Making EAN–13 Barcodes

What is EAN–13 Barcode?

European Article Number (EAN 13) barcode format is used in global trade to identify a specific product.

Thirteen–digit EAN–13 codes are assigned worldwide to identify items at the point–of–sale. Two– and five–digit codes can be added to the code to identify published works.

Sample EAN-13 barcode made by Barcode Generator

EAN is similar to the twelve–digit Universal Product Code (UPC), and can be encoded in other barcode types offered by GS1. EAN codes are also known as Global Trade Item Numbers.

The EAN number system details a product’s country of origin. It can also be used for coupons, refund receipts, periodical identification and other uses. Barcodes are unique and can be assigned by manufacturers. The length of manufacturing and product codes may vary. The check digit is used to ensure that the barcode has been read correctly.

EAN–13 Barcode Format

The 13 digit code normally breaks down as follows:

The first 7 digits — the country code combined with the manufacturing code — make a company prefix.

The bars in EAN and UPC codes often appear similar and follow similar patterns. The only difference is where the readable digits are located.

Making EAN–13 Barcodes

To make EAN–13 barcode, start Barcode Generator and select or create the EAN–13 barcode symbology entry there:

EAN-13 barcode created in Barcode Generator

Double–click the barcode to open the editor. You should see the barcode preview and its parameters on the right:

Editing EAN-13 barcode data

You can change both Data and Addon fields to enter the information you need. The software automatically adjusts the preview to match your data. Here I used a short two–digit addon and placed a dummy data number:

Dummy barcode data and a two-digit addon

Notice that the addon becomes shorter and the preview doesn’t really match the input data, as the last digit in preview is “6” instead of “1” in the data. The reason is displayed under the data as an error message.

The software checks the input for errors and automatically adjusts the preview the best possible way and also notifies you about the problem. You can either fix it manually, or click the Fix errors button to let the Barcode generator do the job for you. Let’s do that:

Invalid check digit error is now fixed

Done! The problem is fixed and the preview completely matches the input data.

You can adjust more parameters of the barcode on the second page on the right:

Adjusting more EAN-13 parameters

Here I made the addon text to take all the available space and added the light margin indicator on the right to match the quiet zone requirements. You can change other parameters like addon distance, font sizes, colors etc.

Once done you can export the barcode or drag it directly into Illustrator or any other vector editor.

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