UPC Barcode Generator

Making UPC–A Barcodes

To make an UPC–A barcode, you need to start the Barcode generator application and click the big “plus” button at the bottom left corner of the window. The popup menu will appear, where you need to click the UPC–A item to make a new UPC–A barcode.

Creating new UPC-A barcode using the plus button in the Barcode generator software

Once the new barcode is created, double–click it to switch to the editing mode.

There you will see the barcode preview and the parameters panel on the right, where you can modify the main and addon texts of the barcode. Type the data you need and see the barcode updated while you are typing:

Editing the UPC-A barcode - providing the main text and add-on data

If you don’t need the addon — simply leave the addon field blank. If you need a 2–digit addon — enter just two digits, the software will adjust the barcode accordingly.

If you make a mistake and the checksum doesn’t match, or there are too many symbols — Barcode generator will display an error message and offers you to fix the problem. If this is a check digit problem, you can simply click the Fix errors button, otherwise it is better to figure out what the problem is and fix it manually, as otherwise Barcode will simply clip the data or extend it with zeroes.

UPC barcode generator checks barcodes for errors automatically

Once the data is entered, you can switch to the second tab and adjust the visual appearance of the barcode. There are many options to configure there:

Configuring the visual appearance of UPC-A barcode in generator

From the top to bottom, there are several sections where you can setup the barcode features:

Once finished, switch to the right most panel to configure the quiet zone around the barcode:

Quiet zone can be configured at the right most tab of the barcode editor

Make sure the Margins block is enabled, then configure the quiet zone size around the barcode by adjusting the margins parameters. It is recommended to have at least 5mm (or 0.2 inches) of free space on the left and right sides of the barcode to make sure it is scanned well. For this particular barcode, the first digit adds some space by itself, so the left margin is fine. As for the right one, it needs to be increased to match the standard. Another option is to enable the light margin indicator on the second panel, which might help.

Light margin indicator is enabled and the quiet zone of the barcode is now large enough to match the standard

Once the barcode is finished, you have three options:

Then you can click the Back button in the toolbar, or press Escape to go back to the barcodes list mode.

You can automate the barcode generation in many ways with Barcode. See the batch processing tutorial for the automation example.

Making UPC–E Barcodes

UPC–E barcodes are done pretty much the same way, as the UPC–A ones above and can be made using the UPC barcode generator software. You click the big “plus” button, then click the “UPC–E” item in the popup menu to make a new UPC–E barcode:

Use the plus button to generate a new UPC-E barcode

Then you double–click it and switch to the editing mode. Compared to the UPC-A barcodes, there is no addon field here. On the other hand, the Number system field is displayed, so you can select if you want to have “0” or “1” as the first digit of the barcode.

Configure UPC-E barcode data and number system, fix errors if any

Exactly as with UPC–A barcodes, you will get a message in case of any errors in the barcode data. Fix them manually, or use the Fix errors button to let Barcode fix them for you.

Once done, switch to the second panel to configure the visual parameters of the barcode:

Configuring the visual appearance of the UPC-E barcode

Again, compared to UPC–A barcodes, there are less parameters here. There is obviously no addon configuration for UPC–E barcodes, also the light margin indicator is not supported for this barcode. Edit the visual parameters the way you need and finally switch to the right most panel to adjust the quiet zone:

UPC barcode generator lets you configure the quiet zone of the barcode

As the UPC–E barcode displays digits on both left and right sides, you may leave the default margin values — there is enough space on both sides of the barcode. The recommended quiet zone for UPC–E is 5mm, or 0.2 inches.

When you finished with the barcode, you can save or print it using the toolbar buttons at the top left corner of the window, or drag the barcode with your mouse directly to the application where it is needed.

Then you can simply click the Back button in the toolbar, or press the Escape key on the keyboard to switch back to the list of the barcodes. The changes will be saved automatically.

For more information about the user interface of the software, see the user interface tutorial.

UPC Barcodes Overview

UPC barcodes are widely used in supermarkets and on books and other periodicals. In the United States, new UPC codes must be requested from the nonprofit group GS1.

UPC–A Barcodes

Universal Product Code UPC–A barcodes contain a strip of scannable bars and a 12 digit numerical code. Numbers may only be used for this code, UPC–A barcodes do not include letters or other characters. In UPC–A codes:

The check digit is used to ensure that the barcode has been read correctly. You can use UPC–A barcode generator software to compute the digit, or scroll down to the check digit calculator.

UPC–A is somewhat similar to the EAN-13 code system, and UPC–A code can be read by any machine that can read EAN-13. The bars in UPC and EAN codes often appear similar and follow similar patterns. The only difference is where the readable digits are located. UPC code has been widely used since 1974.

UPC–E Barcodes

UPC–E barcodes contain a strip of scannable bars and an eight digit numerical code. Like UPC–A, numbers may only be used for this code, and the barcodes do not include letters or other characters. The code contains the same information as UPC–A in a shorter format, and is often converted from UPC–A code. It condenses that information by eliminating zeroes in the numerical code, and using complex numerical formulas.

In UPC–E codes:

The check digit is used to ensure that the barcode has been read correctly. It can be computed by the UPC–E barcode generator.

UPC–A Check Digit Calculator

The last digit of an UPC–A barcode is a check digit that is used for human transcription error detection. Here it is marked with a red square:

The location of check digit in UPC-A barcode

Check Digit Formula

To compute the check digit follow the simple rules:

  1. Take all the digits in odd positions, add them and multiply by three;
  2. Take all the digits in even positions (except for the last one) and add to the number you got above;
  3. Divide that number by 10 and take the reminder;
  4. If the reminder is not 0, subtract it from 10.
  5. That's it.

Check Digit Calculator

To save time on doing the math, simply enter the barcode numbers into the field below and we'll do the job for you:

Calculate

Here goes the check digit calculation for barcode :

  1. The digits in odd positions are: , their sum is , multiplied by 3 it is ;
  2. The digits in even positions (except the last one) are: , their sum is , added to the number above it is ;
  3. Dividing by 10 gives us as a reminder;
  4. It is not zero, so subtracting it from 10 to get the check digit: .
  5. It is zero, so just using it as is.

The check digit is ""

If you work with barcodes, have a look at our barcode generator which will save you much more time than this calculator.