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Barcode Technology - UPC-A
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The Universal Product Code (UPC)
is a barcode symbology that is
widely used in the United
States, Canada, Europe,
Australia, New Zealand, and
other countries for tracking
trade items in stores.
UPC-A is one of the many
barcode formats currently in
A Barcode is a method of
representing data in a visual,
The barcode formats has two
One-dimensional (1D) ---
Barcodes represented data by
varying the widths and spacings
of parallel lines.
Two-dimensional (2D) --- Using
rectangles, dots, hexagons and
other geometric patterns to
UPC-A is 1D barcode.
The structure of the UPC A code
is as follows:
The first digit of the UPC A
code says what the code
0 - normal UPC Code
1 - reserved
2 - articles where the price
varies by the weight:
for example meat. The code is
produced in the store and
attached to the article.
3 - National Drug Code (NDC) and
National Health Related Items
4 - UPC Code which can be used
without format limits
5 - coupon
6 - normal UPC Code
7 - normal UPC Code
8 - reserved
9 - reserved
UPC-A has 12 digits.
The next 5 digits show
the producer of the
article (UPC ID number).
This number is issued by
the Uniform Code Council
(UUC), 7051 Corporate
Way - Suite 201, Dayton,
OH 45359-4292, USA
>The seventh to eleventh
digits show the
number issued by the
The last digit is the
check digit. This one is
calculated by the
UPC-A consists of 12 numeric
digits that are uniquely
assigned to each trade item. It
is also called UPC 12 and is
similar to the EAN code. Along
with the related EAN barcode,
the UPC is the barcode mainly
used for scanning of trade items
at the point of sale, per GS1
specifications. UPC data
structures are a component of
GTINs and follow the global GS1
specification, which is based on
international standards. But
some retailers (clothing,
furniture) do not use the GS1
system (rather other barcode
symbologies or article number
systems). On the other hand,
some retailers use the EAN/UPC
barcode symbology, but without
using a GTIN (for products sold
in their own stores only).
UPC-A is a subset of EAN-13; in
reality, an UPC-A bar code is an
EAN-13 bar code with the first
EAN-13 number system
digit set to "0". This means
that any hardware or software
capable of reading EAN-13 is
automatically capable of reading
NOTE: The UCC Council has
announced that as of January 1,
2005, all products must be
labeled with EAN-13. More
correctly said, all decoding and
related database systems must be
able to handle EAN-13 by this
date. Thus when developing your
system it is best to implement
EAN-13. By implementiong EAN-13
you will automatically be
implementing UPC-A, but will be
ready when the transition to
EAN-13 is complete at the
beginning of 2005.
Formatting: UPC-A barcodes can
be printed at various densities
to accommodate a variety of
printing and scanning
processes.The x-dimension for
the UPC-A at the nominal size is
0.33 mm (0.013"). Nominal symbol
height for UPC-A is 25.9 mm
(1.02"). The bars forming the S
(start), M (middle), and E (end)
guard patterns, are extended
downwards by 5 times
x-dimension, with a resulting
nominal symbol height of 27.55
mm (1.08"). This also applies to
the bars of the first and last
numerical digit of UPC-A
barcode. UPC-A can be reduced or
magnified anywhere from 80% to
200%.A quiet zone, with a width
of at least 9 times the
x-dimension, must be present on
each side of the scannable area
of the UPC-A barcode.
Numbering of UPC-A :
possible values per left digit ^
6 left digits) ?(10 possible
values per right digit ^ 5 right
digits) = 100,000,000,000.
Check digit calculation:
The UPC includes a check digit
to detect common data entry
The UPC-A check digit may be
calculated as follows:
Sum the digits at odd-numbered
positions (first, third,
Multiply the result by 3.
Add the digit sum at
even-numbered positions (second,
fourth, sixth,..., tenth) to the
Find the result modulo 10 (i.e.
the remainder, when divided by
10) and call it M.
If M is zero, then the check
digit is 0; otherwise the check
digit is 10 − M.
For example, in a UPC-A barcode
"03600029145x12", where x12 is
the unknown check digit, x12 may
be calculated by:
Sum the odd-numbered digits (0 +
6 + 0 + 2 + 1 + 5 = 14).
Multiply the result by 3 (14 ?3
Add the even-numbered digits (42
+ (3 + 0 + 0 + 9 + 4) = 58).
Find the result modulo 10 (58
mod 10 = 8 = M).
