UPC barcode anatomy

Anatomy of a UPC Barcode

Marko Vrbnjak GS1

To learn something effectively you need to know the basics. The GS1 Handbook – How To Barcode Your Product tells you all about what barcodes do, what the GS1 does and how you can create, print and verify your barcodes. But before going on, let’s talk about basics. This post will analyze the structure of the UPC barcode, because understanding this will help you recreate the structure of any GS1 barcode, like EAN-8, EAN-13 or GS1-128.

UPC barcode anatomy

Anatomy of a UPC barcode 101:

First thing’s first: Universal Product Code (UPC). This is the set of numbers that are right below the actual barcode that we can read in case the barcode scan fails. The barcode is the actual set of black and white vertical lines that we see on any item we buy from stores or any packaged delivered to us.

Fun fact: barcode scanners scan the white bars, not the black ones.

Now that the difference between the UPC and barcode are clear, let’s get into the anatomy of the barcode and how it is constructed.

After you’ve registered your business with your local GS1 organization and received a company prefix, you will need to create item reference numbers for all the items you would like to sell or distribute. This will be the core of your GTIN.

Learn more about how you can create item reference numbers and GTIN’s here.

You can find out all about the GS1 system, how to create barcodes correctly and how to verify them in The GS1 Handbook – How To Barcode Your Product and read more on other barcode related tips here.

Contact us to learn how NiceLabel can help you create errorless barcodes that scan successfully every time!

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