Oops, I Read the Wrong Barcode!

barcode image

Our favorite Tech Tips are the ones 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.

This is particularly handy when the barcode you want to scan is buried in a bunch of other barcodes. This frequently happens on shipping labels printed to specifications 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 on a package instead of the other barcodes printed nearby. Covering the unwanted codes up with your fingers is one way to get only the barcode 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 forces the barcode reader to decode only the barcode precisely in the center of the reading area. This is not a 100% fool-proof solution, it depends on you having the desired barcode in the center of the reading window when you pull the scanner’s trigger, but with practice, most operators can get pretty good at this.

Other tricks you can use to read only the barcode you want are to turn off unwanted barcode symbologies so that only the symbology of the barcode 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 your target barcode adheres to a specific barcode symbology and fixed length.  And that the other barcodes in the area that you do not want to read are different symbologies 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. Contact us for all your labeling, mobile computing, and RFID needs.

Still have questions? Contact our team to get answers.

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