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A Guide to Using Barcode Scanners and Barcode Software For Your Business

A Guide to Using Barcode Scanners and Barcode Software For Your Business
By Alan Robinson

If you own a business and have difficulty tracking your stocks, you should get a barcode scanner and software to improve efficiency. A barcode, or universal product code (UPC), is a label for an item which a scanner can read. These UPC barcodes were invented to help grocery stores keep track of their inventory and speed up the checkout process but, soon after, many other uses were discovered.

UPCs are registered with the Uniform Code Council (UCC) and a new manufacturer can apply to the UCC for permission to use UPC. This costs the manufacturer an annual fee and he will get a six digit manufacturer identification number. Every twelve digit UPC code contains the manufacturer identification number as part of the code.

A UPC symbol will contain both a machine-readable barcode and a human-readable twelve digit UPC number. The manufacturer number is the first six digits, then you have the item number and then the check digit. This digit is attained by performing a calculation on the first digits. When using barcode scanners, if the check digit is incorrect, this means the scanner has not scanned the barcode successfully and must rescan it.

Some barcode scanners connect to a USB port or PC keyboard as a terminal, so there is no need for an external power supply. The barcode terminal scans the data, which in turn is sent to the PC as if it had been typed on the keyboard. This makes using scanners quick as well as simple.

Handheld barcode scanners are useful for reading barcodes and using scanners is easy. Some barcode scanners have inbuilt decoders which are capable of reading different barcode symbologies. The lowest priced barcode scanners on the market often do not have the complicated decoders the higher priced ones come with.

To use a handheld scanner, you simply move it at a constant speed across the barcode. For a non-handheld scanner, you move the item under the scanner. Using barcode scanners is very simple and the newest ones are ergonomic so they stay comfortable, even if you have to use them all day long.

Types of Barcode Software

There are different kinds of barcode software, meaning that barcode scanners can carry out different tasks. Here are some examples. Barcode scanners can track both fixed assets, such as laptops or legal case documents and inventory such as mass goods. Scanners use software to integrate barcodes into an existing database. Some scanners can print barcodes on labels, which is useful for labeling shipments for example. There are also many other types of scanner software for different purposes.

Some Good Barcode Scanners

Symbol barcode scanners are easy to use. The Symbol LS 2208 which is a great value handheld scanner and the LS 3408 series scanners which can read barcodes up to forty five feet away.

HHP barcode scanners have a very good reputation. The HHP Hand Held Image Team 3800 is a durable, hand held scanner which can be used in bright sunlight as well as indoors. This scanner can read barcodes up to three feet away and is small, light and comfortable to use.

Using barcode scanners is quick and easy to learn. There are many different scanners to choose from and newer barcode scanner technology is being developed all the time.

If you are on a budget, you might want to consider buying a used barcode scanner. Visit for free advice on different types of barcode scanners and barcode readers.

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