If M is not 0, subtract M from
10 (10 − M = 10 − 8 = 2).
Thus, the check digit x12 is 2.
UPC-A can detect 100% of single
UPC in its most common usage
technically refers to UPC-A.
Other variants of the UPC exist:
UPC-B is a 12-digit version of
UPC with no check digit,
developed for the National Drug
Code (NDC) and National Health
Related Items Code.[failed
verification] It has 11 digits
plus a 1-digit product code, and
is not in common use.
UPC-C is a 12-digit code with a
product code and a check digit;
not in common use.
UPC-D is a variable length code
(12 digits or more) with the
12th digit being the check
digit. These versions are not in
UPC-E is a 6-digit code, that
has its equivalent in UPC-A
12-digit code with number system
0 or 1.
UPC-2 is a 2-digit supplement to
the UPC used to indicate the
edition of a magazine or
UPC-5 is a 5-digit supplement to
the UPC used to indicate
suggested retail price for
Most barcodes display their
corresponding values below them,
which makes it possible to human
read and manually enter
the barcode values into the
equivalent system when the
barcode label is worn out and
cannot be read by the barcode
It's not required to label all
articles with the price. The
price is stored in the database
and can be accessed via the
barcode number. There is no need
to manually calculate the price
of the product. You only need to
use the POST system to scan the
EAN barcode on each product
purchased by a customer. Because
each product has its own unique
EAN number, the POST system can
get the corresponding price of
each product in the database and
calculate the total amount. It
is fast and safe because there
is no way to make a mistake.
Frequently Asked Questions About UPC-A Barcode
What is the
origin and development process of UPC-A barcode?
The UPC-A barcode
is a barcode symbol used to track items in stores and is only
used in the United States and Canada.
It consists of 12
digits and each product has a unique code. It was formulated by
the United States Uniform Code Council in 1973, jointly
developed with IBM, and has been in use since 1974.
It was the first
barcode system used in supermarket checkout, and the first item
marked with a UPC-A barcode was scanned at the checkout counter
at Troy闂?Marsh Supermarket.
the UPC-A barcode standard?
The UPC-A barcode
standard was developed in 19731 by IBM engineer George Laurer.
It is a barcode symbology system that is widely used worldwide
to track trade items in stores. It consists of a 12-digit number
uniquely assigned to each trade item.
The main reason
for developing this standard is to improve the efficiency and
accuracy of retail store checkout systems. Before UPC-A, most
products were entered manually by cashiers, which was slow and
products can be automatically scanned and matched with correct
price and inventory information. This also helps retailers
manage their supply chains and marketing strategies more
What are the main
application scenarios of UPC-A barcodes?
are primarily used in the retail industry in the United States
The reason why
UPC-A barcodes are used in supermarkets is that it can quickly,
accurately and conveniently identify product information, such
as price, inventory, sales volume, etc.
The UPC-A barcode
consists of 12 digits, of which the first 6 digits represent the
manufacturer code, the last 5 digits represent the product code,
and the last digit is the check digit.
In this way, as
long as we scan the barcode at the supermarket checkout counter,
we can quickly obtain the product price and inventory
information, which greatly improves the work efficiency of
How to apply for
UPC barcode in the United States?
In the United
States, the agency you should apply for UPC barcodes from is GS1
US. It is an official provider of U.P.C. US barcodes and GTINs.
You can apply online at www.gs1us.org.
you can use an authorized barcode reseller such as
www.barcode-us.com, part of GS1 US.
However, there is
a difference between getting a barcode directly from GS1 US or
from a reseller.
between getting a barcode directly from GS1 US or from a dealer
When you get a
barcode from GS1 US, you have your own unique ID number that is
registered to you in their GEPIR system. Some retailers require
this system under certain circumstances.
When you get a
barcode from a reseller, you don't own your own unique ID
number, and there's a risk that the prefix could be resold to
another company, causing confusion or errors. This option may be
cheaper and faster, but is less reliable and secure.
The GS1 company
prefix is the same as the U.P.C. company prefix, except that the
GS1 company prefix adds a zero at the beginning of the number.
This prefix is required when creating barcodes for your
What is the
difference between UPC-A barcode and EAN-13 barcode?
The UPC-A barcode
is produced by the United States Uniform Code Committee and is
mainly used in the United States and Canada. The code length is
12 digits, and the first digit indicates the numeric system
barcode is developed by the International Article Numbering
Center and is universally used. The code length is 13 digits,
and the first two digits represent the country or region code.
barcode has one more country/region code than the UPC-A barcode.
