Jolly software, including Label Flow™ barcode label printing software as well as Asset Track™ fixed asset tracking software, can be used to print labels with 1D and 2D barcodes.

Supported barcode symbologies include:

EAN-13 Family
Symbologies used to mark retail products and publications worldwide.

UPC-A
UPC-E
EAN-13 (JAN-13)
EAN-8 (JAN-8)
ISBN (Bookland EAN)
ISSN
UPC/EAN 2-Digit Extension
UPC/EAN 2-Digit Extension

128 Full ASCII Family
Highly dense and general purpose full ASCII range symbologies used in shipping and distribution industry.

Code 128 (A, B, C)
UCC/EAN 128

3 of 9 Family
Symbologies used in automotive and defense industry.

Code 39
Code 39 - Full ASCII
Code 93
Code 93 - Full ASCII

2 of 5 Family
General purpose numeric symbologies used in warehouse, airline ticketing, medical, and automotive industry.

Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF)
Standard 2 of 5

Plessy Family
Symbologies used for marking retail shelves.

MSI Plessy

Codabar
Discrete and self-checking symbology used in blood banks, photo labs, and on FedEx air bills.

Codabar (NW-7/2)

Postal
Symbologies used by postal services for sorting mails.

Postnet
Royal Mail (RM4SCC)
Australia Post

2D Family
Encode more data in less space with 2D symbologies. These symbologies also offer better error correction mechanisms.

PDF417
Data Matrix
QR Code

 

Barcode Information

  1. What is a barcode?
  2. What are barcodes used for?
  3. What are the advantages of using barcodes?
  4. How much information can a barcode encode?
  5. How accurate are barcodes?
  6. How many barcode symbologies are available?
  7. What is the difference between the different barcode symbologies?
  8. Which barcode symbology should I use?
  9. What is an ISBN barcode?
  10. What kind of barcode do I need to sell my product in a retail store?
  11. How do I get a barcode number for my product?
  12. What is a UPC barcode?
  13. What is the Uniform Code Council (UCC)?
  14. Do I need to apply for a UPC number?
  15. What is a 2D barcode?
  16. What is the difference between a 1D barcode and a 2D barcode?
  17. Should I use a 1D or 2D barcode?
  18. Where can I get more information on barcodes?
  19. What is RFID?
  20. Will RFID make barcodes obsolete?
  21. What is GTIN?
  22. What is a check digit and how is it used?
  23. What is the most popular barcode symbology?
  24. What are the most popular applications of barcodes?


  1. What is a barcode?
    A barcode is a precise arrangement of geometric symbols, typically vertical bars that vary in width, that represent data in a machine-readable format.

    Barcode is very much like a license plate. The numbers and/or letters stored in the barcode are unique identifiers that, when read, can be used by a computer to look up additional information about the item. For example, barcode on a chocolate bar is just an identifier of the product that is used by the point of sale system to look up the price, the tax code, the current discount, and various other sales data from a computer database.

  2. What are barcodes used for?
    Barcodes are used to efficiently and reliably enter data into a system with little or no human interaction, effectively eliminating the human-error element from data entry. Barcodes have countless applications and are widely used for product identification, inventory marking, shipping container marking, and much more.

  3. What are the advantages of using barcodes?
    As barcodes are printed and processed by machines, they are processed much faster than standard human data entry and with a much higher degree of accuracy. Barcodes have the potential of dramatically improving productivity and reliability of nearly all applications.

    For an example, on an average it takes 6 seconds for an operator to enter 12 characters of data, where as scanning a 12 character barcode takes only 300 milliseconds. The error rate for typing is one substitution error in every 300 characters types. In contrast barcodes have error rates less than one in every one million barcodes scanned. A data entry error will translate into additional costs for a business that ranges from the cost of re-keying the data to shipping the wrong product to the wrong customer.

  4. How much information can a barcode encode?
    There are many different types of barcode formats (known as barcode symbologies) and each has it's own limitations. Fixed length barcodes such as EAN-13 allow only 13 characters to be encoded, while Code 39 and Code 128 are variable length barcodes and are typically limited only by the size available for barcode placement. Generally, the more data that is encoded, the longer the resultant barcode will be. Barcode scanners also have scan range size limitations that may limit the maximum size of a barcode in a particular application. In practice, most popular variable length 1D barcodes can encode up 64 characters, while 2D barcodes can encode up to 1600 characters or more.

