So in this series so far we’ve learnt a little bit (I hope!) about barcode types, what’s used to scan a barcode, some tips on scanning efficiently but that’s only half the story when it comes to creating a barcode solution.  So, today we turn to the actual “making” of the barcode and what you need to think about when creating the barcodes for your business.

Barcodes can get seriously complex but this is a layperson blog for laypeople so i’m going to break it down into the simple elements from which I hope you can find your way.  If you really do have a business critical application then go and get some help because it will pay off in the end.

When generating barcodes you can break it up into 3 basic areas and these are the ones we’ll be talking about today:

1. Designing your barcode

We’ve touched on this a little bit already as selecting the right type of barcode is important but this is all about making sure you design the barcode to the right tolerances. Many get away with it but simply printing out a barcode and then tweaking the size without any thought on what you’re doing can turn your barcodes into the most frustrating things to scan.

A Barcode has a lot of variables to it

A Barcode has a lot of variables to it

So you can see there are all kinds of things that you need to consider with the spacing, heights and widths of the various parts of a barcode but the easy way to handle this is to use some software to help you.  There are many different software packages out there that will be able to help you print out your barcodes correctly and I would highly recommend using one that suits what you need.

2. Select the label

I’m going to go into this in more depth in the next article but will just touch on this here as it’s a another common mistake that a lot of barcode newbies make.  I see countless people do all the hard work in generating good solid barcodes only to see them fail miserably in the field due to the incorrect label type being used.  Make sure you take some advice and select a label that’s suitable for the scenario it will be used in.  It’s not just about the ruggedness of the label, but also what it will be stuck to, the lighting and how permanent you want it too.

3. Printing your barcode

I think this is also a common mistake many people make but again many get away with it but if you need to consistently create and print barcodes out then buy a dedicated barcode label printer.  Laser printers are “OK” especially newer ones but dedicated barcode printers come in all shapes and sizes at all different price levels and they’ll all print out a far superior barcode than any laser printer can.

Thermal printers will print a permanent barcode, that’s crisp, doesn’t smudge and has the right contrast to it.  It’ll also print to many different types of label that you can buy in rolls.  Barcode printers have many other features that make printing much easier for you, especially when working in conjunction with a software package.  Black dots on the labels will auto-align the lables for the next print so you don’t have to keep everything lined up.  They also print in rolls so waste is reduced to the minimum and barcode label printers also have a whole host of accessories and ways they can present a label to you depending on what you’re doing.

A Barcode printed by Dot matrix (left),  laser (middle), Thermal (right)

A Barcode printed by Dot matrix (left), laser (middle), Thermal (right)

Don’t forget that mobile barcode printers can be carried by people in the field or on site allowing for true “in the moment” barcode label printing applications.

So there we have it, food for thought and you should have enough to be on your way with there.  Remember if your application is important or complex in any way then go and find a Rugged Data Capture provider as they will often help as part of any hardware or software sold.

Next up we’ll take a closer look at barcode labels.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

Related Posts