UPC-A Barcode

by ikarus

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Font representing UPC (Universal Product Code) Barcode.

About UPC:

UPC has the following formatting: ZnnnnnnYNNNNNNZ; where:
  • Z - start/end guard bar
  • Y - midlle guard bar
  • n - digit from the first 6 numbers the code
  • N - digit from the last 6 numbers of the code

How to use:

You'll have to convert your 12 digit code into 15 strings:
  1. first you type the start guard bar: Z
  2. first 6 numbers of your code, written as usual: 0 ... 9
  3. the middle guard bar:Y
  4. last 6 numbers of your code, using uppercase symbols: ), !, @, #, $, %, ^, &, *, (
  5. the end guard bar: Z


Barcode: 256015 495837
Type in: Z256015Y$(%*#&Z

Please Note:

  • the horizontal lines above and below the vertical bars are there only to ensure proper spacing between bars. You might want to remove that, although it won't interfere with barscanners.
  • there should be no space between the characters, fontsruct generates them this way. You'll have to compensate.(corrected thanks to thalamic)

Update (03. Apr '09):

With Kerning support added to fontstruct, no more horizontal bars are needed. I shall update the tutorial illustration as well.

Info Created on 1st November 2008 . Last edited on 3rd April 2009.
License Creative Commons
Fave Tags


edit (2008.11.06): replaced old image with new (no space compensation)
Comment by ikarus 5th November 2008
FontStruct adds one grid vertical space between characters. Use the kerning trick to get rid of the space between characters, that is to say, move all glyphs one grid to the left of the blue vertical line. There won't be any need to correct the spacing manually. You will still require the horizontal bars for the characters that require extra space to the right.

Great font, BTW. And thanks for decoding UPC.
Comment by thalamic 5th November 2008

I updated the font. I do hope they'll enable us to edit kerning, maybe drawing colored bricks for that...
Comment by ikarus 5th November 2008
Hats off to you for the thorough research and execution of this UPC-A barcode font. There are quite a few barcode solutions, both softwares and fonts, but most of them for money. If someone has just one product to put on store shelves, he/she has to purchase one of those solutions, install it, just to generate a single barcode. Your font could save a lot of hassle...

I wonder, if you actually have tested your barcodes in real world. Using this font, compose a barcode of a known product (e.g. salted peanuts, or Jelly Beans, anything). Print it out (the proper size is crucial), and take it to the next superstore. Check it with the barcode scanner: it should indicate the same item, same price. 10/10
Comment by Frodo7 31st January 2010
Thanks Frodo!

Actually, It's been used on at least 2 projects already. Nominal with is 27.4mm (1.04 in), which can be scaled 80%-200%. Nominal height is 1in, also this can be a lot shorter (e.g. 1/2 in, 12mm). Remember to check character width and spacing, they should be 100%.
Comment by ikarus 1st February 2010
Cool! Check out a similar one I made called 'barkode'. It has more characters, but is not the same as yours.
Comment by Jamie Place (FontBlast) 29th August 2012
Also check out the more versatile font for EAN-13. It can also generate UPC-A.
Comment by barcode 12th November 2012