UPC-A Introduction

UPC-A general information & generating and scanning components

UPC-A Overview

UPC-A is one of the most common and well-known barcode types, which is widely applied to retail in the United States. It is also known as Universal Product Code version A, UPC-A Supplement 5/Five-digit Add-On, UPC-A Supplement 2/Two-digit Add-On, UPC-A+5, UPC-A+2, UPC Code, UPC Symbol, GTIN-12, GS1-12, UCC-12. Moreover, the UPC-A Code and the assignment of manufacturer ID numbers is controlled in the USA by the Uniform Code Council (UCC).

UPC-A is a subset of EAN-13. To be specific, an UPC-A bar code is an EAN-13 bar code with the first EAN-13 number system digit set to "0". Beyond this, UPC-A barcode is able to convert to UPC-E.

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Generating and Printing UPC-A Barcodes

OnBarcode has comprehensive UPC-A barcode generator and scanner components for Java, .NET, Android, iOS developments and several reporting applications.

UPC-A Structure

A typical UPC-A has the following structure:

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An UPC-A barcode includes four areas:
  • Number System: It is one digit only which identifies the "type" of product, e.g., o: Regular UPC codes, 5: Coupons, 9: Reserved, etc.
  • Manufacturer Code: It has five digits in all, which is assigned by the UCC Council to each manufacturer or company that distributes goods with a printed UPC-A barcode. All products produced by a given company will use the same manufacturer code.
  • Product Code: It includes five digits, which is a unique code assigned by the manufacture. And manufacturers can assign their product codes randomly as long as all of their products have different codes.
  • Check Digit: It is an additional digit used to verify the accuracy of the data encoded. And the checksum digit can be computed base on the rest digits of the barcode.

Converting a UPC-A to UPC-E

The conversion between UPC-A and UPC-E has four situations:
  • If the last three manufacturer codes are 000, 100, or 200, the UPC-E barcode is composed of the first two characters of the manufacturer code, the last three characters of the product code, and the third character of the manufacturer code.
  • If the last two manufacturer codes are 00 but are not available in situation 1, the UPC-E barcode is composed of the first three characters of the manufacturer code, the last two characters of the product code, and the digit "3".
  • If the last manufacturer code is 0 but is not available in situation 1 and 2, the UPC-E barcode is composed of the first four characters of the manufacturer code, the last character of the product code, and the digit "4".
  • If the manufacturer code does not end in 0, the UPC-E code is composed of the entire manufacturer code and the last digit of the product code (5 to 9).

UPC-A Barcode Size Setting

UPC-A barcode width and height can be adjusted by users, but the settings must be in compliance with some requirements. Please obtain more information from UPC-A size setting instruction..

UPC-A Encodable Characters

UPC-A can encode:
  • Numeric digits: 0 to 9

UPC-A Add-On or Supplement Data

Add-On Symbols are used for encoding supplementary information of the main bar code symbol on periodicals, hardback, and paperback books. The supplement data is 2 or 5 digits which should appear above the additional barcode image.

    UPC-A Supplement 2

    UPC-A Supplement 5

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