UPC Code Explanation

The Universal Product Code (UPC) is a specific type of barcode symbology that is commonly used for tracking a consumer product. Manufacturers can apply for a UPC from the Uniform Code Council. In general, the first part of the digits are the same for all the manufacturer's products and represent the name of the manufacturer. The second part of the digits refer to the product itself and are assigned by the manufacturer to the product of his choice.

UPC version A symbols have 12 digits (which include two overhead digits). The symbol is divided into two halves, each containing five digits. The first five digits of the half are the UPC manufacturer's code, and the next five digits on the right half are the product code. The overhead two digits are of two types. The first digit indicates the type of product (0 for groceries, 3 for drugs, etc.), and the twelfth digit is a check digit.

UPC version E is the next most common version of UPC. It is intended to be used on packaging which is too small for larger numbered codes. The code is smaller because it drops out zeroes which would otherwise occur in a symbol. For example. the code 64200-00066 would be encoded as 642663. The last digit (3) indicates the type of compression. The six-digit number is always preceded by a 0 and followed by the check digit.

In some cases, either of these numbers (number system digit or check digit) can be suppressed. Many retailers do not use these numbers in their databases and for that reason, when doing inventories, it is necessary that the scanner remove either the beginning number system digit or the ending check digit or both.

So, in the example above, using the scenario of removing the first and last digit, the result would be 7567816412. The 0 and 5 were removed. This is a simple task to request when renting or buying barcode readers from MSS Software.

For information on obtaining a UPC code go to http://www.uc-council.org.

MSS Software sells barcode equipment and rents barcode readers and barcode scanners for scanning UPC Codes and doing inventories.

Want to look up a UPC code? Then, go to http://www.upcdatabase.com.