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UPC EAN Bar Codes
   

Frequently Asked Questions

UPC EAN Bar Codes
Question Answer

Do I need a barcode?

UPC or EAN barcodes are required by most retailers the world over in order to sell consumer products. There is no law requiring the use of barcodes.

What kind of barcode do I need for my consumer product?

US and Canada use UPC-A. Europe uses EAN. For special interest products such as books and periodicals, see Books and Periodicals below.

What does UPC stand for?

UPC stands for Universal Product Code originally standardized by the Uniform Code Council now known as GS-1. Internationally, the standard symbology is EAN-13 (European Article Number). Both standards are controlled internationally by GS-1.

What will this cost?

Barcodes are available directly from GS-1. Their fees start at approximately $750 (additional fees, requirements and restrictions apply). Barcodes are available elsewhere such as from Barcodes-now. Their fees are under $10 and qty discounts are available. .

Are there any other fees?

GS-1 has annual renewal fees. There are no additional fees from Barcodes-Now for the sale of UPC or EAN barcodes.

What is your Return Policy?

We offer a 10 day No Questions Asked Return Policy for barcode purchases up to 20 units. All sales are final on barcode sales greater than 20 units. Partial returns are accepted. Partial returns will be credited assuming the unit price of the retained sale. For example, if 20 barcodes are purchased and 10 are returned, the return will be calculated at the 10 unit price. No Returns are accepted on custom produced products, such as printed labels; all sales are final.

I want to order a UPC barcode. How do I make sure I'm not ordering an EAN?

The GTIN numbers numbers provided by GS-1 or Barcodes-Now can be used to create either a UPC or EAN symbol. When you create the barcode image on our web site, you specify if you want a UPC or EAN symbol. UPC uses (encodes) a 12 digit number, EAN uses a 13 digit number, but both are created from the same GTIN number.

What's the difference between a UPC and EAN format

The difference is not the number but the symbology used. When you create the barcode image on our web site, you specify if you want a UPC or EAN symbol. UPC uses (encodes) a 12 digit number, EAN uses a 13 digit number, but both are created from the same GTIN numbers. UPC assumes a country code of "0" which is not shown on the human readable portion of the barcode, but is shown on the EAN barcode. If you're working with a printer, commercial artist, graphic designer or broker/agent they will know which symbol you will need and can also help you. This image illustrates the difference between UPC and EAN formates. Notice that the barcodes are the same.

UPC EAN ComparisonUPC EAN Comparison

How do barcodes work?

"Barcodes in One Lesson" developed by InOneLesson is the best explanation of how barcodes work, that we've seen. This will take you to YouTube.



Are there other types of barcodes.

Yes there are a wide variety of different barcodes symbologies. GS-1 and Barcodes-Now handles UPC and EAN codes. We assembled the table below to help our customers understand the many types of barcodes and their uses.

Image

Barcode

Type

Character Set

Length

Checksum

Comments

QR Codes
Aztec Code 2-D Full ASCII; FNC1 and ESI control codes Variable. Min 12 / Max 3832 Required Includes error correction; minimum is 15x15 square, largest is 151x151
UPC EAN Bar Codes
Codabar Linear Numbers: 0-9; Symbols: - : . $ / +; Start/Stop Characters: A, B, C, D, E, *, N, or T Variable
Older code; often used in libraries and blood banks.

Code 128 Linear All ASCII characters and control codes Variable Required Widely used for various applications.
Maxi Codes
Code 39 Linear Uppercase letters A-Z; Numbers 0-9; Space - . $ / + % Variable Optional Widely used for various applications.

DataMatrix 2-D All ASCII characters Variable Required Includes error correction, up to 2335 ASCII characters
PDF 417 EAN-13 Linear Numbers Only 13 Required EAN (European Article Numbering). Retail product for Europe and world-wide
Codabar, Databar Expanded Maxicode 2-D All ASCII characters 93 Required Developed by the United Parcel Service for encoding destination information. Includes error correction.
Data Matrix
MSI Plessey Linear Numbers Only Variable Required Grocery store shelf tags

PDF-417 2-D All ASCII characters Variable Required Includes error correction, up to about 1850 ASCII or 2725 numeric characters
Data Matrix
QR Code 2-D All ASCII Characters Variable Required Includes error correction, up to about 1520 ASCII or 2509 numeric characters
GS1 Barcode
UPC-A Linear Numbers Only 12 Required Retail product for USA and Canada
GS1 Barcode
PLANET Linear Numbers Only Variable Optional US mail delivery.
GS1 Barcode
Code 16K 2-D All ASCII characters Variable Required Based on code 128


Books and Periodicals

"ISBN" stands for "International Standard Book Number". An ISBN is a number, not a bar code. One agency per country is designated to assign ISBNs for the publishers and self-publishers located in that country. Go to: http://www.isbn.org

The ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) is an eight digit number which identifies periodical publications as such, including electronic serials. Go to: http://www.issn.org


Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.
Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.
 
 
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