Category : Science and Education
Archive   : TBRL253.ZIP
Filename : DOTCOM.TXT

Output of file : DOTCOM.TXT contained in archive : TBRL253.ZIP


March 4, 1990

1016 Ohio St.
Lawrence, KS 66044

Telephone: 913-843-0351

Copyright (c) 1989-1990
All rights reserved


Turbo Braille can sometimes be used without knowing the
information contained in this manual. It often correctly converts
source documents directly from WordPerfect, WordStar, or ASCII
text files, into standard Grade II English braille. If the
braille translation is not entirely correct, or if it is not
correctly formatted, the user can create a "BIF file" and
incorporate special formatting commands to achieve the desired
result. This manual describes the Turbo Braille "dot commands"
and "imbedded commands" that may be used for the purpose.

Dot Commands

Most Turbo Braille formatting is accomplished by means of a
number of dot commands--commands made up of two letters of the
alphabet, immediately following a period (.) in the first
position of the line, and sometimes followed by additional
information on the rest of the line. These commands center lines
(.CE), insert blank lines (.SP), start a new paragraph and indent
it (.PP), to name just a few.

The idea for dot commands came from a program called "TEXT"
by James Gillogly, a text formatting program for personal
computers, a descendant of "ROFF," a text formatter once found on
many mainframe computers. Dot commands are also used in WordStar
for special formatting effects, margin control, font selection,
and the like.

Imbedded Commands

Another type of command used by Turbo Braille in formatting
text is the "imbedded command," a two-character sequence made up
of a backslash (\) followed by a single character, as in \0, \#,
\_, \B, \\, etc. Unlike dot commands, imbedded commands may be
placed anywhere within a line of text. If it is necessary to
include a backslash character itself in a BIF file, it must
appear twice (\\). TEXT uses such imbedded commands, and ROFF
uses something similar , called "escape sequences." WordStar uses
its own imbedded commands to begin and end underlining, boldface
type, and to mark blocks of text to be moved or copied within a


Making A BIF File

When you have created a WordStar document, a WordPerfect
document, or a printable text file, you may run Turbo Braille
with the /M1 or /M3 switch to create a "BIF file" (Braille
Intermediate File). This file will contain the dot commands and
imbedded commands automatically generated by Turbo Braille. You
may add more formatting commands by just editing the BIF file
with an ASCII editor. The file may appear unusual, for there
will never be strings of two or more blank spaces in a row. Every
dot commands will begin in column one of its own line, as will
each line of text. The placement of text in your finished braille
copy will be determined solely by the dot commands and imbedded
commands you use, and not by its placement in the BIF file.

You may also create an original file from scratch with an
ASCII editor, using the dot commands and imbedded commands
described in this manual and in the Turbo Braille Help Screens.
Such a file will be a BIF file, and will be suitable as input to
Turbo Braille. It is not necessary for such a file to have the
extension ".BIF" since Turbo Braille determines the file type by
its contents, and not by the name and extension given it.

Centering, Blank Lines, and Paragraphs

CENTERING. (.CE). You are writing a document which has a
title at the top of the page. You will, of course, want this
title centered. Here is how it is done.

Open the file. To open a ".BIF" file, you may use any ASCII
Editor, such as EDLIN, or the nondocument mode of WordStar. You
must then enter the "insert mode" of that editor and type:


Remember, the command and the title will both begin in
column 1 of the screen. When you have processed the file, the
".CE" will have disappeared, and you will see the following:


If the title is too long to be centered properly on the
braille page, Turbo Braille will divide it into two roughly equal

Suppose you want more than one line centered. This is no
problem. Simply follow the command with a digit which indicates
the number of lines to be centered. (This principle is used with
many of the other commands you will see later.) It will be done
like this:

.CE 3

Produced by

When processed, the material will be centered. If you don't
know exactly how many lines you will be centering, you may place
a large number after the command--one so large that there is no
way you could possibly be centering that many lines. Upon
completion of the entry, the centering is terminated by typing
the ".CE" command followed by a zero (0).

.CE 99
Produced by KANSYS, Inc.
Your Sound Alternative
.CE 0

When the braille output has been produced, all of the lines
requiring centering will be centered, and those too long to have
balanced centering will be split.

THE LINE SPACE (.SP). While entering data to be processed,
it is often necessary to leave one or more blank lines between
parts of the text, such as between the title and the body.
The command used for this purpose is ".SP." Remember, when the
text is entered and shown on the screen, it should all appear,
along with the dot commands, at the left margin. In our file we
have now entered the title:


Next we want to leave a blank line between the title and the
first paragraph.

Turbo Braille is a powerful braille translator ... .

The document will have the title centered, a blank line, and
the beginning of the paragraph.

