Printed barcodes from MS Word not readable by Datalogic device.

We recently had a client upgrade from the Percon TopGun to the Datalogic Skorpio™ long range barcode reader (the Memor™ , for example is a standard short range reader).  All was going well until trying to read the barcodes that were printed from Microsoft Word 2007…the barcodes were not reading.  We contacted Datalogic and they were able to help us with the problem.  There were 2 issues:

  1. Carriage return was being encoded into the barcode.
  2. Mil did not meet specifications.

1. Carriage Return encoded into barcode.

When you create your barcode in MS Word you would do something like this:


Then you would change the font for *123456* to a CODE 39 barcode font.

When you look at the hidden characters you will see


The Percon had no issues reading these barcodes because it was omitting anything after the last *; however, the Datalogic devices were not.

The Fix:

On the device (Memor™ or Skorpio™), go to Scanner Setup –> Reader Parameters –> Decoding Globals
Change the setting QuietZone to Minimum

2. Mil

I never heard this term “Mil” until trying to solve this problem.  This is the definition of a Mil:

The width of the narrowest bar in a barcode, measured in 1/1000ths of an inch. The width of the narrowest bar of a 15 mil barcode is 15/1000ths of an inch. This is also sometimes referred to as the “X dimension.” With respect to scanners, the overall height or width of a barcode is not necessarily important, but the “mil” is vitally important.  Source

Mil size of a barcode is the measurement of the smallest white space between 2 bars.

Sample Code39 Barcode

Short range scanners and long range scanners have different Mil specifications:

Standard Range vs. Long Range

The Datalogic support team was able to determine that the barcodes printed from MS Word would not read because the Mil was over the limit (12.7 mil).

The Fix:

It turned out that the issue was with the font ADXC39 (and after some testing, some other fonts as well).

Solution 1:

Don’t use MS Word, use WordPad (comes with Windows).  WordPad doesn’t change the encoding or affect the Mil size as Microsoft Word does.

Solution 2:

Instead of using ADXC39 font, use the Free 3 of 9 Font.  You can download it for free.  After determining that the Free 3 of 9 barcode was reading successfully, smaller font sizes also read successfully.

Barcode Font Test Result

Note: the same barcodes printed from NetTrax using the same font would scan without an issue.  The Mil was not affected during printing.

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