Creating barcode SKU labels
Since our announcement went out with the new Receiving Guide, requiring a SKU barcode on every product, there have been a lot of questions from our clients on how to barcode their SKUs themselves. For a lot of our clients that don't use a commercial manufacturer, this requirement could be concerning. This guide is meant to help the DIYer to print SKU label right at home and apply them to the product before sending it to us.
NOTE: Please see the "Verification of Labels" section at the end of this document before placing the printed labels on your product and sending them to us.
Pick your label Stock
These are available at almost every office supply store and a lot of other stores that carry office supplies and they come in a vast assortment of size / shape that you can pick the right one for your product. They even have an option where you design the label on their website and they will print and mail the labels to you. It's a great option if you don't have a printer or don't want to deal with ink and label stock for the printer.
For the purpose of this guide though the steps are the same whether you are having Avery print the labels and mail them to you or if you are printing them yourself. So, either visit a local store or browse around online and determine the label stock that you want to use on your products and purchase those labels.
Unfortunately, the previously suggested Avery program has been producing some unusable barcodes for clients, as of late, and the barcodes fonts can sometimes be finicky as well.
We currently suggest the use of the following tool to generate your barcode formats, as it will generate them in any of the formats we list as supported in our Receiving Guide.
Choose your selected encoding format, such as Code-128, Code39, various 2d/QR codes, or any other in the list provided in the Receiving Guide.
Enter your data into the "Data" box.
Select "Refresh" if the label preview does not automatically update.
Download the resulting barcode. It will be an image format (gif by default), which can be converted into other image formats (such as png, jpeg, etc.) if desired.
At this point, you can insert the images into a Word Document, spreadsheet, etc. and arrange them as needed to fit your intended print output.
It is entirely probable that some clients will already have a barcode generator or system of preference. Provided it can use the formats listed in the Receiving Guide, this should be fine, but please consider testing them and/or submitting examples for testing, so we can ensure their viability.
Verification of Labels
Now that you have your SKU labels printed we need to verify that the barcodes can be read by our scanners. Many things can affect the readability of barcodes including the size of the Font used and the quality of the printer. Our scanners here use 2D technology to decode both the 1D & 2D barcodes similar to many smartphone apps. So that is the quickest and easiest way to verify that your barcodes are readable. Many people already have an app on their smartphone that can read/scan barcodes (if you don't head to your phone's app store and search for 'barcode' you should have many choices to choose from). Open up that app and then point it at your newly printed barcodes if the app can decode the barcode then you should be just fine to label your product and send it to us.
Thanks for the information.
First Question: Because I live and work in Bali Indonesia we don't have access to Avery labels. I have had to create my own templates. I created 2 sizes - small and large. When I used my barcode scanner app on my iphone I discovered that the smaller size would not scan. The larger template which creates a bigger barcode label is able to be scanned. Both tests were printed from the same printer. Why would the smaller barcode label not scan? Is that a printer issue?
Second question: Do you know which barcode printer is compatible with a Macbook Pro OS X Yosemite 10.10.4
Third question: Can EFS scan from a barcode that is printed on regular paper enclosed in a poly bag?
Answer 1: It could potentially be a printer issue. The printer may not be accurate enough printing a small barcode that when scanned the scanner (or your phone) can't see the difference between the thickness of the lines/whitespace of the barcode. However, this issue could also be from what process you used in your software when you generated the smaller barcode. If you stretch or shrink the barcode image you could potentially change the thickness of the lines/whitespace and make the barcode unreadable to any scanners.
Answer 2: Depends on what you are referring to when you say 'barcode printer' In this guide I am talking about using label stock in a standard 8.5"x11" desktop printer. Which there are many available for a Mac. If you are referring to a smaller printer that is meant to print labels on a roll, then any printer that supports ZPL will work as Macs have ZPL language driver built in. So any Zebra printer like these would work as well as many, many third party printers support ZPL language.
Answer 3: Unfortunately, that would be very difficult for us as the poly bag could cause issues reading the barcode and take a significate more effort on the part of the operations staff to smooth out the poly bag to try to get a good scan through the bag. So that is why we require the barcode to be on the outside of the bag.
I hope this helps!
yes, that really helps. thank you for the reference to zebra products.
I have been successful at creating Option 1 - now to find the labels. Apli is the supplier here. Your choice of 5160 (1 x 2-5/8) from Avery did fit my barcode that I created in Avery. Would a Size: 64.6 x 33.8mm be a good compromise? It's 3 across and 8 down (2 less down than avery).
I haven't been able to work out option 2 because I can't find the font called code 39. I downloaded it and clicked on fre3of9x.ttf which gave me a font book. However, I seem to find the code 39. Am I missing something?
Appreciate you support.
If you have access to a label from a different manufacturer that is 64.6 x 33.8mm and is 3 across and 8 down then I would try the Avery template #5363 as that would be the closest match to that and it may just work.
As far as installing the font here is a link to an article that shows how to install fonts on various operating systems, once you have it installed you should be able to see it in your Font Book on the Mac under 'New' as seen below:
Excellent support. Thank you for the installation link for the font and where to locate it.
At the moment, we do have in stock and always available is a
Size: 38 x 21.2mm label. Would you know how this one would convert in Avery labels. I like to see if I can create it and test it with my iphone scan app.
(In fact, I could also get a QR on that size as well as a barcode. Is EFS accepting QR? That might be an alternative to this label size and my printing issues.)
Again, thanks for your help.
We do support QR codes. As far as the other label size goes. I was unable to find a label from Avery that matched that size.
Thanks for checking. Appreciate your help.
I'm doing Option 1 and it defaults to Barcode Code 28, is that correct?
I have been use Avery online to create QR codes. It is easy and takes up less space and ink. Also the clarity is better than long vertical bar codes.