To have a basic understanding of what barcode fonts are, you have to have a good grasp on how barcodes work in the first place. First of all, barcodes are made up of a series of narrow and wide bars that can be scanned using a photo-type of sensor. This sensor reads the barcode, turns it into a signal which is then sent to a computer or network. This scanning method calculates the measurements between each bar and space and translates those measurements into characters.
Each pattern of bars in the code is represented by a character. All barcodes commence with a unique start character and concludes with a unique stop character. By having the barcode laid out like that, the scanning equipment can determine which way the code is scanned in, whether forwards or backward. There is also a failsafe entered into the barcode and it is called a checksum character. This character is inserted right before the stop character in the barcode. This checksum is tabulated from the other characters in the barcode and if the scanning equipment does not match the checksum during a scanning session, this is a signal that something is wrong.
There are a number of standards that can be followed in regards to barcodes. These standards are called symbologies and each has their own blueprint for barcodes. There are barcodes used for a variety of uses these days and quite a few have their own symbols. For instance, most retail products in the United States and Canada use something called a UPC and it is all numbers. In fact, there are quite a few barcodes that are all numbers. There is something called a Code 39 and it contains a combination of symbols, uppercase letters in the alphabet and numbers. This code is widely accepted all around the world.
Barcode fonts come into play because there are many businesses that are going to bar coding as a way to track their own assets as well as other mechanisms like shipping, work orders, and more. There are numerous programs a business can use in order to print their own barcodes. However, how do they figure out which program to buy? There are a variety of bar code methods in use all over the world. Plus, will there be special equipment they have to buy?
With the types of software with barcode fonts available, most any computer program that allows the user to select a bar code font option to be printed can be used. Different types of accounting software are the most common. Most of these barcode fonts are true-type fonts and are used in a variety of operation platforms like Windows, Mac and UNIX.
Some barcode fonts can only be stored in a printer’s memory. Depending on what you are printing barcodes on, the program software will enter some codes into your document and when it is time for printing, the printer interprets those codes and makes the barcode print on the document accordingly. With printer barcode fonts, there are more operating platforms that can use this method.
There are a few places on the internet that someone can download barcode fonts for free. However, for the most part, in order for someone’s barcodes to be readable in other venues and situations, purchasing barcode font software is the most logical choice.