Friday, July 08, 2011

Top 5 Reasons Why a Barcode Font Won't Scan

by Nate Schubert

There is nothing more frustrating than purchasing a barcode font package, patiently reading the instructions and creating a barcode that looks good, only to find that your barcode scanner doesn't read it. This may be due to a number of different factors, and thanks to the fine folks in our technical support department, we have outlined the top five reasons why your barcode fonts may not be scanning correctly. For the fast version, check out this video:



Has the Data Been Encoded?
Unlike traditional letter-fonts, barcode fonts require special formatting so that the data will be scannable once the barcode font is applied to it. This is true of most barcode types, with the exception of Code 39 and a few others. Formatting the data may involve adding start/stop characters, or a check-digit to the data which essentially let the scanner know where the barcode begins and ends. Other ways of formatting the data include manipulating it so that it is interleaved to create a smaller barcode, or converting the data-to-encode to a special-character text string that the barcode font can understand, and will turn into a correct barcode once the text string and font are combined. There are a wide variety of font encoder tools that will format barcode data, with some being more automatic than others.




Is the Barcode Type Enabled in the Scanner?
It is a good idea to make sure that your barcode scanner is configured to read the type of barcode you are trying to scan. While some barcode types are enabled by default in a scanner, many others must be manually activated in order to read. If you have confirmed that the scanner is programmed to read that type and it still doesn't recognize the barcode, it may be a good idea to contact the scanner manufacturer.




What is the Quality of the Printed Barcode?
In some cases, barcodes that are displayed can lose quality once they are printed. It is important to be sure that the quality of the barcode remains high. IDAutomation barcode fonts focus on high-quality design to help minimize poor-quality barcodes. Even so, it may be a good idea to check print resolution as this may be a common cause.




Is the Font Being Printed to Specified Font Size Range?
Some barcode fonts must be printed at specific font sizes, or they will not scan properly. This is the case with certain barcode types or standards, and our technical support staff can help to determine which of those fonts requires precise printing in terms of size.




Encoding Too Many or Too Few Characters
If you are attempting to encode a small amount of characters, it may be a good idea to be sure that your scanner is capable of scanning the minimum amount, as many are set to read a minimum of 4 characters in a barcode. On the other hand, if there are too many characters being encoded in a barcode, then it will be too large and will not scan properly. Decreasing the font size and re-scanning may solve this issue.


There are a lot of different reasons why a barcode created from a font may not scan properly. If you are working with IDAutomation fonts, you can get direct support from our staff regarding these matters with an active Priority Support & Upgrade Subscription. Each product purchase comes with a 30-day complimentary support subscription with the option to purchase yearly thereafter.

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