EAN barcode stand for European Article Numbers and it is the same as the American and Canadian UPC barcodes, which stand for Universal Product Codes. The only difference between the two is the number of printed digits located at the bottom of the codes; EAN barcodes have thirteen while UPC codes have twelve. An EAN barcode is a type of 1D and 2D barcodes1D barcode, made up of parallel lines with varying widths. Each of these barcodes consists of a country code, a prefix and item number, and a check digit that is written numerically at the bottom of the vertical lines as means of readable identification by human beings in case the barcode is damaged and cannot be scanned. UPC and EAN codes are sometimes called GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) as well.
History of EAN barcodesThe original format for product barcodes was the UPC-A barcode, however, as demand grew in other locations around the world, a country code was added and the EAN barcode was born. Confusion ensued for many years because not all retail stores in the USA and Canada could scan and process EAN-13 symbols, while EAN barcode software and hardware had no trouble processing UPC codes. GS1, a global organization that defines the standards of business communication (in this case, both EAN and UPC barcodes), stopped the inconvenience by requiring American and Canadian point of sale systems to be able to scan and process EAN barcodes as well by January 1, 2005.
EAN barcode typesEAN barcodes come in various forms, including: EAN-13, EAN-8, EAN-5, EAN-2, and EAN-14. The number indicates the quantity of numeric characters each barcode has. EAN2 and EAN5 are commonly used with EAN 13 barcodes to store additional data about a specific product.
Uses of EAN barcodesEvery type of EAN barcode has the sole purpose of providing information about a certain product, such as manufacturer and identification. EAN2 and EAN5 are additional barcodes added to a normal EAN barcode in items including books, magazines, and periodicals. The additional encoded data can provide the week or month the issues were released, or even author information. EAN barcodes are used in a point of sale system across the world and are effortlessly recognizable in many consumer products.
Pros and Cons of EAN barcodesLike all 1D barcodes, any scanner can read EAN barcodes as long as the label itself is in good condition, otherwise a person has to manually input the readable numeric string. An EAN barcode generator and scanner are cost effective and readily available worldwide. An added benefit is that no training is necessary to understand the concept since only numeric information can be encoded. These barcodes can only sustain a very limited amount of data unless you wish to enlarge the width of the label. EAN barcodes require connectivity to a central database. EAN barcodes are perfect for a point of sale industry because it organizes and facilitates product identification and inventory tracking without a fuss.
What information does a barcode hold?
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