In fact, the UPC-A barcode can be regarded as a special case of
the EAN-13 barcode, which is the EAN-13 barcode with the first
digit set to 0. 13 barcodes.
barcode is a superset of the UPC-A barcode and is compatible
with the UPC-A barcode.
barcode and the UPC-A barcode have the same structure and
verification method, and both have grooves.
What is the
difference between UPC-A barcode and UPC-E barcode?
Both the UPC-A
barcode and the UPC-E barcode are universal commodity barcodes,
but the UPC-A barcode is a standard code, while the UPC-E
barcode is a shortened code.
The UPC-A barcode
consists of 12 digits, and the UPC-E barcode consists of 8
The UPC-E barcode
is a compressed representation of the UPC-A barcode under
certain conditions to accommodate products of different sizes.
Can UPC-A be
converted to EAN-13 barcode?
barcodes can be converted to EAN-13 barcodes by adding a leading
For example, the
UPC-A barcode 012345678905 corresponds to the EAN-13 barcode
What are the
advantages and disadvantages of UPC-A barcodes?
It can improve
the efficiency and accuracy of commodity management, reduce
human errors and costs,
They have a check digit to prevent accidental errors, especially
when entering codes manually.
short, popular, and can be read by almost any standard barcode
businesses to control inventory easily, quickly and accurately
and save costs.
It can represent
12-digit information, including country code, manufacturer code,
product code and check digit.
They take up more
space than some other types of barcodes, such as UPC-E or QR
They can only
represent 12-digit numbers, not letters or other symbols.
industries are UPC-A barcodes most used?
The UPC-A barcode
is designed to realize automatic identification and management
of goods. It is mainly used in the U.S. and Canadian markets.
Other countries and regions use EAN-13 barcodes. The difference
between them is that the EAN-13 barcode has one more country
can be used for a variety of goods, such as food, books,
clothing, electronic products, etc. It can help merchants and
consumers quickly find the price, inventory, sales and other
information of the goods.
Some examples of
UPC-A barcode applications.
in the United States that are required to carry a 12-digit
marked with UPC-A and GS1 Data Matrix for use at point of sale
(POS) and/or US FDA barcoding regulations.
require additional information such as issue number, weight, or
price using 2 or 5 digit extensions.
How many types of
UPC-A barcodes are there?
There are two
types of UPC barcodes: standard codes and shortened codes.
The standard code
contains 1 digit system character, 5 digits manufacturer code, 5
digits product code and 1 digit check code.
code is the result of removing or compressing some numbers in
the standard code and can only represent 8 digits.
Why design 2
types of UPC barcodes?
The reason why
two types of UPC barcodes are designed is to accommodate
different sizes of merchandise.
Standard code is
suitable for larger products, and shortened code is suitable for
smaller products, which can save space and cost.
Why do the United
States and Canada use UPC-A barcodes and not EAN-13 barcodes?
It is because
they early adopted the UPC-A barcode as the standard for product
The UPC-A barcode
was produced by the United States Uniform Code Committee. The
coding length is 12 digits and only supports 0-9. number. The
EAN-13 barcode was later developed by the International Article
Numbering Center. The code length is 13 digits and only supports
numbers 0-9, but it has an additional country/region code.
In fact, the UPC-A
barcode can be regarded as a special case of the EAN-13 barcode,
which is the EAN-13 barcode with the first digit set to 0.
barcodes and UPC-A barcodes are compatible as long as the
scanning device can recognize both types of barcodes.
Will the UPC-A
barcode be replaced by the EAN-13 barcode?
At present, the
UPC-A barcode has not been completely replaced by the EAN-13
barcode, but with the development of international trade, the
use of EAN-13 barcodes is becoming more and more widespread.
Most commonly used barcode types
EAN-13 code: Product barcode, universal, supports 0-9 digits, 13 digits in length, has grooved.
UPC-A code: Product barcode, mainly used in the United States and Canada, supports 0-9 numbers, 12 digits in length, has grooves.
Code-128 code: Universal barcode, supports numbers, letters and symbols, variable length, no grooves.
QR-Code: Two-dimensional barcode, supports multiple character sets and encoding formats, variable length, and has positioning marks.
Why are there many types of barcodes?
There are many types of barcodes because they have different uses and characteristics.
For example, a UPC [Universal Product Code] is a barcode used to label retail products and can be found on nearly every item sold and in grocery stores in the United States.
