Barcode Format


Barcode numbers come in two formats EAN (13 digits) and UPC-A (12 digits).  We normally supply barcode numbers in 13 digit EAN-13 format, with a leading 0 (eg 0799439112766 ). However, these numbers can also be used in 12 digit UPC-A format without the leading 0 (eg  799439112766 ). The actual bars produced for both of these formats are identical (see the picture below).

Outside of North America it is common to print the barcode on products in the EAN-13 format. However, some retailers’ software systems do not like numbers with a leading 0, and hence they will prefer using your barcode in the 12 digit format (eg 799439112766 ). This is fine – the number is still the same and still unique and will work OK. You can let the retailer work out which version of your barcode number they will use.


Contact us if you would like any clarification on this. You can purchase barcodes in either format here (EAN-13) or here (UPC-A).