EAN-13 Barcode FAQ

What is EAN-13 barcode, data set, code structure, check digit & reading EAN-13 barcodes

What is EAN-13 barcode?

EAN-13, based upon the UPC-A standard, was implemented by the International Article Numbering Association (EAN) in Europe. This standard was implemented mostly because the UPC-A standard was not well designed for international use, but probably partly because no-one likes the U.S. to be in charge of anything-especially the Europeans.

EAN-13 is a superset of UPC-A. This means that any software or hardware capable of reading an EAN-13 symbol will automatically be able to read an UPC-A symbol.

The only difference between EAN-13 and UPC-A is that the number system code in UPC-A is a single digit from 0 through 9, whereas an EAN-13 number system code consists of two digits ranging from 00 through 99, which is essentially a country code. Each country has a numbering authority which assigns manufacturer codes to companies within its jurisdiction. The manufacturer code is still five digits long, as is the product code, and the check digit is calculated in exactly the same way.

EAN-13 Data Encoding

EAN-13 barcode can encode numeric data from 0 through 9.

How many digits is EAN-13?

EAN-13 encodes 12 digits of numeric (0 through 9) message data along with a trailing check digit, for a total of 13 digits of bar code data.

EAN-13 Code Structure

The following contents will explain the meaning and structure of EAN-13 code.

An EAN-13 bar code is divided into four areas:

  • The number system
  • The manufacturer code
  • the product code
  • the check digit

EAN-13 Number system (country codes)

The EAN-13 number system consists of two digits (sometimes three digits) which identify the country (or economic region) numbering authority which assigned the manufacturer code. Any number system which starts with the digit 0 is a UPC-A bar code.

The valid number system codes are presented in the following table

00-13: USA & Canada 20-29: In-Store Functions 30-37: France
40-44: Germany 45: Japan (also 49) 46: Russian Federation
471: Taiwan 474: Estonia 475: Latvia
477: Lithuania 479: Sri Lanka 480: Philippines
482: Ukraine 484: Moldova 485: Armenia
486: Georgia 487: Kazakhstan 489: Hong Kong
49: Japan (JAN-13) 50: United Kingdom 520: Greece
528: Lebanon 529: Cyprus 531: Macedonia
535: Malta 539: Ireland 54: Belgium & Luxembourg
560: Portugal 569: Iceland 57: Denmark
590: Poland 594: Romania 599: Hungary
600 & 601: South Africa 609: Mauritius 611: Morocco
613: Algeria 619: Tunisia 622: Egypt
625: Jordan 626: Iran 64: Finland
690-692: China 70: Norway 729: Israel
73: Sweden 740: Guatemala 741: El Salvador
742: Honduras 743: Nicaragua 744: Costa Rica
746: Dominican Republic 750: Mexico 759: Venezuela
76: Switzerland 770: Colombia 773: Uruguay
775: Peru 777: Bolivia 779: Argentina
780: Chile 784: Paraguay 785: Peru
786: Ecuador 789: Brazil 80 - 83: Italy
84: Spain 850: Cuba 858: Slovakia
859: Czech Republic 860: Yugloslavia 869: Turkey
87: Netherlands 880: South Korea 885: Thailand
888: Singapore 890: India 893: Vietnam
899: Indonesia 90 & 91: Austria 93: Australia
94: New Zealand 955: Malaysia 977: International Standard Serial Number for Periodicals (ISSN)
978: International Standard Book Numbering (ISBN) 979: International Standard Music Number (ISMN) 980: Refund receipts
981 & 982: Common Currency Coupons 99: Coupons

EAN-13 Manufacturer Code

The manufacturer code is a unique code assigned to each manufacturer by the numbering authority indicated by the number system code. All products produced by a given company will use the same manufacturer code.

EAN-13 Product Code

The product code is a unique code assigned by the manufacturer. Unlike the manufacturer code, which must be assigned by the UCC, the manufacturer is free to assign product codes to each of their products without consulting any other organization. Since the UCC will already have guaranteed that the manufacturer code is unique, the manufacturer need only make sure that they do not repeat their own product codes.

EAN-13 Check Digit

The check digit is an additional digit used to verify that a bar code has been scanned correctly. Since a scan can produce incorrect data due to inconsistent scanning speed, print imperfections, or a host of other problems, it is useful to verify that the rest of the data in the bar code has been correctly interpreted. The check digit is calculated based on the rest of the digits of the bar code. Normally, if the check digit is the same as the value of the check digit based on the data that has been scanned, there is a high level of confidence that the bar code was scanned correctly. The method of calculating the check digit will be discussed later in this page.

How to calculate EAN-13 check digit

Before an EAN-13 symbol may be encoded, the software must compute the correct checksum digit which will be appended to the bar code. The checksum digit is based on a modulo 10 calculation based on the weighted sum of the values of each of the digits in the number system, manufacturer code, and product code.

In simple English, that means we must calculate a checksum value for the bar code. First, we take the rightmost digit of the value and consider it to be an "odd" character. We then move right-to-left, alternating between odd and even. We then sum the numeric value of all the even positions, and sum the numeric value multiplied by three of all the odd positions.

The steps for calculating the check digit are as follows:

  1. Consider the right-most digit of the message to be in an "odd" position, and assign odd/even to each character moving from right to left.
  2. Sum the digits in all odd positions, and multiply the result by 3.
  3. Sum the digits in all even positions.
  4. Sum the totals calculated in steps 2 and 3.
  5. The check digit is the number which, when added to the totals calculated in step 4, result in a number evenly divisible by 10.
  6. If the sum calculated in step 4 is evenly disivisible by 10, the check digit is "0" (not 10).

EAN-13 & Barcode Software

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