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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.
FAQ About UPC Barcode
What is the
historical origin of the UPC barcode?
The UPC 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’s Marsh Supermarket.
Why use UPC barcodes
The reason why
UPC 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 supermarket
What is the
difference between EAN-13 barcode and UPC-A?
barcode is formulated by the International Article Numbering
Center and is universal throughout the world. The code length is
13 digits, and the first two digits represent the country or
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
and UPC-A barcodes have the same structure and verification
method, and both have grooves. The EAN-13 barcode is a superset
of the UPC-A barcode and is compatible with the UPC-A barcode.
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.
How to convert UPC-A
to EAN-13 barcode?
can be converted to EAN-13 barcodes by adding a leading 0. For
example, the UPC-A barcode 012345678905 corresponds to the
EAN-13 barcode 0012345678905. This will not only ensure
compatibility with UPC-A barcodes, but also enable your barcodes
to cope with international exchanges.
Who developed the
UPC barcode standard? Why develop this 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
error-prone. Using UPC-A, 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 effectively.
What are the
advantages and disadvantages of UPC barcodes??
It can represent
12-digit information, including country code, manufacturer code,
product code and check digit.
short, popular, and can be read by almost any standard barcode
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
businesses to easily, quickly and accurately control inventory
and save costs.
They can only
represent 12 digits, not letters or other symbols.
They take up more
space than some other types of barcodes, such as UPC-E or QR
industries are UPC barcodes widely used?
The UPC barcode
is a commodity barcode developed by the U.S. Uniform Code
Council (UCC) in 1973 to achieve automatic identification and
management of commodities.
UPC barcodes are
mainly used in the U.S. and Canadian markets, while other
countries and regions use EAN-13 barcodes. The difference
between them is that the EAN-13 barcode has one more country
UPC barcodes 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 barcode applications.
products marked with UPC-A and GS1 Data Matrix for point-of-sale
(POS) and/or US FDA barcode regulations.
in the United States are required to carry a 12-digit unique
require supplemental information such as issue number, weight,
or price, using 2- or 5-digit extensions.
How many types of
UPC barcodes are there?
There are two
types of UPC barcodes: standard and shortened.
The standard code
includes 1-digit system symbol, 5-digit manufacturer code,
5-digit 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
the two types of UPC barcodes are designed is to accommodate
different sized items. The standard size is suitable for larger
items, and the shortened size is suitable for smaller items,
which can save space and cost.
Why do the US and
Canada use UPC-A barcodes and not EAN-13 barcodes?
The reason why
the United States and Canada do not use EAN-13 is because they
early adopted the UPC-A barcode as the standard for product
barcodes. 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 seen as a special case of the EAN-13 barcode,
that is, the EAN-13 barcode with the first digit set to 0.
Therefore, EAN-13 barcodes and UPC-A barcodes are compatible as
long as the scanning device can recognize both types of
In the United
States, which agency should I apply for a UPC barcode?
In the US, the
agency you should apply for a UPC barcode to is GS1 US. It is
the official provider of the U.P.C. Barcodes and GTINs for the
United States. You can apply online at
you can use an authorized barcode reseller such as
www.barcode-us.com, which is part of GS1 US. However, you should
be aware of the difference between obtaining barcodes directly
from GS1 US or from a reseller.
What is the
difference between getting barcodes directly from GS1 US or from
between getting barcodes directly from GS1 US or from a reseller
When you get your
barcode from GS1 US, you have your own unique ID number, which
is registered to you in their GEPIR system. Some retailers
require this system in 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 less reliable and less 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
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