Yesterday’s Google doodle was a barcode and that got me curious. So here are some free barcode fonts in Excel and a few interesting tidbits about them.
Barcodes were developed in 1948 by Bernard Silver and were patented in 1952. While the linear pattern of the barcode is prevalent today, during its inception, bulls-eye patterns were also experimented with. However due to the problems encountered while printing of the later, the liner version caught on. The first ever purchase using a linear barcode took place on June 26, 1974 when Clyde Dawson pulled a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum out of his basket and it was scanned by Sharon Buchanan at 8:01 am. The pack of gum and the receipt are now on display in the Smithsonian Institution. (Source : wiki)
Within the 1-D and 2-D formats, there exist a number of barcode types – each with its own encoding. For example barcode 39, which is used by many companies, gets its name because it each data character in barcode 39 is made up of 5 bars and 4 spaces for a total of 9 elements. Each bar or space can either be “wide” or “narrow” however 3 out of the 9 elements (9 elements make a character) are always wide. That’s what gave the code its other name – Code 3 of 9. It was originally designed to encode 26 uppercase letters, 10 digits and 7 special characters.
Barcode Fonts in Excel
Here are some resources on the www where free barcode fonts can be downloaded:
Not to be left behind in the barcode madness, I gave it a shot and here’s DATABISON.COM encoded in barcode 39:
To make one for yourself, download the font from any of the above mentioned links, copy the font to your fonts directory, open up Excel, type in the characters you would like to convert to barcodes and then simply format them using the barcode font.