.CE 99
Produced by KANSYS, Inc.
.CE 0
Turbo Braille is a powerful braille translator ... .

If there is to be more than one blank line between parts of
the document, follow the .SP command with a digit:

.SP 2

INDENTING THE PARAGRAPH (.PP). So far we have centered the

title and skipped a blank line between the title of the document
and its body. However, we want the paragraph in the braille
output to begin in column three. This is done by use of the
command ".PP." When Turbo Braille is reading a file and sees
".PP", it automatically writes the line of text immediately
following the command line with its first character in column

Turbo Braille is a powerful braille translator ... .

After the ".PP" command, output would look like this.

Turbo Braille is a powerful braille translator ... .

MAKING AN UNFILLED LINE (.nf, .br). At times when working on
a document, you might not want to fill lines. In letters, for
instance, the street address, city and state, and the date, all
appear on separate lines, as do the lines of the inside address.
In some word processors, such as WordStar, the solution to this
problem is simply to enter a "hard" carriage return "<." However,
this method does not work in Turbo Braille. This is true since
there are no "hard" or "soft" returns in BIF files. Therefore,
there must be another method of dealing with the problem. This
problem can be solved by one of two dot commands ".BR" and ".NF."

The ".BR" is entered before each line of text that you
desire to stand alone. Therefore, it would look something like

1016 Ohio
Lawrence, KS 66044
March 4, 1990

The braille copy would not show the .br commands as printed,
but show the document correctly formatted. This command is used
when you wish to respect line breaks in a short passage. If,
however, there is a lot of material which requires that the lines
not be filled, a ".NF" should be entered on the line before the
text. Turbo Braille will place on each braille line only as much
material as is entered on that line of text. This will, of
course, often spill over into more than one braille line. The
".BR" and ".NF" commands have the affect of executing all
carriage returns in the source document as though they were
"hard" returns. They are used for short and long passages
respectively. Normally, Turbo Braille ignores carriage returns
and puts as much braille on one line as will fit. The exception
to this rule is two carriage returns, which it turns into one .sp

THE FILL COMMAND (.FI). You must be wondering: If I use

the .NF command and I then want to start filling lines again,
what do I do? There is a command to achieve this function called
the ".FI" command. It is placed on a line by itself immediately
before the text with which the line filling will begin.

Dot Commands for Margins

We have seen how dot commands make it possible to center
lines, insert blank lines, indent paragraphs, cease the filling
of lines, and resume the filling of lines. We will now consider
the dot commands used to provide varied right margins, varied
left margins, hanging indents, and regular indents.

THE RIGHT MARGIN (.RM). Most of the braille printers that
are available have a maximum line width of 40 columns on 11.5
inch paper. Forty Columns, therefore, is the default for Turbo
Braille. However, the time may come when you will need a narrower
line, such as when 8.5 by 11 inch paper is being used. This is
easily accomplished with the right margin command ".rm." The
command is entered beginning in column 1 and is the only item
typed on the line. It is followed by the number of the last
column to be found on the longest possible line. It will appear
like this:

.rm 28

remember, always start the dot commands in column 1 of the
line on which they are found.

THE LEFT MARGIN COMMANDS (.PO, .IN). Perhaps a wider left
margin is required. Although the Library of Congress is now
allowing a 40 space line for transcribed materials, you may
findbinding more easily accomplished if two spaces are left at
the beginning of the lines, producing a wider left margin. This
is done with the ".IN" command. This command, like the others, is
typed on a line by itself, and it will be followed by a digit.
The command would appear as follows:

.in 2

Making a wider left margin can also be accomplished by
adjusting the paper a little in the printer, or by using the page
offset command ".PO" followed by a digit.

.po 2

TEMPORARY INDENT (.TI). From time to time in the preparation
of a document, it becomes necessary to temporarily change a
margin for just one line. Such instances occur in the formatting
of documents such as outlines, in which the first braille line of
each subdivision must be indented two additional spaces. Doing
this is easy with the ".TI" command. In column 1 of a new line
enter ".TI" followed either by a digit to indicate the absolute
number of spaces to indent from the left margin, or the plus sign
"+" or minus sign "-" and a digit to indicate the current margin

plus or minus a certain number of spaces.

.in 2
I. Planning my trip
.ti +2
A. Making Reservations
.ti +4
1. Choose a travel agent
.ti +4
2. Determining the best time for me
.ti +4
3. Determining best rates
.ti +4
4. Flight availability
.ti +2
B. Hotel Reservations
II Making arrangements ...