  5. How accurate are barcodes?
    Barcodes are extremely accurate. While a competent data-entry operator may introduce an error every 300 keystrokes, barcodes have error rates less than one in every one million barcodes scanned. Several barcode symbologies also have built-in error correction, reducing the error rate even further.

  6. How many barcode symbologies are available?
    More than 300 barcode symbologies have been developed. Different symbologies encode data using different algorithms and their characteristics, such as minimum and maximum data length and size restrictions, vary. Different symbologies have different advantages and disadvantages and are often designed with a particular application in mind. However there are a just handful of popular barcode symbologies that are used for the vast majority of barcode applications.

  7. What is the difference between the different barcode symbologies?
    Different symbologies are used for different purposes. Below is a short list of popular symbologies and their intended use:

    Code 128: A variable length barcode used to encode alphanumeric data. Used for many general purposes such as marking DVD's, tagging ID cards, and much more.

    EAN.UCC-128: A variable length barcode used to encode alphanumeric data. The worldwide standard developed for exchanging data between different companies, UCC.EAN-128 not only encodes data, but also defines a set of Application Identifiers (AIs), that define the type of data encoded and the encoding format. UCC.EAN-128 encodes the data using the Code 128 symbology algorithms.

    Code 39: A variable length barcode used to encode alphanumeric data. Used widely for many years, Code 39 is the most popular general purpose barcode in the world, although it is losing ground to newer formats such as Code 128.

    UPC-A: A 12 digit fixed length barcode used to encode numeric data. Used in US retail shops to uniquely identify products. Unique UPC-A barcodes are issued by the UC-Council. If you are looking to sell your item in US retail stores, you will most likely need to include a UPC-A barcode on your product.

    UPC-E: A six digit fixed length barcode used to encode numeric data. UPC-E is a shortened version of the UPC-A barcode used to uniquely identify small retail items that are too small to include a full UPC-A barcode.

    EAN-13 (JAN-13): A 13 digit fixed length barcode used to encode numeric data. Used in retail shops outside the US to uniquely identify products. Unique EAN-13 barcodes are issued by the EAN and are a superset of UPC-A, pre-pending a country code to the UPC-A barcode.

    EAN-8 (JAN-8): An eight digit fixed length barcode used to encode numeric data. EAN-8 is a shortened version of the EAN-13 barcode used to uniquely identify small retail items that are too small to include a full EAN-13 barcode.

    Standard 2 of 5: A variable length barcode used to encode numeric data. Standard 2 of 5 has been in use since the 1960's and is used for marking airline tickets, photo-finishing, and more. Also known as Industrial 2 of 5.

    Interleaved 2 of 5: A variable length barcode used to encode numeric data. Interleaved 2 of 5 is a updated version of Standard 2 of 5 and has replaced it in most applications. Popular in the warehouse and distribution industry.

    MSI Plessy: A variable length barcode used to encode numeric data. MSI Plessy is typically used for inventory control in retail stores.

    Codabar: A variable length barcode used to encode numeric data. Primarily used by libraries, blood banks, and FedEx.

    PostNet: A fixed length barcode used to encode numeric data. Used by the US Postal Service for mail sorting. Encodes either a 5 digit zip code, a 9 digit zip code, or an 11 digit delivery code.

    DataMatrix: A variable length 2D barcode used to encode alphanumeric data. DataMatrix can encode much more data than a standard 1D barcode in a very small space and has built-in error detection and correction. Used widely to mark electronic parts, on shipping labels, in pharmacies, and on ID cards.

    PDF417: A variable length 2D barcode used to encode alphanumeric data. PDF417 is similar to DataMatrix, sharing the benefits of being a 2D barcode, but typically requiring a slightly larger space. Typical applications include shipping labels, part marking, and ID cards.

  8. Which barcode symbology should I use?
    When trying to select a barcode symbology, first try to find out if your industry or application requires a particular symbology. For example, publishers are typically required to mark their books using ISBN barcodes while periodicals typically use ISSN barcodes. If you are marking your product for retail stores, UPC-A is the symbology used to identify products in the US, while EAN-13 is used in Europe and many other parts of the world. Japan uses JAN-13 which is a essentially an EAN-13 barcode.

