Barcoding 101 Introduction

Barcodes have infiltrated every facet of our lives; you’ll find them in grocery stores, hospitals, department stores, jails, on farms, even in your own home. They’ve become an accepted part of our everyday lives, but what exactly are they and what do they represent?

How Do Barcodes Work?

Don’t be intimidated by barcodes. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand them; they are just a different way of encoding numbers and letters by using a combination of bars and spaces of varying widths. Think of them as another way of writing since they replace key-data entry as a method of gathering data. In business, the correct use of barcodes can reduce inefficiencies and improve a company’s productivity thereby growing their bottom line.

How Barcodes are Read

barcodes are read by sweeping a small spot of light across the printed barcode symbol. Your eyes only see a thin red line emitted from the laser scanner. But what’s happening is that the scanner’s light source is being absorbed by the dark bars and reflected by the light spaces. A device in the scanner takes the reflected light and converts it into an electrical signal.

Types of Barcode Symbologies

Barcodes come in many flavors. Most of us are familiar with the ones seen in grocery or retail stores, but there are many others that are used as standards in various industries. Healthcare, manufacturing, retail, etc. all have symbologies unique to their industry and aren’t interchangeable. Why are there so many different types of barcodes? Simply because different symbologies evolved to solve specific problems. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the most common symbologies*, and how, where, and why they’re used.

How do Scanners Work

A basic barcode scanner consists of a scanner, a decoder, and a cable that interfaces between the decoder to the computer or terminal.

Things to Know Before Investing in a Barcoding System

With all the choices available, it’s critically important to understand your environment and application thoroughly before making any decisions. Answer these few questions to help determine which scanner is best for you. More…
What Questions Should I Ask Before Buying

There are several questions you should ask before buying a barcode system.

Put Barcoding to Work Anywhere

Just about any business can benefit from barcode data capture technology. Whether you make it, move it, market it, or do them all, we have much to offer. Here are just a few examples of how a data management system can improve your productivity and profitability.