Barcodes FAQ

What is a barcode?Link
ActiveBarcode is all about barcodes. What exactly is a barcode?
A barcode is a machine-readable code that is used to encode and store information. Barcodes are typically made up of a series of lines, dots, or other symbols that represent numbers or letters.

The information encoded in a barcode can be read by a scanner or other specialized device, which converts the code into a digital form that can be processed and analyzed by a computer or other system.

Barcodes are commonly used in various industries, such as retail, logistics, healthcare, and manufacturing, to track and identify products, shipments, patients, and other items.
How does a barcode work?Link
Can you explain the process by which a barcode functions and translates information?
A barcode is a machine-readable representation of data that is typically used to encode information such as numbers, text, or a combination of both. Barcodes are often used in retail settings to encode product information, such as the product's name, price, and manufacturer. They are also used in other applications, such as libraries, hospitals, and warehouses, to encode and track information about items or products.

Barcodes are typically made up of a series of parallel lines of varying widths and spacing. These lines represent the encoded data, and the width and spacing of the lines are used to represent different numbers or characters. A barcode scanner or reader is used to interpret the encoded data by shining a light on the barcode and measuring the reflected light. The changes in the reflected light are then used to decode the data encoded in the barcode. This process allows the barcode to be quickly and easily read and interpreted by machines, which can then use the encoded data for a variety of purposes.
What kind of data can be encoded in a barcode?Link
What types of information can be represented in a barcode?
Barcodes are used to encode data such as numbers, text, or a combination of both. The specific type of data that is encoded into a barcode depends on the application and the format of the barcode. For example, a Universal Product Code (UPC) barcode, which is commonly used in retail settings, encodes a 12-digit number that identifies the product and its manufacturer. Other barcode formats, such as Code 128, can encode alphanumeric characters and special characters.

Barcodes can also be used to encode data such as dates, times, or other information that is relevant to the application in which they are used.
What are barcodes being used for?Link
The common uses for barcodes.
Barcodes are being used for a wide range of applications, including retail, logistics, healthcare, and manufacturing. In retail settings, barcodes are used to track and identify products, manage inventory, and process transactions. In logistics, barcodes are used to track and trace the movement of goods and shipments. In healthcare, barcodes are used to identify and track patients, medications, and medical equipment. In manufacturing, barcodes are used to identify and trace components and materials, as well as to track and monitor the production process.

Overall, barcodes are widely used as a reliable and efficient way to encode and read information.
Will barcodes become obsolete in the future?Link
How save is my investment into barcodes? Is it possible that barcodes will become obsolete in the future?
It is unlikely that barcodes will become obsolete in the future, as they continue to serve a valuable purpose in tracking and identifying products.

While newer technologies, such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) and near-field communication (NFC), have been developed for similar purposes, barcodes remain a widely used and efficient way to encode and read information. Additionally, barcodes are relatively low-cost and easy to implement, which makes them a popular choice for many applications.

While the use of barcodes may evolve and change over time, it is unlikely that they will become completely obsolete.
What is the average price for a barcode generator software?Link
The price of a barcode generator software can vary depending on the features, capabilities, versaltitly, support and licensing options of the software. In general, the average price for a barcode generator software is between $100 and $300 for a single license, with some lower-priced options available for around $50.

It is important to compare the features and pricing of different barcode generator software to find the best option for your needs and budget. We are confident that our prices are great value for the quality of our products. Evaluate ActiveBarcode and decide for yourself. We also offer volume discounts and subscription-based pricing, which can provide more flexibility and cost savings.
ActiveBarcode offers many advantages over using barcode fonts.Link
I am searching for a true type font to display barcodes.
We don't offer barcode true type fonts. Barcode fonts are only an older niche solution with very restricted use and it can only be applied for very few primitive barcode types.
  • ActiveBarcode offers a modern, universal solution for a much wider range of 1D and even 2D barcode types that can't be covered with barcode fonts.
  • Activebarcode will calculate and add check digits automatically which is not done when using a barcode font.
  • Activebarcode will make sure the barcode is always created in the best possible way regarding size and error correction modes.
  • ActiveBarcode allows to easily automate barcodes in workflows.
  • ActiveBarcode allows to easily create barcodes that are bound to a database, external data or excel cells.
In conclusion ActiveBarcode offers many more features, more safety and a much wide range of barcode types than barcode fonts.
Change the human readable text lineLink
How can I change the format of the text line of the barcode?
If you want another text line format for a barcode you can use the ShowText property to deactive the text line of the barcode by setting it to false. Then you can create your own text line manually in the desired format.
How can I test if a barcode is valid?Link
I want to be sure a generated barcode is correct. What can I do to check the barcode?
There are a few different ways to test if a barcode is valid. One way is to use a barcode reader or scanner to scan the barcode and see if it can be read and decoded properly. If the barcode is valid, the barcode reader should be able to read and interpret the data encoded in the barcode. Another way to test if a barcode is valid is to check the format and structure of the barcode. Most barcode formats have a specific structure and number of digits, and the barcode should conform to this structure to be considered valid. Additionally, the data encoded in the barcode should be checked to ensure that it is valid and matches the format of the barcode. For example, if the barcode is a UPC barcode, the encoded data should be a 12-digit number. If any of these checks fail, the barcode may be considered invalid.

