Monday, September 24, 2012

Adding Barcodes to InDesign

by Nate Schubert

Many individuals and organizations alike work with graphic software applications such as Adobe InDesign to create promotional materials including flyers, posters, brochures, magazines and others. Adding barcodes to promotional materials can benefit a promotion or project in a variety of different ways. Tracking a campaigns performance is easier, keeping track of documentation is easier, and even generating postal barcodes for mailings is easier with the inclusion of barcode technology. Adobe InDesign does not have any pre-packaged barcode components or fonts, however, and so the actual process requires a third-party product. Here's how you can create barcodes in InDesign using IDAutomation barcode products.

Using Code 39 Barcode Fonts with InDesign

Code 39 barcode fonts are the easiest to use because it only requires an asterisk (*) at the beginning and end of the data you want to encode. From there, simply highlight the data from asterisk to asterisk, and select the appropriate font in the InDesign drop down list. Code 39 only supports encoding of upper case numbers and letters, however, and so it is not a good choice if there is a need to encode special characters or lower-case letters.

Using Other Barcode Fonts with InDesign

It is certainly possible to include other barcode fonts in InDesign such as Code 128, UPC or Intelligent Mail, but it is a little more complex than simply adding asterisks. Encoding data for other linear barcode fonts requires special formatting so that a correct barcode will display when the font is paired to the encoded data. Generating other linear barcodes in InDesign requires the data to first be formatted in Microsoft Excel using our free Barcode Add-In for Excel and the purchased (or demo) barcode font of your choice. After the data is formatted, export the file as a CSV and perform a data merge. Then, apply the font of your choice to the data to generate that readable barcode.

The IDAutomation support staff has produced an excellent video tutorial that demonstrates how to create barcodes with Adobe InDesign CS5, and that can be found below. IDAutomation provides free demo's for testing for all of our products, and these instructions will work for those as well as the purchased versions.


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