Braille for Math Zones

Mathematical text in modern technical documents appears in math zones. This is true for LaTeX, Microsoft Office math, MathType, Open Office, HTML5, etc. The main reason is that the typography of mathematical text differs from that for ordinary text (see, for example, User Spaces in Math Zones) and has special layout constructs such as square…


Editing Math using MathML for Speech

The posts Microsoft Office Math Speech and Speaking of math… describe two kinds of math-speech granularities: coarse-grained (navigate by words), which speaks math expressions fluently in a natural language, and fine-grained (navigate by characters), which reveals the content at the insertion point (IP) in sufficient detail to enable editing. Several Assistive Technologies (ATs) use MathML…


Microsoft Office Math Speech

Microsoft Office math-aware applications can now speak math in over 18 different languages! Try it out with native math zones in Word by enabling Narrator (type CapsLock + Enter) and navigate a math zone as described in the post Speaking of math… There are two math-speech granularities: coarse-grained (navigate by words), which speaks math expressions…


Unicode – Nemeth Character Mappings

In addition to handling 2D arrangements such as fractions, root, subscripts and superscripts, math layout programs need to be able to display the myriad math symbols discussed in Unicode Technical Report #25 Unicode Support for Mathematics. To interoperate with Nemeth braille, such programs need to map between Unicode characters and Nemeth braille sequences. Since Unicode…


Text Insertion Point

People often ask questions about the nature of the text insertion point (IP), the blinking vertical bar in between two characters on screen. This post attempts to address some of these questions, notably about where the IP is, what it means, how it works in BiDi text, how to control it programmatically and how it…


UnicodeMath Version 3.1

  A new version of Unicode Technical Note #28, UnicodeMath, a Nearly Plain-Text Encoding of Mathematics is now available. It updates several topics and references and uses the name UnicodeMath instead of Unicode linear format. Since there are several math linear formats, such as Nemeth braille, [La]TeX, and AsciiMath, having the name UnicodeMath clarifies the…


Speaking Subscripts, Superscripts, and Fractions

You might think that there’s just one good way to speak a math expression, at least in each natural language. But actually, there are a number of good ways to speak math expressions, each with advantages and disadvantages. This post discusses some of these choices for subscripts, superscripts, and fractions. The post Speaking of math……



In writing the post Nemeth Braille—the first math linear format, I became increasingly aware that the Unicode Nearly Plain Text Encoding of Mathematics needed a better name than “linear format”. In addition to the Nemeth braille linear format, there are other math linear formats some of which are described in the post Linear Format Notations…


Nemeth Braille Alphanumerics and Unicode Math Alphanumerics

Both Unicode and Nemeth braille include sets of math alphanumerics. Section 2.2 of Unicode Technical Report #25 discusses the math alphanumerics and why they’re important for math. Microsoft Office math zones use math alphabetics for most variables and support the math digit sets as well. Accordingly, we need mappings between Unicode and Nemeth braille math alphanumerics….


Nemeth Braille—the first math linear format

The 6-dot Nemeth braille encoding was created by Abraham Nemeth for mathematical and scientific notation and is general enough to encode almost all of the Microsoft Office math notation. He started working on his encoding in 1946 and it was first published in 1952 by the American Printing House for the Blind. It’s a little…