Barcode not Scannable from 203 dpi Printer

< Back
You are here:

Barcode not Scannable from 203 dpi Printer

When printing barcodes to a printer of less than 600dpi (dots per inch), the printer may not accurately reproduce the exact bar and space ratios which can result in a read error on the barcode scanner or verifier.


To accurately reproduce barcodes with low resolution printers, please follow the recommendations below depending on the product being used:

Barcode Fonts:

When printing barcodes fonts to a printer with less then 600dpi, such as a thermal 203dpi printer, the print should be no smaller than 20 points. Otherwise, print at the point sizes specified in the chart below.

 Barcode Font TypeFont point sizes required to match DPI of printer when printing less than 20 points
 203dpi Printer 300dpi Printer
 Code 39 (Version 5.1 or greater) 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36
and other multiples of 6
 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28
and other multiples of 4
 Code 128 (Version 5.1 or greater) 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36
and other multiples of 6
 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28
and other multiples of 4
 Codabar * 5, 10, 15, 20 (* see note below) 3.8, 8, 16 (* see note below)
 Interleaved 2 of 5 * 12.5, 25 (* see note below) 5.75, 10, 14 (* see note below)
 MSI * 6, 11.5 (* see note below) 2.5, 5, 7.4, 10, 9.8, 12.2 (* see note below)
 UPC/EAN 17, 22, 30 15, 20, 25
 Universal Barcode Font 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36
and other multiples of 6
 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28
and other multiples of 4
 Data MatrixQR-Code and PDF417 fonts must use the IDAutomation 2D S font. 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36
and other multiples of 6
 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28
and other multiples of 4

* NOTE: Interleaved 2 of 5, Codabar and MSI were very close to printing properly at the font sizes listed in this chart. However, to create completely accurate ANSI grade A barcodes on low resolution printers, IDAutomation recommends the Universal Barcode Font Advantage™, which creates accurate barcodes on low resolution printers when printing at narrow to wide ratios of 2:1 or 3:1. The Universal Barcode Font Advantage also works on any operating system, code page and locale and creates Interleaved 2 of 5, Codabar and MSI as well as other barcodes such as Code 128 and Barcode 3 of 9 as a single font.

It is necessary to use the point sizes specified in the chart above with low resolution printers so that there are the exact number of dots required to create the exact ratio of bar and space sequences. Because fonts cannot calculate or perform operations on their own, they have no method to compensate for low resolution devices. This is not usually an issue with 600dpi or greater printers. For example, to properly print Code 128 fonts to a Zebra Thermal 203dpi printer print at one of the following exact point sizes: 6, 12, 18, 24 or 30.

If the software does not support printing at the above specific point sizes, then the barcode must be printed at a point size larger then 20 points otherwise, the barcode will not function.

Barcode Components and Applications:

IDAutomation offers the following products that automatically compensate for low resolution printers by performing calculations internally:

  1. Barcode Label Software
  2. ActiveX Control & DLL
  3. .NET Windows Forms Control
Web Applications:

When printing from the web browser, is it often difficult to accurately print to low resolution printers. The following suggestions should allow the barcode to print properly:

  1. When using IDAutomation’s ASP.NET Web Component, use method 3 and set the resolution of the component to match the printer. This is the best product to use for low resolution printers on the web.
  2. For all other web based barcode products, please refer to the Web Imaging page.
Ink Jet Printers:

It is difficult to accurately produce symbols on ink-jet printers. Satisfactory output can also be achieved on ink jet printers by increasing the font size and using proper paper. However, experience has taught us that laser printers produce more consistent, accurate and dependable output. If there is a choice in printers, choose the laser printer.

Other Options for Thermal Transfer Printers:

If the above options do not solve the problem, it is possible to write a custom application that uses the printer’s own language. Refer to the printer’s programming manual for details. This option requires major programming and usually limits printing to that printer, each printer has its own language.