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Work with My UPC-A Barcode

To generate a UPC-A barcode image in GS1 US Data Hub, you must first create the product detail record. When you assign a GTIN to the product, and click “Save,” the product status changes from Draft to PreMarket. The “Barcode” tab then displays. When the product is in the PreMarket status, you can print a "For Placement Only" or FPO barcode image. When the product is ready to share with the marketplace, change the status to In Use. Click the "Barcode" tab to download the barcode image or share barcode definitions with a print vendor. 

Note: if you licensed a GS1 US GTIN, the status of your product is already In Use. To view the barcode image for a GS1 US GTIN, click the "Product" link. From the Manage Products page, click the "Description" for the product (in blue text), then click the "Barcode" tab.

View Create My Product and Generate a UPC-A Barcode for steps you can take to create a product.

Here are questions members have asked about working wit the UPC-A barcode in GS1 US Data Hub:

Q. Can I change the size of my barcode?
A. While you can change the size of your barcode to best fit your packaging, you should stay within the sizing restrictions noted below. If you are selling very small or oddly shaped products, other barcodes (besides the UPC-A) are available. However, some scanners are limited in what they can read and the choice of an alternate barcode should be researched before being pursued.  

Please contact one of the GS1 Standards Professional Barcode Image and Print Vendors to assist you with sizing changes.

Q. How big or small can I make my barcode? 
A. The size of your barcode will depend on the size of the bars themselves, which is given by the width of the narrowest black bar (this is called the X -dimension). These are defined in the 

GS1 General Specifications (GS1 symbol specification tables):

- The Minimum X-dimension for the UPC-A barcode is 0.0104 inches;
- The Maximum X-dimension for the UPC-A barcode is 0.0260 inches;

Based on the X-Dimensions sizes noted, the corresponding height of the barcode will be:

- For Minimum X-dimension (0.0104 inches), the bar height for the UPC-A barcode is 0.72 inches, and the minimum width is 1.174 inches (you can select this Minimum barcode size in GS1 US Data Hub)

- For Maximum X-dimension (0.0260 inches), the bar height for the UPC-A barcode is 1.8 inches, and the maximum width is 2.936 inches (you can select this Maximum barcode size in GS1 US Data Hub)

Note: "bar height" refers only to the bars and does not include the human readable interpretation (numbers) or drop-down bars (as highlighted in the image below). GS1 US Data Hub provides the human readable interpretation and drop-down bars in the image file you can download.

Also, "truncating" the barcode (reducing the height of a barcode relative to its length) is not recommended, as truncation inhibits the ability of a symbol to be scanned at the point-of-sale.

For assistance with resizing the barcode, please contact a  GS1 Standards Professional Barcode Image and Print Vendor.

Q. What are the dimensions of the "Target” UPC-A barcode image file that can be downloaded?
A: In GS1 US Data Hub, if you select "Target" from the Size section (the default selection), the dimensions of the UPC-A barcode image file, which includes the human readable interpretation and Quiet Zones, is approximately 1.15 inches in height and 1.58 inches in width. U.P.C. barcodes have a fixed relationship between barcode height and width, so if one dimension is modified, the other dimension must be altered by a proportional amount. For this reason, you should NOT resize or crop these barcodes.  

Q. What is the format of the barcode image file?
A. To save the barcode image file, click the "Barcode" tab, then "Preview Barcode." The Preview Barcode window opens. Click the Download button (highlighted below). GS1 US Data Hub provides the file as the PNG "Image Type." The PNG format is the only format available. If you require another format, such as EPS (or vector format), it’s recommended that you click the “Export Definition” button to export the barcode definitions and share these with a GS1 Standards Professional Barcode Image and Print Vendor, who can generate other image types.

Q. Will my UPC-A barcode scan?
A. The UPC-A barcode image generated by GS1 US Data Hub will scan as intended (when there are no image modifications made). However, brand owners must take an important step outside of GS1 US Data Hub to ensure their products are properly identified at retail point-of-sale. They must share product/GTIN/barcode data with their trading partners. When this product data is shared with trading partners, the trading partner can then populate their databases so their point-of-sale scanners can retrieve the product data using the GTIN within the scanned barcode.

To learn more about barcode testing and sharing your product data, visit the GS1 US Test/Verify Printed Barcodes and GS1 US Share Information Electronically pages.

Also, read the Data Hub Frequently Asked Questions to learn about the benefits of enabling "product data sharing" in GS1 US Data Hub.

 

Q. How much space do I need on either side of my UPC-A barcode? 
A. The space (or Quiet Zones) to the left and right of your UPC-A barcode must be at least nine times the X-dimension. This means they must be at least 0.0936 inches for the minimum x-dimension and at least 0.234 inches for the maximum X-dimension. If packaging or label space allows, additional open space to either side of the barcode is recommended to allow for printing needs.

 

Q. How much space do I need above my UPC-A barcode? 
A. There is not a requirement for blank space above or below a UPC-A barcode.

 

Q. What colors and backgrounds can I use in my barcodes?
A. GS1 US Data Hub presents the barcode with black bar colors on a white background. If you or your print vendors decide to change the colors, try to make your barcodes with as much contrast between the bars and the background as you can. Don’t choose similar colors for both. The best color selections for bars and background are:
- Best background colors are white, followed by red and orange;
- Best bar colors are black, followed by dark blue or dark green.

 

Q. Are there barcode placement best practices I should consider?
A. Yes, here are a few:
- Do keep the barcode on a flat surface; don’t wrap a barcode;
- Do make the barcode easy to scan; don’t add multiple barcodes on a unit or case;
- Do make sure nothing sits over the barcode; don’t cover the barcode;
- For items intended for retail point-of-sale (POS), the preferred barcode placement is on the lower right quadrant of the back. Alternative placement for a barcode is the lower right quadrant of a side of the container other than the back; bottom marking is acceptable.

For more best practices, please view the GS1 US Place Barcodes on Products page. 

 

Q. Can I download multiple barcode images at one time?
A. No, but as a best practice, you can use the Manage Products screen to download each image:

- Click the In Use tab
- Click the product detail record
- Click the Barcode Tab
- Click Preview, then the Download button

Q. My products are cylinders and my barcodes are not scanning. What can I do?
A. If the angle of the curve is greater than 30 degrees,  you should orient your barcodes so that they align with the length of the tube and the symbols look like a ladder, as shown in the image below (as opposed to a picket fence). This will help prevent the extremes of the symbol to disappear around the curve (both ends cannot be visible to the scanner at the same time).