DBT File Import

The phrase File Import refers to the act of taking a non-native DBT file and bringing it into DBT. There are many different filetypes that DBT can import. Of these, the most important is Microsoft Word.

If you want to import files into DBT for languages other than English, there are few alternatives beyond Microsoft Word or Open Office files. This page of information is organized so that all the information about languages other than English is at the end.

The above is the File, Open dialogue. The first line says DBT Files (*.dxp, *.dxb). Duxbury opens your Duxbury print files (*.dxp) and your Duxbury braille files (*.dxb). Since this is a discussion about importing files from non-DBT sources, we will skip any discussion of opening existing DBT files.

DBT File Import: Word Documents (*.doc, *docx)

This section deals with files written in the English language. See the section labeled Languages Other than English if you need information about Languages other than English.

Importing Word 97, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016 Files

As of the beginning of 2011 (DBT 11.1), Duxbury DBT imports Microsoft Word 2007/2010 files. More recent copies of DBT import Word 2013/2016 files. If you have an older copy of Duxbury DBT, you need to update to import this important file type. Duxbury DBT has been importing Word 97/Word 2003 files for a very long time.

Importing Open Office Files

Open Office is an open source alternative to using Microsoft Office. Open Office uses a similar file format to Word 2007/2010. If you have Duxbury DBT 11.1, you can also import Open Office files.

Importing Microsoft Word Documents using the BANA Template

For those preparing files for use in the United States, a Word Template comes with DBT to ease the work of braille production. Click here for details on the BANA 2015 Template.

Importing MathType Files

MathType is a relatively low-cost program which, among its many capabilities, enables mathematical equations to be inserted into Microsoft Word documents. It is produced by Design Science, Inc.. Word documents containing MathType equations can be opened in DBT, and translated into mathematical braille. See below about Scientific Notebook (another popular program for producing math equations for use with DBT).

RTF Files: a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Duxbury DBT does not import RTF files. However, many third party programs produce RTF files and call them Word Documents. Some copies of Acrobat offer to export to Word files. Some OCR software offers to produce Word documents. In both cases, the result is an RTF file. See below on how to convert RTF files into true Word files.

If you do attempt to import an RTF file into DBT, DBT gives an error message, saying that this is an RTF file.

Importing WordPerfect Files (*.wp, *.wpd, *.wp5, *.wp6)

While WordPerfect is not a leading product anymore, it was once the premier word processor. Duxbury DBT retains the ability to import files from WordPerfect 3.X, 5.X, or 6.X.

DBT File Import: All Files (*.*)

Importing Daisy Files

Daisy files are XML files designed for access for the disabled. While useful for braille production, Daisy files often lack all of the encoding needed for quality braille production. While DBT can import these files, there is a significant limitation. DBT can only import relatively small Daisy files.

NIMAS files are specialized Daisy files that meet national standards. These files are often massive, and require very specialized treatment. Duxbury Systems has created a new product, NimPro, to facilitate the import of NIMAS files. Please use NimPro if this is appropriate to meet your needs.

Importing MegaDots Files

Getting quality braille files from MegaDots to Duxbury DBT is not as difficult as it used to be. The MegaDots user needs to use MegaDots 2.5 (or beyond). Have them export the file from MegaDots into the MegaDots export file type MS Word/BANA Template. This file can be imported into DBT using the DBT Template English - American - BANA. Just about all the subtle formatting placed in the MegaDots file will be carried over into the DBT files, so it is worthwhile to follow the recipe exactly.

Importing Text Files

Yes, Duxbury DBT imports standard textfiles.

Scientific Notebook Files

Scientific Notebook, is a software product which produces LaTeX files. These LaTeX files can be imported into Duxbury DBT for the text and the mathematical equations. See above about MathType (another popular program for producing math equations for use with DBT). Duxbury Systems supports Scientific Notebook 5.5, which is still available as a download. The new version, Scientific Notebook 6.0, is not compatible with DBT at this time.

Importing HTML (Web) Files

Duxbury DBT has the ability to import simple html files from the web. If the direct file import is not successful, import the html file into Microsoft Word, then export (Save As) as a native Word file. Be careful: Word offers as a default choice to export back into a Web Page. You need to deliberately select Word file as a file type. Now you can import this file into Duxbury DBT.

