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Bar Code Labeling Software

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by rickman, May 9, 2013.

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  1. rickman

    rickman Guest

    I need to label some packages I will be shipping, both the bags the
    boards are in and the boxes. There will be several fields on the labels
    and each field has a bar code, CODE128. I may also try to label the
    individual boards, but there isn't much room for a label, maybe on top
    of the FPGA. I found some software that is supposed to work with Open
    Office, but I haven't figured out quite how to make it work (I'll spend
    a little more time with it later today). I want to print onto the
    pre-cut label sheets of a couple of different sizes.

    In case the Open Office software is a bust for me, I wondering what
    others use for this? I don't think I will be using this more than once,
    so I'm not looking to spend a bunch on it.
  2. rickman

    rickman Guest

    I decided to cross post this to c.a.e

  3. Nico Coesel

    Nico Coesel Guest
  4. Ivan Shmakov

    Ivan Shmakov Guest

    I guess that GNU Barcode [1] and Perl's Barcode::Code128 [2] may
    be worth a look.


    Usually, I'd use LaTeX for such a task (along with some Shell
    scriptery, etc.), even if it's (quite) a bit of an overkill.
    However, I believe that any general purpose barcode generator
    out there now has an option to produce PNGs, which could then be
    imported into whatever page layout software used.
  5. rickman

    rickman Guest

    Thanks for the links. I need to ship this tomorrow so I don't have time
    to learn a bunch of stuff. I went to Office Depot and the clerk seemed
    like a reasonable fellow, but didn't really know anything about what
    software might print barcodes.

    The page has an "online" barcode generator that uses jquery.
    The page looks great, but I can't figure out how to get the image.
    Right clicking doesn't give an option to save the image even though
    there are four choices for the image format. I was even able to get the
    page to work offline by saving it on my hard drive, but still no image
    file. I wish I could get Firefox to run, but it seems to crap out on my
    system these days. I can always get an image on a webpage from FF.

    Any suggestions? Am I missing something obvious?
  6. rickman

    rickman Guest

    This seems to be working out. I won't get a chance to scan it, but I
    have added the font and gotten it to work in a spread sheet. Now I just
    need to format the labels on forms and buy sheets the to print them on.

  7. rickman

    rickman Guest

    Yes, I could do that, but I found another way. Turns out the wiki page
    on Code128 has some links at the bottom of the page for sources of code
    and tools. One of them led me to a font package with an Excel macro
    that does *exactly* what I need. Type the info into one cell and the
    barcode shows up in another cell. Size each of the cells appropriately
    and adjust the font size of the bar code and Bob's your uncle!

    I had to trust the author since this uses a macro which could have been
    a virus. I scanned it first, but I don't know how well AVS works to
    find BASIC coded viruses in macros. But he said he it wasn't a virus,
    and I'm sure he wouldn't lie... lol.
  8. MrTallyman

    MrTallyman Guest

    CodeSoft label software by TekLynx
  9. So much of this depends on the context. From the mention of
    OpenOffice I assume that this is a one-off hand-assembled document
    rather than programmatic ouput from a DB or whatever. I've only
    had an occasional use for that and I've always found a suitable
    web-based generator to paste in from, e.g. That seems
    to be among the better online options in that it has a wide choice
    of formats and the option of EPS output - I'm not overly inclined
    to trust low res bitmaps for something like this.

    Formatted printed output from programs generally means Postscript
    in any event (for a Unix shop at least ;-) ), so inserting a
    barcode generation function in the header and then calling it with
    the right options later is no big hassle. I wrote a Postscript
    EAN-13 generator a few years back - it only took about an hour and
    I'm far from a Postscript expert, but I notice the same author as
    above has a far more comprehensive library at which looks promising,
    although I have no direct experience of it.
  10. GNU barcode writes EPS, as well as other formats.

  11. Ivan Shmakov

    Ivan Shmakov Guest

    [Cross-posting to news:alt.barcodes.]

    Even given that the majority of barcodes (and non-bar codes,
    such as the QR code) are essentially raster? (Well, except the
    alphanumeric label, if any.)
    Yet, I cannot refrain from reminding that PostScript is /not/ a
    format, but a fully-featured programming language (which has
    certain implications on its own.) Surely, I'd prefer to handle
    a format which I can parse, instead of one I have to /execute/.
    (Generally, that'd mean either PDF or SVG, although the support
    for either seem to be falling behind that for PostScript.)

