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How to Read a Barcode: Barcode Reading Made Simple

By Sambit Nov 20, 2020 #how to read a barcode
how to read a barcode

Every time we make a purchase at a store, we interact with a barcode. In all areas of our lives today, barcodes are used for identification in almost all fields of business. But how much do we really know about reading a barcode?

Can a barcode reader read any barcode? How are the types of barcodes different from one another?

This is your guide on how to read a barcode.

What Does A Barcode Reader Do?

Barcodes keep track of the item that is being sold and tells the store how many of a specific item is left so they can know whether to restock an item or not. It also lets the buyer know that the cashier has marked their item for purchase.

A scanner can read the symbols the barcode is made from and can convert them into useful information. The type of information that can be determined from the barcode can include the item’s origin, price, type, and location.

Can You Read A Barcode Without A Scanner?

You can absolutely read a barcode without a scanner, although it can slow down your efficiency when in the middle of a purchase. Here is some information on how to manually read a barcode.

  1. Check the Universal Product Code (UPC)

A UPC consists of ten numbers in the middle and two numbers at both ends. The last number on the right end is the check digit, which is used to check for any errors.

2. Spot the 101 code present in the beginning of the barcode (fine line black – fine line white – fine line black)

Notice that both the black and white lines present in the code are important. The same goes for the thickness of each line.

3. Spot the 01010 lines that will be present in the middle of the barcode (fine line white – fine line black – fine line white – fine line black)

4. Find the code for each number

Each of the middle numbers corresponds to a certain code that can be read. The numbers they correspond to are

  • 0 = 3211
  • 1 = 2221
  • 2 = 2122
  • 3 = 1411
  • 4 = 1132
  • 5 = 1231
  • 6 = 1114
  • 7 = 1312
  • 8 = 1213
  • 9 = 3112

If you do not have a scanner available within your store, you can also look up the UPC numbers on your computer.

Nowadays, smartphones can read QR codes using only the phone’s camera and it will redirect the user to the content the code was created for.

Types of Barcodes

Some of the various types of barcodes that can be scanned include:

  • UPC — for retail stores
  • Code 39 — identifying and tracking shipments
  • ISBN — for books
  • QR code — for advertising since it provides a way to access a brand’s website quickly
  • Postnet — used by mailing services for encoding a zip code
  • PDF417 — encoding large amounts of text and data; also used to print postage or scan passengers with their boarding pass

and many more.

Another kind of code that can be scanned is a C# code. One way to scan C# codes is with a C# barcode reader.

Learn How To Read A Barcode

Barcodes are part of everyday life and are an essential item to know about when trying to track an item in your inventory. There are many different kinds of barcodes, but there are ways to make reading them simple. The next time you need to figure out how to read a barcode, use this article to help you out.

For all the latest news and tips regarding technology, check out our other articles and stick around for any new updates.

By Sambit

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