What Is a BRL File?

How to Open, Edit, & Convert BRL Files

Screenshot of several BRL files in Windows 10
BRL Files (MicroBraille).

A file with the BRL file extension could be either a MicroBraille file or a Ballistic Research Laboratory CAD file, but there's a good chance that it's the former.

MicroBraille files store dots that can be used by braille-to-speech programs and braille embossers. Similar to Braille Ready Format files (BRF), they're often used to store digital publications for people with visual impairments.

We don't have any information on what Ballistic Research Laboratory CAD files are used for, but the software that creates them, BRL-CAD, is a 3D solid modeling program, so the files themselves probably store 3D data of some kind.

How to Open a BRL File

MicroBraille files with the BRL extension can be opened using CASC Braille 2000, via the Open > Braille File menu. This program supports other braille files, too, like those in the BML, ABT, ACN, BFM, BRF, and DXB formats.

You can open the BRL file with Duxbury Braille Translator (DBT), too.

Note: Both of the programs just mentioned are available as demos, so while you can open and read BRL files with either of them, not all of the programs' features can be used.

BRL files that are Ballistic Research Laboratory CAD files can be created with, and probably also opened by, the modeling program called BRL-CAD.

Tip: If your BRL file seems to be in neither of those formats, use Notepad, TextEdit, or some other text editor to open the BRL file. Although it's not at all true for either format mentioned above, many types of files are  text-only files, meaning no matter the format, a text editor may be able to properly display the file's contents. This may be the case for your BRL file if the programs above won't open it.

Another reason to use a text editor to open your BRL file is to see if there's any descriptive information within the file itself that can tell you what program was used to create it, and therefore what program may be able to open it. This information is often in the first section of the file when viewed with a text or HEX editor.

Tip: If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the BRL file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open BRL files, see our How to Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.

How to Convert a BRL File

The Braille 2000 program itself cannot convert a BRL file to any other format, so it's possible that no software exists that can convert it.

If BRL-CAD does in fact let you open your Ballistic Research Laboratory CAD files, you may also be able to convert it to a new format. The option to export a 3D model is usually a common feature in those types of applications, so BRL-CAD might include support for that, too. However, because we haven't tried it, we can't be 100% sure.

Still Can't Open the File?

Something else to remember if you can't open a BRL file is to make sure it's not really a different file type that has a similar file extension. To check this, look at the characters directly following the file name to confirm that it reads ".BRL" and not something similar.

For example, while BRD files share the majority of the file extension letters as BRL files, they really have nothing to do with each other. BRD files are either EAGLE Circuit Board files, Cadence Allegro PCB Design files, or KiCad PCB Design files. However, none of those formats are related to the formats mentioned above that use the BRL file extension, and, therefore, cannot be opened with a BRL file opener.

BR5FBR, and ABR files are just a few other examples that could easily be confused with BRL files. 

If you find out that your file isn't really a BRL file, research the file extension you see to learn more about the file format that uses that extension. This can help you determine what program can open or convert that type of file.