CODE 39 is a barcode that can encode numbers, letters and some special characters. It is commonly used in manufacturing, military and medical fields.
ITF [Interleaved Two-Five Code] is a barcode that can only encode an even number of digits. It is commonly used in the logistics and transportation fields.
NW-7 [also known as CODABAR] is a barcode that can encode numbers and four start/end characters. It is commonly used in libraries, express delivery and banks.
Code-128 is a barcode that can encode all 128 ASCII characters. It is commonly used in areas such as package tracking, e-commerce and warehouse management.
What is the historical origin of barcodes?
In 1966, the National Association of Food Chains (NAFC) adopted bar codes as product identification standards.
In 1970, IBM developed the Universal Product Code (UPC), which is still widely used today.
In 1974, the first product with a UPC barcode: a pack of Wrigley's gum was scanned in an Ohio supermarket.
In 1981, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) approved Code39 as the first alphanumeric barcode standard.
In 1994, Japan's Denso Wave Company invented QR-Code, a two-dimensional barcode that can store more information.
Barcode application examples
Barcode Apps for Food Tracking: Apps that record the nutritional content, calories, protein and other information of the food you eat by scanning the barcode on the food label. These apps can help you record your eating habits, Manage your health goals, or understand where your food comes from.
Transportation and logistics: Used for ordering and distribution codes, product warehousing management, logistics control systems, ticket sequence numbers in international aviation systems. Barcodes are used in ordering and distribution in the logistics and transportation industry. They can be used to string Line Shipping Container Codes (SSCCs) are encoded to identify and track containers and pallets in the supply chain. They can also encode other information such as best before dates and lot numbers.
Internal supply chain: internal management of the enterprise, production process, logistics control system, ordering and distribution codes. Barcodes can store various information, such as item number, batch, quantity, weight, date, etc. This information can Used for tracking, sorting, inventory, quality control, etc., to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the company's internal supply chain management.
Logistics tracking: Barcodes are widely used in logistics tracking. It can be used to identify goods, orders, prices, inventory and other information. By affixing barcodes on packaging or shipping boxes, it is possible to achieve warehouse entry and exit. Automatic identification and recording of distribution, inventory and other logistics information to improve the accuracy and efficiency of logistics management.
Production line process: Barcodes can be used for factory production line process management to improve production efficiency and quality. Barcodes can identify product numbers, batches, specifications, quantities, dates and other information to facilitate traceability during the production process. Inspection, statistics and other operations. Barcodes can also be integrated with other systems, such as ERP, MES, WMS, etc., to achieve automatic collection and transmission of data.
Some common barcode application areas
Ticket Verification: Cinemas, event venues, travel tickets and more use barcode scanners to verify tickets and the admission process.
Food Tracking: Some apps allow you to track the food you eat via barcodes.
Inventory Management: In retail stores and other places where inventory needs to be tracked, barcodes help record the quantity and location of items.
Convenient checkout: In supermarkets, shops and restaurants, barcodes can quickly calculate the price and total of goods.
Games: Some games use barcodes as interactive or creative elements, such as scanning different barcodes to generate characters or items.
Benefits of using barcodes
Speed: Barcodes can scan items in a store or track inventory in a warehouse faster, thus greatly improving the productivity of store and warehouse personnel. Barcode systems can ship and receive goods faster to reasonably way to store and locate items.
Accuracy: Barcodes reduce human error when entering or recording information, with an error rate of approximately 1 in 3 million, and enable real-time information access and automated data collection anytime, anywhere.
Cost Effectiveness: Barcodes are cheap to produce and print, and can save money by increasing efficiency and reducing losses. Barcoding systems allow organizations to accurately record the quantity of product left, its location and when reorders are needed, which This avoids waste and reduces the amount of money tied up in excess inventory, thereby improving cost efficiency.
Inventory Control: Barcodes help organizations track the quantity, location and status of goods throughout their life cycle, improve the efficiency of moving goods in and out of warehouses, and make ordering decisions based on more accurate inventory information.
Easy to use: Reduce employee training time because using the barcode system is easy and less error-prone. You only need to scan the barcode label attached to an item to access its database through the barcode system and obtain information related to the item. information.
Application of barcodes in inventory management
Goods Receipt: By scanning the barcode on received goods, the quantity, type and quality of goods can be quickly and accurately recorded and matched with purchase orders.
