Windows Vista features and describe how Window-Eyes provides the screen access you need.