Thursday, March 03, 2011

How To Encode Functions in Code 128 Barcodes

by Nate Schubert

Normally, the data encoded inside a barcode consists of something simple, such as a name, address, or an identification number that can be tied to a database where more information exists. When read by a barcode scanner, the data is output via a technology called Keyboard Emulation where the information encoded inside the barcode will appear wherever the cursor is blinking on your computer screen. In cases where the data encoded is something simple that belongs in one field, for example, this process is quite simple. But what about scanning a barcode filled with data that should be spread out across multiple fields? What happens when you need to place a space after each item you scan?

Code 128 is a high-density linear barcode that encodes text, numbers, a variety of functions and the full 128 ASCII character set from ASCII 0 to ASCII 128. Encoding functions such as carriage returns and tabs can help to speed up data entry tasks, and these functions are easily encoded using the appropriate ASCII function codes.

Functions can also be directly encoded by enabling "ApplyTilde" in Code 128 Auto, one of the sets available in Code 128 barcodes. For information about encoding these special functions into Code 128 Auto barcodes, please visit http://www.idautomation.com/code128faq.html#Functions

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