The ".ti" command can also be used in documents in which
material is set in several spaces, but the first line of each
block of data is found to the left of the rest of the material.
Using the ".in" command, the data entry person will enter the
number of spaces the material is to be set in, then with the
".ti" command will set the line back to the left margin by
typing .ti 0.

.in 3
.ti 0
Truck Driver's Delight--a half pound of ground round on a
toasted sesame seed bun with mounds of fries and
plenty of delectable garnishes on the side. $3.95.

The command can also be formed using relative instead of
absolute numbers in this way:

.in +3
.ti -3

Dot Commands for Page Variations

The standard length for a page of braille is 25 lines, so
Turbo Braille uses that page length as the default. However, from
time to time it may be desirable to have a shorter page length or
to force the end of a given page. Several dot commands are
available to help in this kind of formatting. While discussing
the manipulation of pages, we will also see how a dot command can
be used to create a running head, as well as a command which will
automatically insert print page numbers.

CREATING A RUNNING HEAD (.RH). Often in preparing documents
(print or braille) a running head must be provided so that each
page will contain the document's title or something to identify
it as part of the document. This is accomplished in Turbo Braille
with the use of the dot command ".RH." The format for this

command is slightly different from that which we have seen for
the other dot commands. While it is, like the others, found in
column 1 of the line, it is followed by the material to be used
as the running head.


If the running head is to appear on all pages of the
document beginning with the first page, it should appear at the
top of the file before any other commands. If the running head is
not to appear on the first page, it should be entered after the
beginning material, as long as it is not entered so far into the
file that it suppresses the running head's appearance on
subsequent pages.

PRINT PAGE NUMBERS (.PN). Often, particularly in the
production of braille books, it is necessary to include not only
braille page numbers, but also the corresponding print page
numbers. This is done at the beginning of the file. Once the
".pn" command has been issued, the document will contain the
first print page number, and on each page followingit will
contain the same page number preceded by an alpha letter "a" "b"
"c" etc., until the print page advances one page. Should the
print page change in the middle of a braille page, a row of dots
3 and 6 will appear with the new print page numberat the end of

If you wish to begin with a print page other than page 1,
you should follow the ".PN" command with the number of the print


.pn 30

The program will then begin numbering the print pages with 30, or
whatever number you have inserted.

PAGE LENGTH OF YOUR DOCUMENT (.PL). Although the ".pl"
command is rarely used, a data entry person may find at some
point the need to change the length of the pages of a document.
This command would only be used if the entire document were to
have a number of lines in each page other than 25. Though it can
be placed anywhere in the file, the best place logically is to
place it before any other text or commands in the file. If this
is not done, it could easily be forgotten until so far into the
file that the first page or two would have one page length and
the rest would have the new length. The command is found
beginning in column 1 of a line and followed by one or two digits
to indicate the number of lines desired on each page.

.pl 20
.pl 9

FORCING THE END OF A PAGE (.NE) OR (.BP). Braille rules

require that a new centered title be placed on a new page if it
cannot be preceded by a blank line and followed by a blank line
and two lines of text. If this rule is being used in the
processing of your braille document, it will not be possible for
you to determine on the computer either by looking at the screen
or using speech if the final copy will turn out that way. This is
when the ".ne" command will come in handy. If you want to
guarantee that you will never have the title of an article on the
final line of your braille page, enter the ".sp" command, then
enter the ".ne" command with a digit giving the number of lines
needed on the same page, including the title, the next blank
line, and two lines of the paragraph following the title.

.ne 4
Dot Commands for Margins
We have seen how dot commands make it possible to center lines,
insert blank lines, indent paragraphs, ...

If it is desirable to terminate a page early, such as for a
new topic, a new section, etc., enter the ".bp" command. This
will cause the paper to advance to a new page. It, like most of
the other commands we have discussed, will be on a line alone
beginning in column 1.


By consulting the Help facility of Turbo Braille, you will
see that there are many other dot commands, designed to
accomplish a variety of formatting tasks. The Help facility is
accessed with the Slash H "/H" command or switch.

This section of the documentation is designed to give you an
introduction to dot commands. We will be adding to it in the
upcoming months, as Turbo Braille grows and matures.

You can also learn more about dot commands by examining a
"BIF" file produced by Turbo Braille. After all, BIF files are
nothing more than ASCII text interspersed with dot commands.

  3 Responses to “Category : Science and Education
Archive   : TBRL253.ZIP
Filename : DOTCOM.TXT

  1. Very nice! Thank you for this wonderful archive. I wonder why I found it only now. Long live the BBS file archives!

  2. This is so awesome! 😀 I’d be cool if you could download an entire archive of this at once, though.

  3. But one thing that puzzles me is the “mtswslnkmcjklsdlsbdmMICROSOFT” string. There is an article about it here. It is definitely worth a read: