So far in our Barcode scanner guide we’ve taken a look at the types of barcode you can use and how to choose the hardware to scan them but today we’re focussing on the best way to actually scan a barcode with a few gotchas to be aware of.

Watch your distance

Barcode scanners tend to have a most efficient focal distance so make sure you don’t try to scan them up too close or too far away.

Rogue barcodes

If you’re scanning an item that has lots of barcodes on it, then just be careful you’re actually scanning the right one.  This is especially the case with 2D barcode imagers where the aim, might just not be exactly where it is picking the barcode up from.

Switch off barcode types

Most barcode scanners can enable or disable the barcode symbologies they will look for.  If you;re only using 1 barcode type then swicth the rest off. This will not only improve the speed your scanner works, but it will also mean you won;t scan “rogue” barcodes too if they’re a different type.

Print the barcode contents

When printing your 1D barcodes, you can print the contents of the barcode underneath.  if the barcode gets damaged or won’t scan then the user can then input the barcode manually.

Use the right barcode label type

Barcode labels can be rugged too!  There are literally hundreds of different label media types to choose from and spending some time up front choosing the right one for your application will save you lots of time, money and frustration in the medium to long term.

Print barcodes using a proper thermal barcode printer

Laser printers are “OK” but they will not produce the crisp barcode label that ensures the most efficient scanning. Although you might not notice, over time this can add up.

Use numbers only

Using numbers only in your barcodes will mean users can input them much easier with a numeric keypad if they don’t read.

Long range scanning

You can’t just blow up a barcode label and scan it from distance with a standard barcode scanner.  You usually need a long range scanner that’s not only focassed on a longer optical length but also copes with the loss of light and signal over the longer distance it is reading barcodes over.

Configure your barcode scanner

Lots of customers don’t realise that you can configure an awful lot of options on most barcode scanners.  By spending time on configuring your scanner exactly, you’ll make huge leaps in the efficiency of your app.  For example we knew of a customer who had been manually pressing enter on their PDA after each barcode scan when all they had to do was “Postfix” the enter symbol at the end of each scan so the device automatically hit enter and was ready for the next read.  They’d been wasting time for years!!

Light conditions

Barcode scanners effectively use light of some nature to work so pay attention to the environment they are working in. It can get too light or too dark for efficient barcode scanning and certain lighting can also play havoc with efficiency too.  If you’ve tried everything else then have a look at the scenario you;re scanning in.

Hopefully that will help a few of you! Next up we’ll be turning our attention to printing barcode labels, be sure to check back soon.

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.

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