Thursday, July 29, 2010
Barcodes began in the 1960s as identifiers of rolling stock on railroads. They appeared at grocers and other retailers in the 1970s. Today, barcodes are seen everywhere.
There are many types of barcodes in use today. They vary based on the type and amount of data you wish to encode. Barcode standards are followed for each type and are known as symbologies. Each symbology defines the type of barcode and how it will be scanned and decoded.
When selecting the correct barcode for your business, determine if there is a symbology for the industry you are in. For example, if you were a book publisher, you would use an ISBN. Periodicals require an EAN-13 symbology. Below is a list of established standards.
• UPC-A or UPC-E – Used on products for sale in Canada and the US.
• EAN-8 or EAN-13 – Used on products sold worldwide.
• ISBN, BOOKLAND, and ISSN – Used on periodicals and books.
• UCC-128, EAN-128 or SSCC-18 – Used on shipping cartons or boxes.
• SCC-14, SSCC-18 and EAN-14 – Used on shipping cartons or boxes.
• SICI Code or SISAC – Used on serial publications.
• USPS Special Services – Used on return receipts and registered mail in the US.
• POSTNET – Used on mail addresses for the post office in the US.
• LOGMARS – Standard for the US Department of Defense.
• MICR – Used on bank checks.Self-Checking Barcodes
If you are not a programmer you should use barcode fonts that are self-checking. Try Code 39 if you want a barcode that uses alpha numeric with uppercase letters and the symbols -, $, /, +, and %.
Use Code 128 if you want a barcode that uses full upper and lower case letters, numerals, punctuation and any symbol that is on a US101 keyboard. You are also able to use ASCII functions for up to 20 digits.
Use Data Matrix or PDF417 for any barcode that has multiple lines of data over 20 digits. If you are required to fax barcodes, Data Matrix is the most dependable font to use.When You Cannot Read a Barcode
There can be several reasons why you cannot read a barcode but the most common reason is that the reader may not have your barcode’s symbology turned on. A simple reconfiguration should solve the problem. If it still cannot be read after reconfiguration, then the barcode may be corrupt. It may need to be redesigned .What Equipment to Use to Check Barcodes
The best way to check your barcodes is with a handheld barcode reader. It is plugged in to your PC. When a barcode is scanned, the data appears on your PC’s monitor as if it were typed from the keyboard. It is interesting to note that most scanner manufacturers disable most of the symbologies in their scanners. You may need to enable your scanner to read the sybology that your barcode uses. You should also confirm that your printer can reproduce your barcodes.
We hope this article has helped you determine the best barcodes to use for your business.