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Barcodes can come in many different shapes and sizes but the technology works pretty much the same way that the Morse code does. However, instead of the dashes and dots associated with the Morse code, the barcode uses unique patterns of narrow and wide bars complete with spaces.

Let us take the number 3 as an example. In Morse code, this is represented by • • • – – (as you can see, there are three dots followed by two dashes). In barcodes, the number 3 will be represented by the illustration below:

Altering the placement of the wide elements will produce another meaning. As you can see, the technology that comes with barcodes is really just creating a machine-readable way to dissect the information. Barcodes have the ability to encode almost any string of text or numbers. They can be used to encode a company's purchase numbers, order numbers, and individual stock codes.

Using barcodes can be likened to having an accurate and fast typist, though barcodes are undeniably cheaper, faster, and more efficient. They can also be integrated into a wider system so companies can monitor their current stock levels, their sales, and overall company performance.


In order to understand how barcodes are made, it is important to look into the concept of symbologies. There are actually many different types of barcodes that are used for specific industries.

Probably the type of barcode that an average user is familiar with is the Universal Product Code (UPC). The main industry that uses the UPC technology is the retail sector; this is because UPC speeds up the process during checkout and it helps the store keep track of its inventory levels.

What most people aren't aware of is that there are other types of barcodes such as the Postnet and Special 2-D barcodes. Postal service providers usually use Postnet, while other types are geared for specific industry such as the shipping or trucking industry.

Printers and Scanners

After the appropriate symbology for the industry has been determined, text and numbers that are to be converted to barcodes will be assigned to each item for tracking. After the barcode has been created using a computer, it will be printed on the finished product.

At retail establishments, scanners are used to identify the price to speed up the process during checkout. It is important to remember that there are various printers and the scanners available in the market. The purchaser should select the most appropriate and cost-effective to enable the company to derive maximum benefit from this technology. 

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