1D barcodes UPC & EAN

- Dec 07, 2018-

UPC is stands for Universal Product Code which include UPC-A & UPC-E , is a barcode symbology that is widely used in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, in Europe and other countries for tracking trade items in stores.

UPC-A consists of 12 numeric digits, that are uniquely assigned to each trade item. Along with the related EAN , the UPC is the barcode mainly used for scanning of trade items at the point of sale, per GS1 specifications.[1] UPC data structures are a component of GTINs and follow the global GS1 specification, which is based on international standards. But some retailers  do not use the GS1 system . On the other hand, some retailers use the EAN/UPC barcode symbology, but without using a GTIN .

UPC-E is a 6-digit code, that has its equivalent in UPC-A 12-digit code with number system 0 or 1

Each UPC-A barcode consists of a scannable strip of black bars and white spaces above a sequence of 12 numerical digits. No letters, characters or other content of any kind may appear on a UPC-A barcode. There is a one-to-one correspondence between 12-digit number and strip of black bars and white spaces, i.e. there is only one way to represent each 12-digit number visually and there is only one way to represent each strip of black bars and white spaces numerically.


The scannable area of every UPC-A barcode follows the pattern SLLLLLLMRRRRRRE, where S (start), M (middle), and E (end) guard patterns are represented the same way on every UPC-A barcode and the L (left) and R (right) sections collectively represent the 12 numerical digits that make each UPC-A unique. The first digit L indicates a particular number system to be used by the following digits. The last digit R is an error detecting check digit, that allows some errors to be detected in scanning or manual entry. The guard patterns separate the two groups of six numerical digits and establish the timing.

European Article Number or EAN is a standard describing a barcode symbology and numbering system used in global trade to identify a specific retail product type, in a specific packaging configuration, from a specific manufacturer. The standard has been subsumed in the Global Trade Item Number standard from the GS1 organization; the same numbers can be referred to as GTINs and can be encoded in other barcode symbologies defined by GS1. EAN barcodes are used worldwide for lookup at retail point of sale, but can also be used as numbers for other purposes such as wholesale ordering or accounting.


The most commonly used EAN standard is the thirteen-digit EAN-13, a super set of the original 12-digit Universal Product Code (UPC-A) standard developed in 1970 by George J. Laurer. An EAN-13 number includes a 3-digit GS1 prefix (indicating country of registration or special type of product). A prefix with a first digit of "0" indicates a 12-digit UPC-A code follows. A prefix with first two digits of "45" or "49" indicates a Japanese Article Number (JAN) follows.

The less commonly used 8-digit EAN-8 barcode was introduced for use on small packages, where EAN-13 would be too large. 2-digit EAN-2 and 5-digit EAN-5 are supplemental barcodes, placed on the right-hand side of EAN-13 or UPC. These are generally used for periodicals like magazines[2] or books,[3] to indicate the current year's issue number; and weighed products like food, to indicate the manufacturer's suggested retail price

he 13-digit EAN-13 number consists of four components

GS1 Prefix - 3 digits (Only use when you buy barcode from GS1)

Manufacturer Code - variable length

Product Code - variable length

Check digit

As these 2 sorts of 1d barcodes very similar ,and related with each other ,so we can change UPC-A to EAN13 by setting the barcode scanner , also can change UPC-E to UPC-A .

EAN-8 also can change to EAN-13 ,some times in different apply situations ,the barcode scanner need to different settings to meet the detail and special requirements .

Eg some users want to Hide the first digit of UPC-A ,or hide the last check digit ,you have to set the barcode scanner properly to make it work

And most time customers want to add prefix and suffix to the output to meet their demands ,all these are possible and easy for expert ,but it is very difficult for end customers without the knowledge.

These 2 popular barcodes used widely over the world ,also it is very easy to decode them by Laser Barcode Scanner or CCD barcode scanner.but the settings is not so easy.

We are professional China Supplier of Barcode Scanner from guangzhou ,and with professional engineers in this field ,if you have any questions of these 2 barcodes during use barcode scanner ,we will be here at your service.