ActiveBarcode does an internal test while generating barcodes. If a text does not match the format of the barcode or if the barcode isn't large enough to safely encode all the data, a corresponging error is given instead of a barcode. This behavior allows to decects problems early and fix them instead of creating incorrect barcodes.
What does it mean when the barcode is displaying "Size Error"?
This error says that the barcode cannot be displayed at this resolution. Enlarge the barcode size to have more space to encode the text as a barcode. If you have a large amount of text or data to encode, choose a 2D barcode type like QR Code as the barcode type.
What does it mean when the barcode is displaying "Text Error"?
The "Text Error" message says that the value which you would like to encode as a barcode is not valid for the selected barcode symbology.

An example: When you try to encode letters in a numeric barcode such as EAN-13 the "Text Error" will be shown.

Solution: Select a suitable barcode type (e.g. Code 128) that allows letters or change the text to make it valid for the selected barcode type. If you wish to create a valid EAN-13 then the number of digits has to be right and if you enter the check digit, it must be correct, too.
How do you read a barcode?Link
Barcodes are typically read using a barcode reader or scanner.
A barcode reader is a device that uses a light source and a sensor to read and interpret the encoded data in a barcode. To read a barcode, the barcode reader is positioned so that the light from the reader shines on the barcode. The reflected light is then measured by the sensor, and the changes in the reflected light are used to decode the data encoded in the barcode.

Barcode readers can be handheld devices that are used by operators, or they can be fixed in a specific location, such as at a checkout counter in a store. Some barcode readers can also be connected to a computer or other device, allowing the encoded data to be transferred and used for various purposes. Additionally, many smartphones and other devices now have built-in barcode scanners that can be used to read and interpret barcodes.
How do you scan a barcode with a smartphone?Link
Many smartphones now have built-in barcode scanners that can be used to read and interpret barcodes.
To scan a barcode with a smartphone, follow these steps:
1. Open the camera app on your smartphone.
2. Position the camera so that the barcode is within the frame.
3. Hold the camera steady and make sure the barcode is in focus.
4. The barcode scanner should automatically recognize and interpret the barcode.

If your smartphone does not have a built-in barcode scanner, you can download a barcode scanning app from your device's app store. Once the app is installed, you can use it to scan barcodes in the same way as described above. Some barcode scanning apps may have additional features or settings, so be sure to refer to the app's documentation for specific instructions.
Barcodes as image filesLink
Can I use the images files that I have created with the ActiveBarcode Generator on MacOs or Linux?
Yes, you can save the barcodes as image files with the ActiveBarcode Generator and use them on any OS. This works for all standard image formats, like Windows Bitmap (BMP), JPEG, PNG, TIFF, Targa, GIF, WMF, EMF, PBM, PGM, PPM, WBMP and XPM. You can use these barcode image files on other systems (e.g., MacOS, Linux, iOS, Android).
Print barcodesLink
How can I print barcodes?
If you have simple printing tasks to do, ActiveBarcode Generator offers you the fastest and easiest solution to print barcodes. In the How to section we have several step by step instructions to show how to print one or many barcodes to labels with optional data import.

For complex design needs you can use Word and simply position the barcode in a document where you want to printed it.
To show how to insert barcodes into spreadsheets we have step by step instructions for Excel and Google Sheets.
With Access you can place the barcode into Forms and Reports.

For developers:
There is the Picture property that allows you to treat and print barcodes as you know from the Image object.

Visual Basic and Visual Studio developers may use the following code:
Printer.PaintPicture Barcode.Picture, 0, 0
Alternatively, you can use Visual Basic to simply place the barcode object on a "from" and print the barcode to paper with this instruction:
Rotate barcodesLink
How can I display a barcode vertically?
See the Rotate property for more information.
Barcode resizingLink
When I resize a barcode, the barcode doesn't automatically resize for each small change in size. Why does it sometimes take a large change in width for the barcode to change and why is it not possible to change the size of the barcode in very small increments?
The barcode object itself can be made to any size. But the barcode it contains must remain machine-readable. Therefore, some rules must be satisfied that describe exactly what width the bars and spaces may have. Because of this, you can change the height of the barcode object to whatever you want, because it doesn't affect the bars and spaces. Not so with the width: here ActiveBarcode always uses the largest possible representation of the barcode that meets the required rules. You can therefore observe that sometimes a small change in the object width does not affect the display of the barcode and the barcode is only changed by increasing the width again.
Create barcode with exact size in mm or inch.Link
How do I convert mm or inches into pixels (px or PPI) so that a barcode corresponds to an exact size in millimeters or inches?
If not explicitly stated otherwise, the size specifications for ActiveBarcode are given in pixels. The desired millimeters or inches must be converted to pixels (px) taking into account the resolution used (dpi/ppi). ActiveBarcode usually does this automatically and you can specify the desired size of a barcode in millimeters or inches. In cases where you need to work with pixels, you can use an online converter: mm -> px or inch -> px.
Patterns in the black barsLink
When printed out, the black bars of the barcode are not continuously black but have a pattern. Why?
These patterns occur when you use a printer that cannot reproduce colors and a foreground color other than black is used for the barcode. Change the color of the barcode to black and white using the ForeColor and BackColor properties.