Importing RTF Files

To import an RTF file into DBT, first import the file into Microsoft Word, then export (Save As) as a native Word file. Be careful: Word offers as a default choice to export back into a Rich Text Format (RTF) File. You need to deliberately select Word file as a file type. Now you can import this true Word file into Duxbury DBT.

Importing Braille Formatted Files

Braille Formatted Files have many nuances. Click here for a detailed discussion on importing braille formatted files.

DBT File Import: Word Documents (*.doc, *docx) (Languages Other than English)

Unicode Font Support

Duxbury DBT supports Unicode fonts. Microsoft Word works with both Unicode and non-Unicode fonts. Now you can buy a computer, obtain a Word processor (Open Office or Microsoft Word, and immediately set to work writing in difficult languages without needing to obtain a special font in order to get started. In the past, languages like Lao, Tibetan, or Oriya were impossible to support without specialized add-ons to Microsoft Word. As an added bonus, this means that screen readers and other access software have more of an opportunity to handle your language. At this point, DBT imports or handles about 75 ranges of Unicode characters.

Supporting non-Unicode Fonts

For some nations, their isolation from mainstream computer users, and the cost barriers to temporary solutions caused widespread use of non-Unicode fonts. Thus to offer a braille translator that is practical, Duxbury Systems had to support the dominant font system in use. We have some support for the Akadem font for Cyrillic text, the Saysettha font for Lao text. The next edition of DBT will support the SutonnyMJ font used in Bangladesh for Bengali text.

This work is very tedious and sometimes quite complex, so we do this only when there are no other alternatives.

Demonstrating DBT's Support for Different Languages

Sometimes it may be useful to quickly demonstrate how Duxbury DBT can handle a very large number of languages. To assist, we have prepared a web portfolio of over 50 languages. This page also demonstrates DBT's amazing ability to import files by specifying a web URL instead of a file name. Click here to see this portfolio of sample files.

Han or Chinese Characters

DBT will not display Chinese characters. Instead DBT displays an appropriate substitute based on the language.

In the Global Settings, Word Import Menu, you can choose how Chinese characters are imported. The four choices are:

  1. Mandarin
  2. Cantonese
  3. Japanese
  4. Korean

Your choice controls how Chinese characters are imported into DBT:

LanguageDBT Characters
Mandarin Pinyin Romanization with accent
marks for the tones
Cantonese Romanization with superscript
numbers for the tones
Japanese Unicode U+30xx characters
Korean Unicode U+11xx characters

For Mandarin, even though the file import shows all the tones, the braille does not need to. DBT offers a number of choices as to how to handle the tones in braille.

Arabic and Hebrew Characters

Both Arabic and Hebrew inkprint are written from right to left. Arabic and Hebrew braille are written from left to right. While DBT displays all inkprint text from right to left, do not attempt to edit a in DBT. Instead, clipbard the entie line into Word, edit in WOrd, and then paste the whole line into DBT. Also see the note below about using a Windows XP machine.

Hangul or Korean Characters

Hangul compacts 2 or 3 characters into a single symbol. When DBT imports a file, this process is reversed. DBT breaks down a single Hangul character into its basic parts. In technical terms, all Hangul characters from U+AC00 through U+D7AF are redirected into Hangul Jamo characters U+11xx. The result can be difficult to read, and is certainly jarring to those who are used to reading conventional inkprint. For many languages, it is best to go straight from Microsoft Word into braille, using DBT as the translation engine.

A Word About Windows XP: Script and Font Issues

Some fonts are fixed width, and some fonts are variable width. The print side of DBT only uses a select group of fixed width fonts that meet its technical criteria. In order to view some scripts in DBT files, we need to be careful about fonts and operating systems.

On a Windows XP machine, Latin Letters, Greek and Cyrillic scripts are viewable.

On a Windows XP machine, when you use the Control Panel, Regional Settings, Languages, and click the box for Right to Left Languages, you add support for Hebrew and Arabic.

On a Windows XP machine, when you use the Control Panel, Regional Settings, Languages, and click the boxes for Asian Language Support, you can add a number of scripts.

A few scripts (Mandarin, Cantonese, Ethiopic, Khmer, Lao, Oriya, Sinhala, and Tibetan) are best viewed on a Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 machine.

Myanmar (Burmese) script support requires Windows 8 or Windows 10.

Copyright Duxbury Systems, Inc. Wednesday, October 05, 2016

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