EMP Tech Tips

Oops, I Read the Wrong Barcode!


As always, our favorite Tech Tips are the ones that we help customers with all the time.  We find customers are too often unaware of a feature in most barcode scanners that narrows down the region where the scanner will decode a barcode.  Zebra calls it Picklist mode and Honeywell calls it Centering feature.

This is particularly handy when the barcode that you want to scan is buried in with a bunch of other barcodes.  This happens frequently on shipping labels that are printed to a specification such as AIAG in the Auto Industry or DLS for the Defense Industry.

Most of us have seen a retail cashier covering up barcodes with their fingers to capture the UPC code on a package instead of the other barcodes that are printed nearby.  Sure, covering the unwanted codes up with your fingers is one way to get only the barcode that you want to scan, but there may be a better way.

Zebra's Picklist

Putting your Zebra scanner in Picklist mode or your Honeywell scanner in Centering mode makes it so that the only barcode that the reader will decode is the one that is exactly in the center of the reading area.  This is not a 100% full-proof solution, it depends on you having the desired barcode in the center of the reading window when you pull the trigger of the scanner, but with practice, most operators can get pretty good at this.

Other tricks you can use to read only the barcode that you want, are to turn off unwanted barcode symbology’s so that only the symbology of the barcode that you want is turned on.  You can also limit the length of acceptable barcodes to only the length of the barcode that you want to read.  Both assume that there is a specific barcode symbology and fixed length that your target barcode adheres to.  And that the other barcodes in the area that you do not want to read are different symbology’s or lengths.  Not always a sure thing, but sometimes it works.

Hoping this information helps the next time you are trying to read a specific barcode that is buried in a group of barcodes.  As always, contact us for all your labeling, mobile computing and RFID needs.

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