UPC-A Barcode

It's function ?

The UPC (Universal Product Code) barcode is used in the USA and Canada for marking goods in retail shops. Each different product has a unique barcode that identifies it. The bar code reader in the cash register system then scans the code and retrieves the product denomination, giving it's price.


What are the specifications?

The UPC barcode is created from a numeric code of 12 digits.
The first digit identifies the type of product:

  • 0 or 7 for 'conventional' UPC codes
  • 2 store-created code for a weight-based item (food)
  • 3 for a Drug code
  • 4 store-created code for a non-food item
  • 5 for coupons
All other figures (1,6,8 and 9) are reserved.
The five digits after are the identification of the manufacturer.
The next five digits (after the long bars) are freely-used by the manufacturer to identify the product, except that each product (or quantity combinaison of a product) must have a different code.
The last digit of the code is a checksum key, it depends on the other 11 digits, and is added to help the reader to eventually track an error while reading.

How to get a code?

You must contact UCC: Uniform Code Council (Website) in order to get an indentifiant for your company. Contact them for more informations.


How to use Barres to generate the code?

Select UPC for the barcode-type, then type or paste the 11 digits of your number (or the 12 digits, if you already know the key) in the input field, then click on OK. The 12th digit (checksum) is automatically added to the code if not typed and the bar code is generated in a window. You can then copy/paste it or save it in EPSF (encapsuled PostScript) or PICT format (resolution-independant graphic) for printing.


What does UPC A barcodes look like?

Here are a few samples of UPC-A barcodes, all generated with Barres.


Images at real size
UPCA_12345678901    UPCA_98765432109
Image at 200%
UPCA_98765432109x2
Part of image at 300 dpi
UPCA_12345678901(300)


Something else?

You can find usefull informations or help there:
Uniform Code Council : For the registration of your company
Barcode1 : More on UPC barcodes, and much more...