    If you intend to use barcodes for an in-house or general purpose, and therefore don't have restrictions from outside organizations, look for a barcode symbology that matches your needs. For example, if you are encoding a combination of text and numbers, select a barcode that has the ability to encode alpha-numeric data. Code 128 and Code 39 are good choices for general barcoding needs.

    If you need to encode a large amount of data such as name and address information for an ID card, a 2D barcode such as DataMatrix or PDF417 is probably the best choice. 2D barcodes are much more powerful than 1D barcodes but the cost of 2D scanners is somewhat higher than 1D scanners.

  9. What is an ISBN barcode?
    The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) barcode is a 10 digit numerical identifier for books, pamphlets, educational kits, microforms, CDROMs and braille publications. An ISBN identifier uniquely identifies a published work. An ISBN barcode is an EAN-13 barcode with the first three digits set to '978'.

  10. What kind of barcode do I need to sell my product in a retail store?
    If you are selling in US retail stores, then a UPC-A or UPC-E barcode is required. If you are selling in other countries, then a EAN-13 or EAN-8 barcode is typically required.

    Because of change in law effective Jan 01, 2005, now companies importing to USA need not use UPC-A symbology, they can use EAN-13 instead. The Uniform Code Council requires all retail scanning systems in the USA to accept the EAN-13 symbol as well as the standard UPC-A. This requirement eliminates the need for manufacturers who export goods to the US and Canada to double-label their products.

  11. How do I get a barcode number for my product?
    To obtain a unique barcode number for your product, you must register with the appropriate issuing group. For UPC numbers you must register with the UC-Council (http://www.uc-council.org). For EAN numbers, you must register with EAN (http://www.ean-int.org).

  12. What is a UPC barcode?
    A Universal Product Code (UPC) barcode is a unique 12 digit code that identifies a product. The code has three parts: a Company Prefix, an Item Reference Number, and a Check Digit. The Electronic Commerce Council of Canada is responsible for the accurate assignment and annual license of Company Prefixes. The Company Prefix is for the exclusive use of the company to whom it is assigned. The Item Reference Number is assigned and managed by the Company Prefix holder to uniquely identify each product or service. A single digit Check Digit is used by the barcode scanner to verify that the complete number was correctly decoded.

  13. What is the Uniform Code Council (UCC)?
    The Uniform Code Council (UCC) is the central authority authorized to provide unique company identification numbers to companies and organizations in the US. To learn more about the UCC, visit http://www.uc-council.org.

  14. Do I need to apply for a UPC number?
    If you have one or more products that you would like to sell in retail stores in the US, you are required to include a UPC barcode on your package. To obtain a UPC barcode, you must apply to the UCC (http://www.uc-council.org).

  15. What is a 2D barcode?
    A two-dimensional barcode stores data along both the width and height of the symbol and typically appears as barcodes stacked one on top of another. There are more than twenty 2D barcode symbologies but the two most popular are PDF417 and DataMatrix. 2D barcodes utilize advanced algorithms to encode a large amount of data in a small amount of space and include robust error detection and correction facilities so that damaged 2D barcodes can often be scanned successfully.

  16. What is the difference between a 1D barcode and a 2D barcode?
    A 1D barcode only encodes data along the width of the barcode, while 2D barcodes encode data along both the width and height. 2D barcodes are therefore much denser than 1D barcodes and encode much more data in the same space. 2D barcodes are also much better at detecting and correcting errors in damaged barcodes.

  17. Should I use a 1D or 2D barcode?
    While 2D barcodes are much more powerful than 1D barcodes, able to encode more data in the same space, your application may not require the added functionality that 2D barcodes provide. 1D barcodes are often a cheaper alternative to 2D barcodes. 1D barcodes are easier to print as they are less dense than 2D barcodes, and 1D barcode scanners are typically less expensive than 2D barcode scanners.

  18. Who governs the use of barcode?
    If you need more information about organization that govern the use of barcode please visit the following links:

    The Uniform Code Council assigns UPC numbers to manufacturers and publishes standards for UPC barcodes.

    EAN International assigns EAN numbers to manufacturers (European version of the Uniform Code Council).

    Automatic Identification Manufacturers Association publishes barcode symbology standards.

