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2021 Rankings

Best Barcode Generators

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How can you make your business more efficient? With a barcode generator, you'll be able to track inventory and sales data with accuracy. You'll also save time by not having to manually enter the information into your system. Download generators today!

Frequently Asked Questions on Barcode Generators

Is the price of the item encoded in the barcode?

A barcode can hold any type of information you need. However, for consumer goods, the price is not usually encoded. Usually, the barcode will denote what type of product it is, and your point of sale (POS) system will determine the pricing information with it. 

How many characters can fit into a barcode?

The number of characters that can fit into a barcode usually depends on the barcode type. 1D barcodes can have 20 to 25 characters, while 2D barcodes can have up to 2,000 characters. As you increase the amount of information contained within the barcode, the bigger it will become.

What size should my barcode be?

Barcodes can come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Square barcode generators can even get 2D barcodes down up to 1/18 inch square. However, you will have to take into consideration the type of printer and barcode scanner you have. A smaller code will limit the number of characters you use and will require a high-resolution printer.

Do I need to get a UPC number?

If you sell products to a retailer or distributor, you will need to obtain a UPC number. You can also contact the company you are selling your product to so you can inquire about their barcode policies. You will get a certificate authenticating your number once you get your UPC number. For authenticity, this certificate is usually required by most retailers.

How do I get a UPC number?

Only GS1 US can issue UPC numbers. They will give you a globally unique “Global Company Prefix” consisting of 11 digits. The fee for this is determined by the number of unique products you need to identify. Your gross sales revenue can also affect the price. The prices vary, and you will need to contact GS1 for a quote.

Why does my barcode generator keep adding an extra digit to my UPC-A code?

UPC-A codes are 11 digits, not including the check digit. A check digit is calculated from the 11 numbers in the UPC, so UPC-A barcodes should have a total of 12 digits. Legitimate barcode generators will not work unless you input at least 11 digits. After that, the generators will do the necessary calculations and add the check digit for you.

What is the difference between direct thermal (DT) and thermal transfer (TT)?

Direct thermal uses chemically-treated, heat-sensitive media that blackens when it passes a thermal printhead. It doesn’t use ribbon or ink to print. The barcode will usually fade in about one year. This type of printing process is not recommended for environments with higher temperatures or exposure to sunlight.

On the other hand, the thermal transfer involves melting a ribbon coating so that it stays glued to the material on which the print is applied. This type of transfer is a more permanent solution and will not fade. It is more widely used in printing high-quality barcodes.

What does DPI mean in barcodes?

DPI means dots per inch and is a guide for determining the resolution of the barcodes you will be using. The higher the number, the finer the print will be. Most barcode generators are suitable at 203 DPI. However, if you are using logos/images, or if you are making tiny labels, 300 or 600 DPI would be best.

How does a barcode scanner scan my barcode?

A barcode scanner will pick up alternating black and white elements that follow a specific algorithm, then turn into a corresponding text string. The sensor in the barcode detects the reflected light from the illumination system and generates an analog signal sent to the decoder. The decoder will validate it and convert it to text.

What do the barcode numbers mean?

The numbers on a barcode are an exact translation of what the lines mean. Since machines can’t read numbers or letters, barcode generators will use machine-readable lines to encode human-readable numbers and letters. The thickness of the lines and how they’re spaced each represent different numbers or letters.

Are barcodes standardized?

For some barcode types, there are specific standardized systems. UPC and EAN codes, commonly used for retail, need to adhere to GS1 barcode labeling standards. They specify where barcode labels should be placed and other guidelines essential to the proper use of barcodes on products and packaging.

Are UPC-A and EAN barcodes interchangeable?

No. While both are internationally recognized, UPC-A codes have 11 digits plus a twelfth check digit. On the other hand, EAN barcodes can have either 8 or 13 numbers, including a check digit. These barcodes are also used for different retail goods, depending on where they are owned and operated.

Can barcodes be in any color?

Barcode generators allow you to set any color for your barcode. However, you must keep in mind that for barcodes to work, contrast is key. Barcodes are usually in black and white because that is the industry standard. Barcodes should also never be reversed (light bars on a dark background) because scanners will not read them.

What is X-dim, and why does it matter for barcodes?

The X-dim is the base unit of measurement in a barcode. It is measured in thousandths of an inch or “mils.” The resolution of barcodes is measured in dots per X-dim, which is crucial for accurate scans. This affects the scanning distance of your barcode. By increasing the X-dim, the scan distance of your barcode also increases. 

Can barcodes be printed on a regular printer?

Yes. You can specify in your barcode generator the type of printer and material you will be printing your barcode on. Some specialized printers can generate and print barcode labels, but those tend to be expensive. There are also direct thermal printers that can print high quantities of barcodes.

How do I know which barcode to use?

If you are planning to use barcodes for retail, UPC and EAN barcodes are commonly used. Vector barcode generators can easily integrate these barcodes into your packaging. For alphanumeric data, Code 39 or Code 128 is the best option. If you are using 2D or 3D barcodes, make sure that your supply chain partners support that barcode type.

Can I resize barcodes?

Using a barcode generator allows you to select sizes and make adjustments. However, once your barcode is generated, you cannot just resize a barcode-like you would an image in a photo editor by dragging the corners. This is why you should carefully choose your barcode dimensions and always choose the highest quality resolution.

What can barcodes be printed on?

Barcodes can be printed on a variety of materials, depending on your printer’s capabilities. Most often, barcodes are printed on cardboard, labels, stickers, or plastic. Special types of printers may be needed to print them on certain materials. Your choice of printer and material can also affect the durability of your barcode.

What is the difference between QR codes and barcodes?

QR codes are a type of 2D barcode. However, not all 2D barcodes are QR codes. Other 2D barcodes include Aztec Codes, Cyber Codes, PDF417, and Maxi Codes. Essentially, QR codes can be scanned using a variety of barcode scanning applications. Unlike other 2D barcodes, QR codes do not necessarily have to be in black and white.

Is there an ideal location to place my barcodes?

Barcode placement can impact the ability of scanners to read your barcode. Your barcodes’ location depends on your organization’s needs and how you will be using the barcode. To optimize scanning at checkout for retail goods, barcodes are generally placed in the lower right-hand section of the back of the package.

It is discouraged that barcodes be placed at the very edge of packages. You need to make sure that you have enough white space surrounding the barcode for a clean scan. You’ll also need to make sure that the printed surface is smooth so nothing will interfere with a barcode scanner’s ability to read the barcode.

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