Monday, November 01, 2010

How To Create Barcodes in Adobe InDesign CS

by Nate Schubert

Barcode Fonts are often the choice when users want to create barcodes in a variety of applications, or when users may not be as well-versed in software integration as they may need to be in order to use barcode generation components like .NET Forms Controls, ActiveX Controls or Java.

Despite the fact that barcode fonts can be used in a great variety of applications across different operating systems, the actual process of creating the barcode can vary widely in difficulty. For instance, Code 39 barcodes can be created in Microsoft Excel simply by surrounding the data-to-encode with asterisks (*) and then applying the appropriate Code 39 font to the highlighted data to encode.

Things get trickier when using other, more complicated fonts like Code 128, Interleaved 2 of 5, Intelligent Mail and others, as the data often needs to be encoded using more than an asterisk as start and stop characters. In many cases, the data to encode needs to be transformed into a string that may not even resemble the data you want to encode. However, once the font is applied to that strange string of data, the resulting barcode will output the barcode data as what you intended. We provide free font tools with the purchase of IDAutomation products just so our customers don't have to go through the trouble of encoding the data manually.

Perhaps the most challenging implementation is when you have a need to create barcodes in a program that IDAutomation does not have a font encoder tool for. Adobe InDesign is one such program where the fonts may be available in the font drop down list, but there is no mechanism to encode the data. Simply applying the font to the data you want to encode will not magically turn that data into a barcode, and so you must use a bridge application to do this.

Microsoft Excel is an excellent example of a bridge application that can be used to encode the data into a proper string, and then import that string into Adobe InDesign where the barcode font can then be applied to reflect an accurate and readable barcode.

The Technical Support team at IDAutomation has recently created a new video tutorial that focuses on creating barcodes in Adobe InDesign CS, and it can be viewed below. Enjoy!

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