    Automotive Industry Action Group publishes standards for the use of barcodes in the automotive industry.

    ISBN assigns unique identification to a title or edition of a book.

    ISSN assigns numbering system for serial publications.

  19. What is RFID?
    Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a technology that uses radio waves as means of identification. The most common way to use RFID is to store a serial number that identifies a person or an object, and perhaps a few other pieces of information, on a microchip that is attached to an antenna. The chip and the antenna together are called an RFID transponder or an RFID tag. The antenna enables the chip to transmit the identification information to a reader that converts the radio waves reflected back from the RFID tag into digital information. This information can then be passed on to computers that can make use of it.

  20. Will RFID make barcodes obsolete?
    The answer is, “No.” Two biggest disadvantages of using RFID are cost and privacy. Economies of scale have still not been achieved in RFID manufacturing, making it cost ineffective for manufacturers to use RFID. Some of the applications, such as point-of-sales, will have to wait until the RFID tags become cheap enough to stick on something as basic as a pack of chewing gum. Another big concern is of privacy. A RFID implanted in running shoes could be used as a tracking device. Also imagine that the technology could allow someone to drive by your house and hold out a scanner that could read all the labels inside, revealing what kind of beverages you have in the refrigerator and where you buy your clothes from.

  21. What is GTIN?
    GTIN is the EAN-UCC Global Trade Item Numbering system. GTIN numbers are 14 digits long. GTIN can be constructed using four numbering structures, depending upon the exact application and the bar code symbology to be used. Numbering Structures that can be found in the 14-digit Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) are:
    • UCC-12 used predominately in North America, prefixed with two leading zeros.
    • EAN/UCC-13 used predominately in Europe/Asia, prefixed with one leading zero.
    • EAN/UCC-14 previously known as a SCC-14, used in logistics application.
    • EAN/UCC-8 used predominately in Europe/Asia, prefixed with six leading zeros.

    The numbering structure is composed of leading zeros to complete 14 digits, followed by a country and company prefix (or manufacturer code), followed by an item number (this number is allocated by the user company/manufacturer), and a check digit.

  22. What is a check digit and how is it used?
    A check digit is a character included within a symbol whose value is used for performing a mathematical check to ensure the accuracy of the code.

  23. What is the most popular barcode symbology?
    Although there are more than 300 barcode symbologies, the most popular amongst them are UPC-A (Uniform Product Code) and Code 3 of 9 (Code 39). UPC-A/UPC-E is used on just about all products sold in retail store in the USA, while Code 39 is used in automatic identification applications. Code 39 can encode both number and letters, can print any length of barcode, and can be read by virtually all barcode scanners. It is widely used in government and manufacturing operations.

  24. What are the most popular applications of barcodes?
    Barcodes are primarily used for entering data into a system, efficiently and reliably, thereby improving the productivity. The following are some of the business areas where barcodes are commonly used:

    Point of Sale
    Retail outlets are one of the most common segments where barcodes are used to keep track of goods sold.

    Inventory Control
    Barcodes are extensively used in warehouses, shop floors, for tracking inventory. Portable scanners are used to track shipping and receiving and quickly take physical inventory. The collected data from portable scanners is then either uploaded to a central computer system at regular intervals or the inventory is updated in real-time, depending on the system you choose, allowing companies the opportunities to reduce stock levels and thereby reduce carrying costs. Improved efficiencies will lead to lower operating costs.

    Shipping
    Barcodes are used worldwide by the shipping industry. From marking letters, small packages, to large containers, barcodes are used to encode sender, recipient, carrier and various other information.

    Identification
    Employee ID cards printed with barcodes are used by various organizations around the world.

    Time and Attendance
    Barcodes are often used by time and attendance system. It uses barcode encoded employee identification badges that are scanned when employees start and stop work. This allows automatic tracking for payroll and eliminates paper time sheets and time clocks.

    Packaging
    Barcode labels are commonly used on packaging labels to identify part numbers, serial numbers, and shipping information. Labeling can be used to automatically sort packages for shipment, automate receiving, and enhance package tracking.

    Data Collection
    Medical and dental practices rely on complex patient forms. Using barcodes, detailed information is now quickly entered in the computer, making it an easy task of gathering large amounts of information for a client. Reduced data collection costs and better service are the results.

For a list of supported barcode symbologies click here.

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