What is a Barcode?

A barcode is basically a series of parallel alternating black and white patterns that represents a sequence of numbers or characters. It allows real-time data to be collected accurately and quickly.

The combination of barcode with appropriate hardware and application software creates the potential for improving performance and productivity.

In it's early days, barcode technological development is driven by retail applications. However, industrial applications soon followed.

The first major success of barcode is the UPC (Universal Product Code) barcode that is used in the US and Canadian supermarkets. Subsequently, this led to the adoption by European countries and the creation of the EAN (European Article Numbering) code and symbol in 1976.

UPC Barcode

I need to print barcodes, what do I need to do?

You can easily print the barcode labels yourself with a laser printer. Alternatively, you can have your labels printed by commercial printing firms.

To print the barcodes yourself, you can either purchase a barcode software or barcode fonts.

How do I make sure my barcode is scannable?

Barcode scanners work by analyzing and interpreting the alternating black and white bars. It is important to leave adequate white space before and after the actual barcode.

The size of the barcode also matters. The bigger the barcode the easier it is to scan.

Barcode Font

A font is an organized collection of text characters. A font in general defines the shape, size, pitch and spacing of text characters.

A Barcode Font is a specially designed font that allows you to specify and generate barcodes on normal text characters. It is extremely easy to use. You can just install the font, then load up your text editor like Wordpad or Word to create the barcodes. Most computer applications today that support text enable you to choose from among many fonts.

Barcode Symbology

Code 39 Barcode
Code 39 barcode is one of the earliest and most widely used barcode. It is a variable length barcode, which means that you will be able to encode any number of characters as a barcode. It supports alphanumeric characters and is used in a wide variety of applications.

Code 128 Barcode
Code 128 is one of the most popular modern barcodes. It is a very high density barcode supporting alphanumeric characters. This barcode is used as the basis for many other barcodes like UCC/EAN, HIBC(Health Industry Barcode) and the Blood Bank Industry barcode.

More information on the Code 128 Barcode.

UCC/EAN Barcode
UCC/EAN is an international barcode format used widely by many different companies. It uses a list of Application Identifiers (AI) for identifying the structure and format of the data in the barcode. For example, AI 00 is used for identifying a 18 digits Serial Shipping Container Code.

I2of5 Barcode
I2of5 (Interleaved 2 of 5) is a widely used, high density barcode supporting numeric characters. The data to be encoded must contain even number of digits as each two digit numbers is uniquely represented by a set of bars and spaces in the barcode. The character '0' may be added to the beginning, if the data does not contain an even number of digits.

ITF14 Barcode
The ITF14 is a 14 digits barcode used to mark the external containers of products with a EAN identifier. It is based on the I2of5 barcode. ITF14 barcodes usually contain a top and bottom bar (sometimes rectangle) called the Bearers bar. The purpose of the Bearers bar is to make sure that the barcode is read completely.

UPCA Barcode
12 digits Universal Product Code. This barcode is used to identify each product with a unique code. It consists of a 1 digit Numbering System, 5 digits Manufacturer's code, 5 digits Product Code and 1 Check Digit.

More information on the UPCEAN Barcode.

UPCE Barcode
A 6 digits condensed version of UPCA. This barcode is typically used on items where space is a constraint.

EAN13 Barcode
13 digits European Article Numbering barcode. This barcode is used to identify each product with a unique code internationally. It consists of a 2 digits Country Code, 5 digits Manufacturer's code, 5 digits Product Code and 1 Check Digit. The ISBN(International Standard Book Number) barcode and ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) barcode uses EAN13 as the underlying barcode. For ISBN, the 13 digits starts with 978(or 979. Sunrise 2005 Compliance) while for ISSN it starts with 977.

EAN8 Barcode
8 digits European Article Numbering barcode. It consists of 2 digits Country Code, 5 digits Product Code and 1 Check Digit. It is typically used in place of EAN13 when space is a constraint.

EXT2 Barcode
Extension 2 barcode. This barcode is used to indicate issue number of magazines.

EXT5 Barcode
Extension 5 barcode. This barcode is used to indicate suggested retail price of books and magazines. It is typically used with ISBN(International Standard Book Number).

See samples of the barcode images and pictures mentioned above.