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Reading books from NNELS on a Vario Ultra40

Many NNELS titles can be accessed on a Vario Ultra40 braille display without needing to connect the display to the phone or computer while reading. This means that no matter where you are and regardless of whether you have access to a phone or computer nearby, your books will always be accessible on the device. This tutorial will walk you through downloading title(s), transferring them onto your device, and opening them on your display.

Downloading Titles

Before transferring books to the braille display, we need to download them. If you are unfamiliar with the process of finding and downloading books, please check out the following tutorials:

When you find titles available in multiple formats, you may be wondering which is the right one for the display.

The Vario Ultra40 reads text-based documents such as .doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt, .brf, .brl, and .pdf. The full list of supported formats is in Chapter 3, “Braille Notetaker Mode,” of the official Vario Ultra40 manual. Many of the formats listed above can be found in the repository. We suggest downloading titles in .brf, .docx, and .rtf for the smoothest reading experience. If a title you wish to read is not in our repository and/or in your preferred format, you are welcome to submit a book request. Note that some titles in brf may be packaged as a zip file if the book has been split into multiple files so that you can download the entire book without clicking on multiple links.

Transferring Books onto Your Device

There are two methods of putting books on your display. You can transfer them from your computer directly via the USB cable by copying/moving files onto the device’s hard drive or by putting files onto a USB stick, plugging them into the device, and copying/moving them over via the built-in file manager. In the next two sections, we will go over each of these methods step-by-step.

Method 1: Transferring books directly from your computer

Note that the following instructions only apply to Windows users. There does not appear to be a direct way of transferring files from a Mac to the display via a USB cable. If you are a Mac user, follow the instructions for method 2 to get files onto the device instead.

  1. Turn on the unit if it is powered off or wake it up from suspend mode.
  2. On your computer, navigate to the folder where you have saved the downloaded files.
  3. Copy or cut the file(s) you wish to put on the display. Note that if a title is zipped up, you do not have to unzip it before transferring it to the device since you can unpack it on the device. However, if it is easier to unzip on the computer, you can do it before copying or moving.
  4. Connect the USB cable from the computer to the braille display. You will hear a sound from your unit and computer, indicating the connection is successful. If you do not hear a sound, you may have a broken cable or one that does not support data transfer. We recommend using the USB-C cable that comes with the unit, but any USB-C cable that supports charging and data transfer will work.
  5. On the computer, navigate to the “VarioUltra” drive that should now be available from Windows Explorer and select it. You may be able to get to it from the desktop by selecting “Computer” and then clicking on “VarioUltra.” Note that if the display goes to sleep, the drive disappears, so ensure that the device is out of suspend mode before locating the drive.
  6. When you plug in your display, you may get a popup menu asking what you want to do with the device. You can select the “Open folder to view files” option from here to open the drive.
  7. Once you have selected the drive, you will see a folder called “VarioUltra Storage.” Open it.
  8. Paste your file(s).

Method 2: Transferring books onto the device from a USB Stick

  1. On the computer, navigate to the folder where you have saved the downloaded files.
  2. Copy or cut the file(s) you wish to put on the display. Zip files do not need to be unzipped before being copied or moved. The entire process is the same whether files are zipped or unzipped.
  3. Plug in a USB stick and open the drive. When you plug in a USB stick, Windows may ask you what you would like to do with this device. You can select the option to “Open folder to view files.” If the menu does not appear, navigate to “Computer” from your desktop and click on your USB drive. If you are on a Mac, you will access the USB drive from the desktop or on the sidebar in Finder.
  4. Paste your file(s) wherever you want on the USB stick as long as you can easily access them.
  5. Activate the eject feature in Mac or Windows, respectively, on the USB drive. Then, physically remove it from your computer. Ejecting devices can be done in Windows from the system tray by selecting the “Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media” button. You may need to click on the “Show Hidden icons” button on Windows 10 and 11 to see it. If you are on a Mac, locate the drive in Finder and press “command + ‘e’” on the drive.
  6. Plug the USB stick into the braille display.
  7. From your display, navigate to the file manager and select “stick.”
  8. Select the file(s) you want to copy or move off the USB stick. If you decide to move a zipped file onto the device, treat it like a folder by going into it and copying the file(s). You can only copy and not cut within zip files (three different option outlined below).
  9. Navigate to where you want to put your file(s).
  10. Now press "b9 + b8 + v" ("left space + dot 8 + v") to paste the file(s) you have copied or cut from the USB stick. You will see a number followed by “items pasted” appear on the display.

Here are three different ways of copying and cutting files

  1. If you are working with a single file, navigate to it. Then press “b9 + b8 + c” ("left space + dot 8 + c") to copy or "b9 + b8 + x" ("left space + dot 8 + x") to cut the file. It will show “1 items prepared for copying” or “1 items prepared for cutting,” depending on the command you chose to use.
  2.  If you want to copy or cut multiple files simultaneously, navigate to each file you want to work with and press b0 (right space) to highlight it. Then press “b9 + b8 + c” ("left space + dot 8 + c") to copy or "b9 + b8 + x" ("left space + dot 8 + x") to cut the files. It will show a number followed by “items prepared for copying” or a number followed by “items prepared for cutting,” depending on the command you choose to use.
  3. If you want to copy or cut everything within a folder, press "b9 + b8 + sh" contraction ("left space + dot 8 + sh contraction"). You will see a number followed by “objects highlighted.”

Opening Books

Books can be opened through the file manager or by going into the word processor. For example, once you have copied or pasted the file(s) you need, you can simply open them by navigating to a file and selecting it. The file manager has been designed to load the correct program when a file is opened. If you open a brf file, the word processor will load.

Alternatively, you can open files within each program. For our purposes, we will do this with the word processor. Both processes are outlined below:

File Manager Method

  1. Fom the main menu, navigate to “file manager”.
  2. Navigate to the file you want to open.
  3. Select it. The file should open in the word processor in a few seconds.
  4. Once the book has loaded, you can begin reading by using d2 and d5 (the middle buttons that are part of the group of three vertically arranged buttons at both ends of the display) or explore the functionality of the word processor application by going through its menus with s3 (the button to the right of the right spacebar).

Word Processor Method

  1. From the main menu, open the word processor.
  2. Press "b9 + b8 + o" ("left space + dot 8 + o") to go to the open dialogue.
  3. Navigate to the file you want to open.
  4. Select it. The book will load in a few seconds.
  5. Once the book has loaded, you can begin reading by using d2 and d5 (the middle buttons that are part of the group of three vertically arranged buttons at both ends of the display) or explore the functionality of the word processor application by going through its menus with s3 (the button to the right of the right spacebar).