How To Read A Barcode? Understanding The Barcode Basics

UPC barcodes have an ID assigned to the company that sells or manufactures a product and a unique code assigned to a specific product. Furthermore, there are so many codes, and it has many numbers and lines; how do you read a barcode? In this post, you will learn how to read a barcode to impress your boss and work efficiently. 

Where Are Barcodes Used?

Firstly, barcodes are used in different industries such as in sales, food, travel, retail markets, and e-commerce businesses. Here are the uses of barcodes:

  • First, to track parcels, packages, and envelopes in the mail.
  • Second, to easily track luggage in buses, trains, or planes. 
  • Third, to monitor stock or inventory management.
  • Fourth, to register shop bonus cards or club memberships. 
  • Fifth, to store website information, address, and contact information.
  • Lastly, for online seller platforms like Amazon or eBay, to meet the requirements of fulfillment centers for easy tracking. 

How To Read Barcode Numbers

As you should know, a 12-digit barcode cannot be easily read by the human eye, but it can be interpreted on how it functions. Also, you can buy a barcode from a legit online reseller or a GS1 company upon request. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The first 6-10 digits: Is the company that sells or manufactures the product. 
  • The 7th to 11th digit: Are the digits assigned by the company in a specific product. Each product has an assigned code. 
  • The final number or Check Digit: Used to verify the information in the barcode if it was correctly assigned. 
  • The barcode starts with number 2: Barcodes that begin with number 2 are items sold by weight. These are usually food products like cereal boxes, fruits, and many more.
  • The 7th number starts with number 3: Barcodes that begin with number 3 are usually pharmaceutical products, medicines, or beauty products. 
  • The 7th number starts with numbers 0 and 7: The barcodes that start with numbers 0 and 7 are general product categories. For example, convenience goods, shopping goods, specialty goods, unsought goods, and many more. 
  • The 7th number that starts with number 4: Barcodes that start with the number 4 are non-food item products. For example, household items like food plastic sheets, storage boxes, blankets, pillows, cooking items, toiletries, and many more.

Simply knowing the information stated above, you will have the edge of confirming upon first look if the barcode is correct. 

Read Any Barcode With Different Ways

If you don’t have a barcode scanning device, there are different ways to read any barcode. Here are some ways:

  • Using your computer and look it up online: If you don’t have a barcode scanner, look it up on your computer by visiting a GS1 Company Database. Or you can enter the barcode manually in an online portal.
  • Also, you can use your mobile phone: Thanks to the technology of mobile phones, you can now read any barcode using your phone, even without the use of scanning devices. For example, using your iOs phone or Android phone, you can download barcode scanning mobile apps

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Tell Where a Product Is Made From by the Barcode?

No, the barcode does not tell where the product’s country of origin. The barcode only tells where the item is, the company that owns the item, and the GS1 office licensed the number.

Do UPC Codes Show The Country of Origin?

NO, UPC codes do not show the country of origin. Furthermore, the UPC-A (12-digit) barcodes originate from either Canada or the USA. It does not show the country of origin in readable numbers. 

What Information Does a Product Barcode Contain?

The barcode contains the information of a product like a price, the weight of the product, manufacturing date, expiration date, and name of the manufacturer. Also, the barcode is assigned by the international institution that is set up for this purpose. Most importantly, each product has a unique barcode.

Can You Read a Barcode Without a Scanner?

The easiest way to read a barcode is with a scanner, online, or using a mobile phone.

Do You Need Barcodes?

Are you an online seller that needs barcodes for the products you need to sell online? Contact us here at Unique Product Codes. We can help you with your EAN/UPC product needs.

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