EAN-13 barcode specifications

Goals 

Please click the [ Mark Complete ] button at the bottom of this page when you’ve achieved the following goals:

  • Explain why it is important to keep within the size specifications for barcode printing.
  • Indicate where you would look up the EAN-13 size specifications (no need to memorise these)
  • State (or indicate where to locate the information for) the allowable range of magnification (percentages) for barcodes scanned at
    • Retail points of sale
    • On demand processes
    • Automated scanning
  • Explain what is meant by “Human Readable Interpretation” in a barcode, and where it should be located on a barcode.
  • Be able to look up acceptable dimensions for the Human Readable Interpretation in retail barcodes.

 

Why is proper size specification important?
  • You need to know what size to print the barcode on your product.
  • Correct size ensures that the barcode scans correctly.
  • Correct size is especially important if you need barcode verification.
  • If you don’t keep within the size specifications, some retailers may reject your barcodes.
Size-related terminology:

Bar Width:  width of barcode symbol excluding Quiet Zones

Bar Height: height of bar excluding guard bar patterns

Quiet Zone: Area of white space on either side of the bars

TIP: allow for more  quieter zone space than is strictly required in case of ink spread or printing inaccuracies.

EAN-13 size in millimeters at 100% magnification:

Barcode width = 31.35mm

Left quiet zone (left blank margin) = 3.63mm

Right quiet zone (right blank margin) = 2.31mm

Total barcode width (including quiet zones) = 37.29mm

Barcode height (excluding the number) = 22.85mm

Barcode height (including the number) = 25.93mm

 

Allowable Magnification Range

Allowable magnification range is the permitted size range for barcodes, from the base magnfication of 100%. Different scanning environments have different acceptable magnifcation ranges, as described below. The table below is applicable to EAN and UPC retail barcodes (including ISBN and ISSN barcodes).

Dimensions (All measurements in millimetres)

Magnification X-dimension Width Bar height Left Quiet Zone Right Quiet Zone
80% 0.26 25.08 18.28 2.90 1.85
85% 0.28 26.65 19.42 3.09 1.96
90% 0.30 28.22 20.57 3.27 2.08
95% 0.31 29.78 21.71 3.45 2.19
100% (standard) 0.33 31.35 22.85 3.63 2.31
105% 0.35 32.92 23.99 3.81 2.43
110% 0.36 34.49 25.14 3.99 2.54
115% 0.38 36.05 26.28 4.17 2.66
120% 0.40 37.62 27.42 4.36 2.77
125% 0.41 39.19 28.56 4.54 2.89
130% 0.43 40.76 29.71 4.72 3.00
135% 0.45 42.32 30.85 4.90 3.12
140% 0.46 43.89 31.99 5.08 3.23
145% 0.48 45.46 33.13 5.26 3.35
150% 0.50 47.03 34.28 5.45 3.47
155% 0.51 48.59 35.42 5.63 3.58
160% 0.53 50.16 36.56 5.81 3.70
165% 0.54 51.73 37.70 5.99 3.81
170% 0.56 53.30 38.85 6.17 3.93
175% 0.58 54.86 39.99 6.35 4.04
180% 0.59 56.43 41.13 6.53 4.16
185% 0.61 58.00 42.27 6.72 4.27
190% 0.63 59.57 43.42 6.90 4.39
195% 0.64 61.13 44.56 7.08 4.50
200% 0.66 62.70 45.70 7.26 4.62
Retail point of sale:

The specified magnification range for an EAN-13 Bar Code Symbol being scanned at retail point of sale is 80% – 200% (X-dimension 0.26mm-0.66mm).

On demand (e.g. thermal) print processes:

An acceptable minimum magnification of 75% (X-dimension 0.25mm) is applicable only to on demand (e.g. thermal) print processes. In this case, the bar height should never be truncated below the minimum needed height for an 80% magnification barcode symbol.

General Distribution Scanning environment (automated scanning):

Where an item may also be scanned in a General Distribution Scanning environment (automated scanning), the acceptable magnification range for a General Distribution Environment is 150% to 200% (X-dimension 0.50mm – 0.66mm).

 

What is “human readable Interpretation”?

The Human Readable Interpretation is the textual information that you can read on the barcode. Usually this is the barcode number that the barcode image encodes. This should be printed beneath the bar code symbol.

The recommended typeface for the Human Readable Interpretation is OCR-B at a height of 2.75mm at nominal size (100% magnification, X-dimension 0.33mm).

NOTE: This typeface is a recommendation only and alternative type fonts and character sizes are acceptable provided the digits are clearly legible.