  12. rickman

    rickman Guest

    Yes, a two off actually, two labels and they will need to be updated for
    the specific shipment, date, PO number, ect. I like using a spread
    sheet for this sort of thing since both the positioning of the fields is
    easy and it provides data functions. I found an Excel macro online. I
    just looked at the page you provided and the bar codes from the two
    sources don't seem to agree. I need to find a third source to verify
    which is right... unless I end up with three different outputs of the
    same thing! lol

    I just don't have the time to deal with bar codes any more for now. I
    have to get the rest of the paperwork in order. Exports are a PITA.

    Thanks for the links!
  13. Yes - I've had too many problems with bitmap barcodes in the past.
    It seems the biggest problem is that most printers seem to see a
    raster image and assume it's fair game for dithering. "Dotty"
    barcodes don't scan very well.
    It's horses for courses. Personally I view that programmability
    as its greatest strength - it means you can draft a standard job
    header containing the relevant functions and from then on the
    job-specific stuff is high-level stuff that reflects both the
    logical layout of the job and the internal layout of the program
    doing the generation.

    Since the issue here is barcodes consider drawing one "manually".
    You'll have a sequence of commands :

    Go to x1,y1
    Define box width x2 height y2
    Fill with black.
    Go to x3,y3
    Define box width x4 height y4
    Fill with black...

    30 or 40 times over. That kind of generation gets real tedious
    real fast and the resulting code inevitably looks a right mess.
    In contrast with postscript you define a standard function once in
    the job header and then simply call it, e.g.

    (1234567890123) ean13

    Of course you can argue that the complexity is simply shifted but
    it always seems a _lot_ cleaner to me to put the smarts in the job
    itself as opposed to the program - it saves "bitty" I/O for one
    thing and expresses the complex stuff in a language designed for
    the task at hand.
  14. Jasen Betts

    Jasen Betts Guest

    barcodes have integer-width stripes, this layout fits well with
    bitmaps if the scale factor is an integer. Bitmaps will oftem be
    more space-efficient than vector formats, especially if the bitmap
    format allows non-square pixels,
  15. Ivan Shmakov

    Ivan Shmakov Guest

    [Cross-posting to news:alt.barcodes.]

    Yes, that's what I wanted to say. However, there's indeed an
    issue with various software packages, which apply interpolation
    on scaling by default. Which means that the image gets the
    blur, the shades, and, finally, the dithering that was observed.
    And, frankly, while searching for an option to disable such
    interpolation for raster graphics may be an endeavor on its own,
    this whole issue rarely arises when using vector graphics.
    ... And as long as one embeds the raster in question into a
    vector image, this will almost always be easy to achieve.
  16. Guest

    I used gnu barcode and awk to create a unix printer interface which would
    produce barcode labels for a POS system I did some years back. This
    worked very well, and while I'm not sure why you would want to parse the
    output (postscript) rather than simply print it, I would +1 for gnu
    barcode ... it just worked for me.

  17. rickman

    rickman Guest

    I'm not sure what you are saying. The label I need has a number of
    fields with a value and a barcode for each one. I ended up arranging it
    in a reasonably easy to read format that fits on a standard label sheet.
    I formated the Excel barcodes into labels arranged the labels on a
    page and print them out when needed.

    I've have yet to verify that the barcodes are actually readable
    though... lol I hope they aren't giving my customer fits. I'm sure I
    wouldn't hear about it either way.
  18. Guest

    At work many years ago management decided to put barcode labels on all our process equipment: pressure gauges, flowmeters, level sensors, etc. My predecessor decided on PDF417 (we can fit quite a bit of data in there) and BarTender's software. It's buggy though (or at least the version we got); ifwe want to print a single label the software truncates the output from time to time. It's maddening. But when we print multiple labels from the MS Access database, that works fine. The on-site engineer just waits for me toarrive if he wants new labels printed. Oh, and we got a parallel-port Zebra printer of some sort. When the computers were upgraded, tech support said the printer would not work with a USB-to-parallel adapter, but I proved them wrong XD
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