Barcodes are the little black and white lines that tell you what’s inside any given package, whether it be cereal or your new laptop computer. Most of us rarely stop to think about them, and we certainly don’t know how they work

The modern barcode is an invention that has made our lives much easier, from the grocery store to the library to book stores around the world. But how does it work? How can you make your own? What kinds of businesses can benefit from using barcodes in their business? 

In this article, we take a look at what these codes are and how you can use them to streamline your processes, grow your business and attract new customers!

What are barcodes?

A barcode is a type of machine-readable code. Barcodes are linear or two dimensional patterns of parallel lines, dots, or bars that encode information about the item to which it is attached. 

Barcodes are used to identify products in stores, track inventory and shipments, provide price comparisons in advertisements, and other uses. They were first developed in 1949 by American inventor Norman Joseph Woodland and his colleague Bernard Silver. 

There are many different types of barcodes with varying levels of complexity. The most common type is a UPC (Universal Product Code), followed by an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). Another popular form is a QR Code, which stands for Quick Response code. 

It is often found on product packaging, signage, and other places where text needs to be printed more than once. Unlike traditional 1D barcodes that scan one line at a time, QR codes use 2D matrixes of square blocks arranged in a square pattern on a grid to store data. It is considered more secure because each block contains error correction encoding. 

To read this type of code all you need is any device with an internet connection such as your phone camera or smartwatch face! When viewing a QR code, scan the image with your camera and hold still until a message appears on screen informing you that it has successfully scanned. 

Woodland died in 2011 but today there are millions of people around the world working to improve our global supply chains through barcodes.

How do barcodes work?

Barcodes are a great way to label items. They're also easy to create if you have the right information. 

Here's how barcodes work: 

1. There's a machine that scans the barcode. This is usually at a supermarket checkout or on an inventory management system. The scanning device uses a light of some kind, usually lasers, to scan the barcode and retrieve the desired information encoded in it. 

Once scanned, the machine sends data through a cable to a computer which then reads this data and displays what was found. 

2. When creating your own code there are two different types of barcode fonts available - one that is readable by humans and one that computers can read more easily. 

3. For human-readable codes, you'll need to start with a font such as Arial Unicode MS (some versions will work better than others) or Code 128 B for PDFs. You'll also need a barcode creator program like Bar Code Writer Lite . 

4. What type of barcode should you use?: Depending on what information needs to be encoded into the barcode, there are many options. If you need to encode numbers only, the easiest option would be UPC-A , UPC-E , EAN-13 or EAN 8. 

These all use only numbers so it's easier for a scanner to decode them. However, if there are letters involved, you'll need another type of coding like CODE 39 which encodes letters and numbers within bars. 

5. Once you've created your barcode, you'll want to print it out using laser printer onto white paper. Laser printers produce sharper images with less smudging than inkjet printers which may smear when wetted. 

6. To prevent smudging, use a sponge or damp paper towel to remove any excess ink from the surface of the paper before placing it inside the printer input tray. 

How can I make my own barcode?

You can create a barcode for free on sites like Barcode Maker, or make one using Microsoft Word (go to Insert -> Picture). If you want to save the barcode as an image, right-click on the picture in Microsoft Word and select Save Picture As or Save Image As. 

To create a barcode in Microsoft Word go to Insert->Picture, then find the Text Box button and drag it into your document. Select File->Save as and choose JPG (.jpg) from the Format drop-down menu, name your file and click OK.

Make sure to include a space after every number or letter. To see if it scanned correctly just type in the number or letter and scan it with your smartphone or QR scanner app.

Are there any other uses for barcodes?

The most common use of barcodes is for inventory management or tracking items as they move from one place to another. 

However, there are other uses for barcodes: Some manufacturers place them on products so that the company that made it can identify their product in case of a recall. Doctors may also label surgical tools with barcodes so that if a tool is left behind during an operation, the doctor will know which tool it is. 

Barcodes have also been used to help consumers verify the authenticity of goods by scanning a code on the packaging with their smartphones. There are many more uses for barcodes than just keeping track of what’s inside containers!