While it’s really easy to print your own barcode labels, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to make sure your barcode labels are the best that they can possibly be. In this post, we’ll talk about the little things you can do to make sure that your barcode labels simply work.
Barcode Labels – What Are Barcodes?
A barcode represents data in machine-readable form. There are two types – linear barcodes and matrix barcodes. Matrix barcodes are square or rectangular patterns of (usually) black and white cells/modules. The most common example is QR codes. Linear barcodes are patterns of parallel lines (black bars) and spaces (white intercharacter gaps). They also contain characters (representing the data encoded in the barcode) and a check character/digit (for validation). A blank space or “quiet zone” around the barcode marks the beginning and end of the barcode.
Matrix barcodes are scanned by image sensors and analysed by processors. To read a QR code, a processor uses the corner squares to determine the size, orientation, and angle of view. The remaining pattern of dots is converted into binary numbers and validated using an error-correcting algorithm.
An optical scanner is usually used to scan linear barcodes. The scanner directs light at the barcode. The black bars absorb light and the white gaps reflect light. The scanner converts the reflected light into an electrical signal. The fluctuations in the intensity of the reflected light cause the signal to oscillate and form a pattern, which is converted into digital information.
Barcodes can encode all sorts of data. The most common usage is storing manufacturer or product information so products can be tracked through manufacturing, shipping, storage, and sale. Barcodes are also extremely useful in the retail industry. They look up product information at point of sale, track stock, track shopping habits, and redeem coupons or vouchers. They can also track people and items in specific environments. For example, tracking employees and equipment onsite, tracking tickets and admissions, tracking parcels and mail, and directing airline luggage. In medical facilities they track patients, medication, surgical kits, equipment, supplies, and medical samples.
Barcode Labels – What Sticky Labels Should I Use To Print Barcode Labels?
While you can use a wide range of sticky labels as barcode labels, some work better than others. We recommend matt white labels – solid white in colour with a non-shiny surface.
Barcode readers and scanners rely on their ability to detect the difference between white and black areas. It is vital that the reader or scanner can detect exactly where each area begins and ends, in addition to detecting the beginning and ending of the barcode itself (via the quiet zone).
If you use sticky labels with a coloured or patterned background (or transparent labels that you stick over a coloured surface), you may reduce the contrast between the elements in your barcode and prevent readers/scanners from reading your barcodes accurately. Likewise, a gloss finish (i.e. a shiny surface) may influence the light reflected back into a reader/scanner, preventing an accurate result.
When it comes to picking the perfect label size, you need to make sure your barcode labels are slightly larger (and in particular longer) than your barcodes to keep a clear quiet zone. You also need to remember that smaller barcodes are harder to read accurately. The quality of your barcode image will also influence how well your barcode labels work.
Barcode Labels – What Print Settings Should I Use To Print Barcode Labels?
You should adjust your printer’s print settings because this results in crisp, clear print that ensures your barcodes will scan correctly. In addition to selecting a “Labels” or “Heavy Paper” print settings, we recommend increasing the print quality setting. Both options slow your printer down and as a result print your barcodes at the highest possible quality.
Order Barcode Labels From Label Planet Today!
We have a wide range of white labels that are perfect for use as barcode labels. You can use self adhesive labels to quickly and easily add barcodes onto products, packaging, envelopes, and packages.
We recommend choosing white labels with a matt finish and a permanent adhesive. This ensures that any barcode scanner can read your barcodes accurately AND that your barcode labels remain firmly in place.
- White Paper Labels. Standard matt white paper labels with a permanent adhesive.
- Premium Quality White Paper Labels. Premium quality matt white paper labels with a permanent adhesive.
- Freezer Labels. Matt white paper labels with a freezer adhesive, which is useful for labelling frozen food products or medical/research samples stored in deep freeze conditions.
- Wash Off Labels. Matt white paper labels with a wash off adhesive, which is ideal for reusable containers such as jars and bottles.
- High Tack Paper Labels. Matt white paper labels with a strong permanent adhesive, which is suitable for unusual materials or curved surfaces.
- Super Tack Paper Labels. Matt white paper labels with a super strong permanentadhesive, which is suitable for unusual materials or curved surfaces.
- Opaque Labels. Matt white paper labels with an opaque backing and an opaque adhesive, which is ideal for covering existing print work or replacing out of date barcodes.
- Transparent Labels. Matt transparent labels with a permanent adhesive, which is suitable for adding barcodes onto items that are already white in colour.