Shipping: By scanning the barcode on outgoing goods, the quantity, destination and status of the goods can be quickly and accurately recorded and matched with sales orders.
Moving warehouse: By scanning the barcodes on the goods and warehouse locations, the movement and storage of goods can be quickly and accurately recorded, and inventory information updated.
Inventory: By scanning the barcodes on goods in the warehouse, you can quickly and accurately check the actual quantity of goods and the system quantity, and find and resolve discrepancies.
Equipment Management: By scanning the barcode on the equipment or tool, you can quickly and accurately record the use, repair and return of the equipment or tool, and prevent loss or damage.
What is the difference between EAN-13 barcode and UPC-A barcode?
The EAN-13 barcode has one more country/region code than the UPC-A barcode. In fact, the UPC-A barcode can be regarded as a special case of the EAN-13 barcode, which is the EAN-13 barcode with the first digit set to 0.
The EAN-13 barcode is developed by the International Article Numbering Center and is universally accepted. The code length is 13 digits, and the first two digits represent the country or region code.
UPC-A barcode is produced by the United States Uniform Code Committee and is mainly used in the United States and Canada. The code length is 12 digits, and the first digit indicates the numeric system code.
EAN-13 barcode and UPC-A barcode have the same structure and verification method, and similar appearance.
EAN-13 barcode is a superset of UPC-A barcode and can be compatible with UPC-A barcode.
If I have a UPC code, do I still need to apply for an EAN?
No need. Both UPC and EAN can identify goods. Although the former originated in the United States, it is part of the global GS1 system, so if you register UPC under the GS1 organization, it can be used globally. If you need to print a 13-digit EAN barcode, you can add the number 0 in front of the UPC code.
UPC-A barcodes can be converted to EAN-13 barcodes by prepending 0. For example, the UPC-A barcode  corresponds to the EAN-13 barcode . Doing this ensures Compatibility with UPC-A barcodes.
About Code-128 barcode
Code-128 barcode was developed by COMPUTER IDENTICS in 1981. It is a variable-length, continuous alphanumeric barcode.
Code-128 barcode consists of a blank area, a start mark, a data area, a check character and a terminator. It has three subsets, namely A, B and C, which can represent different character sets. It can also be used to achieve multi-level encoding through the selection of starting characters, code set characters, and conversion characters.
It can encode all 128 ASCII characters, including numbers, letters, symbols and control characters, so it can represent all characters on the computer keyboard.
It can achieve high-density and efficient data representation through multi-level encoding, and can be used for automatic identification in any management system.
It is compatible with the EAN/UCC system and is used to represent the information of the storage and transportation unit or logistics unit of the commodity. In this case, it is called GS1-128.
Code-128 barcode standard was developed by Computer Identics Corporation [USA] in 1981. It can represent all 128 ASCII code characters and is suitable for convenient application on computers. The purpose of formulating this standard is to Improve barcode encoding efficiency and reliability.
Code128 is a high-density barcode. It uses three versions of character sets [A, B, C] and the selection of starting characters, code set characters, and conversion characters, according to different data Type and length, choose the most appropriate encoding method. This can reduce the length of the barcode and improve encoding efficiency. In addition, Code128 also uses check characters and terminators, which can increase the reliability of the barcode and prevent misreading or missed reading.
Code-128 barcode is widely used in internal management of enterprises, production processes, and logistics control systems. It has many application scenarios, mainly in industries such as transportation, logistics, clothing, food, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment.
About EAN-13 barcode
EAN-13 is the abbreviation of European Article Number, a barcode protocol and standard used in supermarkets and other retail industries.
EAN-13 is established based on the UPC-A standard established by the United States. The EAN-13 barcode has one more country/region code than the UPC-A barcode in order to meet the needs of international applications. . The UPC-A barcode is a barcode symbol used to track goods in stores. It is only used in the United States and Canada. It was developed by the United States [Uniform Code Council] in 1973 and has been used since 1974. It It was the earliest barcode system used for product settlement in supermarkets.
EAN-13 consists of a prefix code, manufacturer identification code, product item code and check code, a total of 13 digits. Its encoding follows the principle of uniqueness and can ensure that it is not repeated worldwide.
EAN International, referred to as EAN, is a non-profit international organization founded in 1977 and headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. Its purpose is to formulate and improve globally unified commodities The barcode system provides value-added services to optimize enterprise supply chain management. Its member organizations are located around the world.
EAN-13 barcodes are mainly used in supermarkets and other retail industries.
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