Using the Focus Blue Scratchpad

The Focus Scratchpad enables you to create and save notes to an inserted micro SD card. For instance, you need to write down some information such as a phone number or email address, but you do not have immediate access to a PC or mobile device. You can also open and read braille formatted BRF files available from various services including National Braille Press or BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download), which is part of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

The Scratchpad offers very basic file navigation and editing functions including cut, copy, and paste. An active USB or Bluetooth connection is not required to use the Scratchpad. Notes are written using the Focus display’s Perkins-style keyboard and can be entered using plain text or contracted braille. If the Focus is currently connected to a computer or other device, you can also export the contents of a file you created to the edit window of the currently open application.

Note: The micro SD card slot is located on the left side of the display directly in front of the Power button.

Starting the Scratchpad

To start the Scratchpad, press Menu+N (DOTS 1-3-4-5). You are placed into a new file where you can immediately begin entering content. Pressing Menu+B (DOTS 1-2) places the Scratchpad in the background without closing it and resumes the currently active USB or Bluetooth connection, or displays the Focus status message. Pressing Menu+N again switches back to the currently open file in the Scratchpad.

Pressing Right Shift+H (DOTS 1-2-5) opens the Scratchpad help file. When you are done reviewing the help, press Z CHORD (DOTS 1-3-5-6) to close it and return to the currently open file.

Pressing the Menu button in the Scratchpad opens a menu containing file management, editing, and export options. Use the Rocker bars or DOT 1 or DOT 4 CHORD to move through menu items and press DOT 8 or a Cursor Routerbutton to open a submenu or select an item. Use DOTS 1-2-3 CHORD and DOTS 4-5-6 CHORD to move to the top or bottom of the menu. Press Z CHORD (DOTS 1-3-5-6) to close the menu and return to the file. Most of the menu options also offer shortcut keys which are described in the following sections.

To completely close the Scratchpad, press Right Shift+X (DOTS 1-3-4-6).

File Navigation Commands

The NAV Rockers at either end of the display allow you to move through files by line, paragraph, or pan forward and backward. To switch between the navigation modes, press the NAV Mode button above each NAV Rocker.

Creating a New File

A new file is created automatically whenever you open the Scratchpad. If necessary, you may also create a new blank file by pressing Right Shift+N (DOTS 1-3-4-5). Alternatively, you can press the Menu button, choose File, and then choose New. If the currently open file has not yet been saved, you are prompted to save your work. Press Y (DOTS 1-3-4-5-6) to save the current file or press N (DOTS 1-3-4-5) to discard your current changes.

Saving a File

If you are saving a file for the first time, press Right Shift+A, type a name for your file, and then press DOT 8. Alternatively, you can press the Menu button, choose File, and then choose Save As.

If the file you are working in has already been named, press Right Shift+S (DOTS 2-3-4) to save your latest changes. Alternatively, you can press the Menu button, choose File, and then choose Save.

Files created in the Scratchpad are automatically saved to the Micro SD card in a folder called Notes.

Transferring Braille Books

The Scratchpad allows you to open and read braille formatted files that use the BRF extension from various services such as BARD directly on your Focus display. To transfer BRF files to the Micro SD card:

  1. Close the Scratchpad and power off the Focus.
  2. Press and hold the Left Panning button while simultaneously powering on the display. Connect the Focus to your computer using the supplied USB cable, and the display will be recognized as a removable USB drive.

Note: If you use a screen reader such as JAWS over USB, it is recommended that you turn on speech or use a Bluetooth connection as braille will currently not work over USB when the Focus is being used as a storage device. You will also not be able to use the Scratchpad while in this mode.

  1. On the PC, open the folder containing your BRF files, select the files you want, and then press CTRL+C.
  2. Navigate to and open the USB drive to display the contents of the Micro SD card.
  3. Open FSI, Focus5, Scratchpad, Books, and then press CTRL+V to place the BRF files into this folder.
  4. Once you have finished transferring BRF books, press the APPLICATIONS key on your computer while focused on the USB drive, and choose Eject.
  5. Power the Focus off and back on and you will once again be able to use the Scratchpad as well as receive braille output from your screen reader over USB.

