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Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Measuring tools For The Blind: Using A Protractor

Message: I would like to know where I can purchase a click-o-matic ruler? location: illinois

There is a group in Colorado called "Community Advocates" that sells various forms of click rules. They are in either English or Metric and have extenders for added length. The phone number for the group is 303-666-8206.

There is a good chance you will reach an answering machine and it may leave you with the impression that you have a wrong number but they have been around for quite a while.

Message: Are you aware of any angle measuring tools (ex. angle rulers) for the visually impaired? (particularly for low vision 5th grade students) Thanks.

When I received your email, I immediately contacted our fantastic Customer Service Department and found a product that should be of assistance to your student.

Braille / Print Protractor

Braille-Large Print Protractor

Bold large print numbers and raised dots mark the degrees along the half circle of this 180 degree protractor. An unusual feature is the "wand" that allows for easier measurement of angles. This long, flat piece is pointed at one end and anchored on a pivot at the center of the protractor. When the pointed end is aligned with a certain degree measurement, the corresponding angle is created by the wand and the bottom edge of the protractor. Includes print and braille instructions.

Braille / Print Protractor:
Catalog Number: 1-04115-00
Click this link to purchase a Braille/Large Print Protractor.

Large Print and Tactile Protractors

Large Print Protractor 4-pack

Now students can use the same convenient measuring tools in both classroom and assessment situations. One protractor is designed for large print users, the other for braille/tactile users. Both protractors allow for the measurement and construction of angles.

Both protractors feature:
  • Lightweight, clear plastic
  • Movable, transparent yellow wand
  • Open hole where wand is attached for inserting pencil or push pin at vertex of angle
  • Notches on bottom left and right allow for pinning the protractor to surface such as a rubber mat
  • 6-inch ruler located at bottom of protractor
Large Print Protractor features:
  • Bold, sans serif, 20-point font
  • Upper labels mark every 10 degrees from 0° to 180°
  • Lower labels mark every 20 degrees from 180° to 0°
Tactile Protractor 4-pack
Tactile Protractor features:
  • Braille dot markings on upper edge: 3 dots at 0°, 45°, 90°, 135°, 180°; 2 braille dots at each 10° to 170° except 90°; a single braille dot at every 10° increment from 5° to 175°, excluding 45° and 135°.
Large Print Protractor (4-Pack):
Catalog Number: 1-04116-00
Click this link to purchase Large Print Protractor (4-pack).

Tactile Protractor (4-Pack):
Catalog Number: 1-04117-00
Click this link to purchase the Tactile Protractor (4-pack).

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
Web site:
APH Shopping Home:

How To Use A Protractor

A protractor is a tool that allows you to measure an angle or construct an angle of a given measure.

To Measure an Angle
  1. Find the center hole on the straight edge of the protractor.

  2. Place the hole over the vertex, or point, of the angle you wish to measure.

  3. Line up the zero on the straight edge of the protractor with one of the sides of the angle.

  4. Find the point where the second side of the angle intersects the curved edge of the protractor.

  5. Read the number that is written on the protractor at the point of intersection. This is the measure of the angle in degrees.


There are 360 degrees in a circle.

A straight line measures 180 degrees.

The corner of a square measures 90 degrees. This is called a right angle.

Angles that measure fewer than 90 degrees are called acute angles. Those measuring more than 90 degrees are called obtuse angles.

To Construct an Angle

  1. Use the straight edge of the protractor to draw a straight line. This line will form one side of your angle.

  2. Find the center hole on the straight edge of the protractor.

  3. Place the hole over one end point of the line you have drawn.

  4. Line up the zero on the straight edge of the protractor with the line.

  5. Make a mark at the number on the curved edge of the protractor that corresponds to the desired measure of your angle. For example, mark at 90 for a 90-degree angle.

  6. Use the straight edge of the protractor to connect the mark to the end point of the first line, forming an angle.

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