Monday, November 15, 2010

Getting Started With UPC Barcodes

by Nate Schubert

Providing products for sale in retail locations locally or globally requires that those products be registered under a Universal Product Code, or UPC for short. For the purpose of Retail Point-of-Sale systems and a speedier, more efficient checkout process, this UPC code can be represented as a barcode on your product which is then be scanned by any UPC barcode scanner to quickly identify the product and price. If you've got a product and you're ready to create a UPC barcode for it, be aware that it's more than just finding a UPC barcode generator, installing it and creating UPC codes. The guide below will briefly outline the steps required to begin selling your products in retail locations and even websites like Amazon.

Register a UPC Code
Many people skip right past this step and focus on how to generate the barcode for the UPC, but if you don't first register your UPC, you won't have a UPC number to encode in that barcode to begin with. You can register your code with The GS1 US Partner Connections Program, and that code will be unique to your company. Remember, you need to register one UPC code for each product you want to sell.

While registering a UPC code directly through GS1 is preferred, it can sometimes be more affordable to search online for "register UPC code" and clicking on one of the many sponsored links. These companies are able to offer registration before less, mainly because they purchased large quantities of codes before the prices increased some years back.

Finding The Right UPC Barcode Generator
Alright, you have registered the UPC codes you need, which means they can be identified in retail outlets around the world. Now, it's time to think about purchasing a UPC barcode generator so that you can encode that UPC number inside a barcode which can be read by UPC barcode scanners. There are a lot of barcode generation products out there, so it's important to find out which will best suit your needs.
  • Existing Application: Using UPC fonts in conjunction with IDAutomation free font tools allows you to create UPC barcodes in existing applications like Crystal Reports, Access, Microsoft Excel, Word and more. Generally, fonts can be used to generate barcodes in any application that allows you to select a font from a drop down list.
  • Specific Applications: If you only have a need to create UPC barcodes within one specific application, it may be best to go with a Native Barcode Generator for Crystal Reports, Access or Oracle Reports. These products are objects that live inside the report so that the barcode can be viewed from any system.
  • Custom Applications: Creating dynamic UPC codes is sometimes necessary and can be done through barcode generation components like ActiveX Controls, Windows Forms Controls, Java Components and more. These components, along with UPC fonts, can also be integrated into custom applications for more powerful solutions.
Common UPC Barcode Generation Techniques
Once you have your UPC code and your barcode generation software, you are ready to go! Determining how you want your UPC code to appear on your product is also important. Many product labels are designed in graphic applications like Adobe InDesign or Photoshop, and Barcode Image Generators can often be used with these applications in layouts. Additionally, stand-alone applications like Barcode Label Software will allow you to print UPC barcodes onto labels which can be affixed manually to your products or packaging.

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