Opening a File

To open an existing file, press Right Shift+O (DOTS 1-3-5). If you want to open a file created in the Scratchpad, use the Rocker bars or DOT 1 or DOT 4 CHORD to navigate to the Notes folder and press DOT 8. To open a BRF book that you copied to the card, use the Rocker bars or DOT 1 or DOT 4 CHORD to navigate to the Books folder and press DOT 8. Once the folder is opened, use the Rocker bars or DOT 1 or DOT 4 CHORD to select a file from the list and press DOT 8.

The file opens, and the cursor is returned to the last location where you were when it was previously closed.

Alternatively, you can press the Menu button, choose File, and then choose Open.

Note: BRF files always open as read-only. You will not be able to enter text into these files.

Deleting a File

To delete a file, press the Menu Button, choose File, and then choose Delete. If you want to delete a file created in the Scratchpad, use the Rocker bars or DOT 1 or DOT 4 CHORD to navigate to the Notes folder and press DOT 8. To delete a BRF book that you copied to the card, use the Rocker bars or DOT 1 or DOT 4 CHORD to navigate to the Books folder and press DOT 8. Once the folder is opened, use the Rocker bars or DOT 1 or DOT 4 CHORD to select a file from the list and press DOT 8. You are asked to confirm the deletion. Press Y (DOTS 1-3-4-5-6) to delete the file, or N (DOTS 1-3-4-5) to cancel.

Editing Text

The Scratchpad provides some basic text editing functions including selecting, copying, cutting, pasting, and deleting text.

Note: Editing text is only available in files that are created directly in the Scratchpad. This functionality is not supported in BRF files.

To select a block of text, position the cursor where you would like to begin the selection and press Left Shift+M (DOTS 1-3-4) to set a mark at that location. Then, move the cursor to where you want to end the selection and press Left Shift+S (DOTS 2-3-4) to select all of the text between the mark and the cursor location. To indicate the selected text, dots 7 and 8 are displayed under each character in the selected block. Once the text is selected, you can perform one of the following:

To paste text from the clipboard into the currently open file, press Left Shift+P (DOTS 1-2-3-4). You can also paste the current time and date into a file. To paste the time or date, press the Menu button, choose Edit, and then choose Paste Time or Paste Date.

You can also mark a location in your file, so you can quickly return to it. Once you have set a mark using Left Shift+M, you can navigate to another location in your text and then press Left Shift+G (DOTS 1-2-4-5) to return to the marked location.

Finding Text

You can quickly locate a word or phrase in the currently open file. To search for text, press Right Shift+F (DOTS 1-2-4). Alternatively, you can press the Menu button, choose Edit, and then choose Find. Type the text you want to locate, and then press DOT 8 to begin the search.

To find the next occurrence of your search string, press Right Shift+DOT 4. Alternatively, you can press the Menu button, choose Edit, and then choose Find Next.

Exporting a File

If there is currently an active USB or Bluetooth connection between the Focus and a computer or other device, you can export the contents of the currently open file to the edit window of an application on your computer. For example, you could export notes you have written in a file to Microsoft Word so you could perform more advanced editing.

If your notes are in contracted braille, you must be running a screen reader such as JAWS that supports braille input so the contents will be back translated to text in the document. The braille input settings for the screen reader must also match the braille format you are using when typing in the Scratchpad. For instance, if you are typing notes in UEB, the screen reader should be set for UEB input so the text is correctly back translated.

To export a file, do the following:

  1. On the computer or device you are connected to, make sure focus is in the document that will contain the exported text.
  2. Open the file in the Scratchpad that you want to export.
  3. Press the Menu button and choose Export. The contents of your file will appear in the document on your computer as plain text. If necessary, you can press Z CHORD (DOTS 1-3-5-6) to cancel the export process.

Note: The contents of BRF files cannot be exported.