How to Print UPC Barcodes

pencil and barcode image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from

The Universal Product Code, or UPC, is a product identification number that is displayed as a barcode consisting of thick and thin lines and spaces. The UPC code is scanned electronically and provides information on the product, manufacturer and price. As part of a large database, UPC barcodes make it easy for merchants to manage inventory and adjust prices across the distribution chain. Actually creating a barcode, however, requires special equipment or software.

Know your symbology. Several types of UPC barcode designs are used, with a different standard length of numbers. Check with your purchasing manager if you are not sure of the type of UPC symbology used in your organization.

Create barcodes online. You can use a free online barcode generator like the one at to generate a master copy of a barcode that you can copy and use as a computer image. Enter the product number and select the symbology to generate a barcode image.


Print your own barcodes. Suppliers like provide paper labels, software and printers for creation of barcode labels. Use this option for high-volume label creation, when the free online tools may not be practical for your needs




About the Author

David Sarokin is a well-known specialist on Internet research. He has been profiled in the "New York Times," the "Washington Post" and in numerous online publications. Based in Washington D.C., he splits his time between several research services, writing content and his work as an environmental specialist with the federal government. David is the author of Missed Information (MIT Press, 2016), a book exploring how better information can lead to a more sustainable future.

Photo Credits

  • pencil and barcode image by Anatoly Tiplyashin from