Products available for printing barcodes
IDAutomation has provided several methods for printing barcodes. Components such as the ActiveX Controls,ASP Webserver Components and Java Barcode Packages do not require the use of additional automation tools to calculate the check digits because the calculation takes place inside the component. However, fonts offer a high level of scalability with operating systems, applications and printer independence and are sometimes easier to integrate into an application. Learn more about the benefits of using fonts over other tools.
Barcode fonts allow for printing barcodes from MS Windows, Mac, UNIX, AS/400 and a variety of other operating systems; TrueType, PCL LaserJet soft fonts, PostScript (type 1) Binary and ASCII versions are available for most symbologies. Implementing barcode solutions with IDAutomation fonts provides a high level of scalability with operating systems, applications and printer independence. For the use of TrueType barcode fonts for Windows, consider IDAutomation’s TrueType Font Package.
Non-technical users should use the self-checking barcode fonts. Self-checking fonts (such as Code 39 and Codabar) have checking code built-in so it is unnecessary to calculate check characters. Check characters are used in more dense symbologies so the barcode scanner can verify the barcode was scanned correctly. However, to help users integrate barcodes into applications, IDAutomation provides several font encoders and application add-ins to automatically format the start, stop and check characters to the barcode font.
Self-checking fonts are easy to use in graphical applications and can be entered directly from the keyboard. All barcodes require a start and stop character that must be included in the barcode so the scanner knows where the barcode starts and ends. For example, to create a barcode that encodes the data “1234ABCD” with the Code 39 Font: (1) select the font from the list of fonts in the application; (2) type the start character “!”; (3) type the data “1234ABCD”; (4) type the stop character “!”; and then change the font back to the default font of the document.
Automating the printing of self-checking fonts for a mail-merge or database report is very easy. It is important to make sure the start and stop characters appear directly before and after the data in the barcode. For example: to print the Code 39 Fonts from a MS Access report, use “!” & [FieldName] & “!” in the Control Source Field where FieldName is the field that contains the data-to-encode. To print the Code 39 Fonts from a MS Word mail merge, use !«FieldName»! for the merge field where FieldName is the name of the field to merge. This entire set of characters must have the barcode font selected for it, even though it will not appear correct in the main document. After the merge is performed, the “«” and “»” will be removed and the FieldName will be replaced with the text in the data source.
The best forms of printing from a web browser include using IDAutomation’s Streaming Barcode Server for IIS, ASP .NET Barcode Server Control or Java Barcode Servlets. See the Internet barcode FAQ for more information. IDAutomation provides the ability to use fonts in OpenType or TrueDoc format, which allows barcodes to be displayed dynamically and efficiently on web pages. A sample of fonts in this format and an evaluation of the conversion tools is available at the Internet Font Embedding Page.
Users operating in the Windows environment may use IDAutomation’s ActiveX Controls & DLLs to integrate bar-coding into any application or development platform that supports Microsoft’s ActiveX or COM specification such as Delphi, Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, FrontPage, Internet Explorer, Visual Basic and C++. ActiveX controls are easy to use drag and drop controls that have the ability to connect to data fields of a data source, such as a field in MS Access or a cell in Excel. For an easy-to-use product, when working with the more complicated non self-checking barcode such as Code 128, POSTNET, UPC, EAN, Interleaved 2 of 5 or PDF417, use the ActiveX Control if possible. ActiveX Controls only work on Microsoft Windows operating systems. IDAutomation has provided an online tutorial for using ActiveX Controls in some popular applications.
Printing from Microsoft .NET and Visual Studio Dotnet:
IDAutomation’s .NET Barcode Forms Controls are managed code components that allow easy printing of barcodes from any .NET environment. For creating barcodes in ASP Dotnet Web Applications for the Internet, IDAutomation recommends using the ASP .NET Barcode Server Control.
Java programmers and web developers may wish to use IDAutomation’s Java Barcode Packages, which contain JavaBeans, applets and servlets. These Java products may be used on any operating system with a Java virtual machine to integrate automated bar-coding into internet applications, websites or custom Java applications.
IDAutomation barcode fonts may be used to integrate barcodes into PDF documents to create virus-free portable data files that can be viewed on all operating systems with a PDF viewer such as Acrobat Reader. The fonts have been tested and work with the following PDF conversion products:
- Adobe Distiller Server works well with all of IDAutomation’s MICR, OCR and barcode fonts including symbol-encoded fonts.
- PDFLib is a library for generating PDF documents “on the fly” and generally for programmers only. PDFLib runs on Mac, Windows and several Unix platforms in addition to EBCDIC-based platforms, such as IBM eServer iSeries 400 and zSeries S/390. It is especially well suited for generating PDF on a Web server. PDFlib can generate PDF data directly in memory (instead of on file), resulting in better performance and avoiding the need for temporary files. This product was implemented by one of IDAutomation’s clients using the PostScript Interleaved 2 of 5 Barcode Fonts with Redhat Linux 6.2.
- PDF Machine is a simple printer driver that allows the creation of a PDF file from any item that may be printed. Version 6.2 supports printing with barcode fonts at small point sizes.
If the desire is to print barcode labels, but not from an existing print process, consider IDAutomation’s barcode label printing software. However, it is best to integrate barcode technology directly into the business application if there is already a print process where the barcode is needed. To print to a thermal transfer label printer, consider NiceLabel software, which prints in the printer’s native language.