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The information presented in this area relates to general concepts that center around barcodes in general. There is some information specific to this site as well. All of the information is related to this site's use or how barcodes work in general.

EAN Search

Trying to find a product by performing an EAN barcode search? We can help! Just scan or key in the 13 digit UPC code and search our massive database of products.

UPC Search

Trying to find a product by performing a UPC barcode search? We can help! Just scan or key in the 12 digit UPC code and search our massive database of products.

Converting between ISBN-10 and ISBN-13 (aka EAN-13)

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. Originally this was a 10 digit number known as ISBN-10, but has been replaced with a 13 digit version known as ISBN-13 (aka EAN-13) to better fit in with the industry standard product numbering system.

Amazon Standard Itentification Numbers (ASIN)

Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs) are unique blocks of 10 letters and/or numbers that identify items. You can find the ASIN on the item's product information page on and in the URL for the page.

EAN-13, UPC-A, UPC-E and Bookland Barcodes

Enter the 8 or 12 digits found on the barcode of almost any product in the search box at the top of any screen and click the the lookup button. If the bar code doesn't match this format, it may not be an actual UPC code and would not appear in our database. It could be one of many formats. See the images below for examples of both the 8 and 12 digit UPC barcodes.

How Barcode Scanners Work

Barcodes are a graphical representation of information that can be easily read by machines. People read text easy enough but machines find this to be too complex so we use barcodes to simplify the process.

Barcode Scanners

There are many types of barcode scanners out on the market ranging from inexpensive wonds that look like pens all the way up to retail table scanners that are very fast and accurate. The scanner you select depends on your needs which is dictated by the type of barcodes you will be scanning, the volume and speed at wich you need to scan.

Codabar Barcodes

This symbology was originally designed to be easily scanned even when printed on dot-matrix printers or on multi-ply paper such as receipts, invioces and alike. Codabar is being replaced by newer symbol sets that store more data in a smaller area but there is already a large install base where these codes are currently being used.

Code 128 Barcodes

Code 128 is a high-density 1D barcode symbology. This barcode set makes use of the entire 128 ASCII characters which include letter, number and symbols.

Interleave 2 of 5 Barcode

The interleave symbology stores digits in 2 sets of 5 stripes alternating black and white. Each set encodes a digit and these digits are interleaved together. One digit is made from the black stripes and one from the white stripes. Thus the name... Interleave 2 of 5.

MSI Barcodes

This symbology was developed by the MSI Data Corporation and is based on the Plessey Code symbology. MSI is most often used in warehouses and inventory control.

Plessey Barcodes

This symbology was developed by the Plessey Company in England. A variation of Plessey was used by the ADS Company and is known as Anker Code. Anker Code was used in European point of sale systems prior to the advent of EAN.

Aztec Code Barcode

Identified by the bulls-eye pattern in the center of the square, the Aztec Code barcode is easy to recognize. This symbol supports patterns ranging from 15x15 up to 151x151 blocks with one special rune that can encode a single byte. This rune is 11x11 blocks.

Code39 Barcodes

Code39 also known as Code 3 of 9 allows you to encode text using characters A-Z and 0-9 and some punctuation. Using an extended encoding system, it is possible to encode the entire ASCII character set.

Data Matrix Barcodes

A Data Matrix code is a two-dimensional barcode make up of blocks of black and white modules put together to make either a square or rectangular pattern. The information to be encoded can be text or raw data.

Maxicode Barcode

The maxicode barcode is identified by the circular bulls-eye in the center and a matrix of circular dots that make up the data. Unlike many of the other 2D barcodes, this symbology uses a hexagonal grid rather than bars or squares. 

PDF417 Barcode

PDF stands for Portable Data File and 4 indicates that each section of the code is made of 4 bars and stripes by 17 units. These can be between 3 and 90 rows.

QR Code Barcodes

QR Codes are a type of 2 dimentional (2D) barcode that are commonly used in advertising and supported by most smart phones. These compact codes can make it very easy to get digital data from print into a computer or smart phone.

What are barcodes and why do we need them?

Barcodes are graphical representations of data that are hard for people to read but very easy for scanners to read. These codes come in various formats and are used all over the place for so many reasons. Some are lines others are blocks and they come in many styles.