Barcodes In Microsoft Word
Creating a barcode in MS Word is utterly frustrating. Here are my hints on how to make a code 39 barcode in Word.
First, find a working bar code font:
A totally free barcode font for both personal and corporate use (but not resale). It's free as in beer. And it's not on some overspammed "free font" website either. I've tested the font from the page below with many scanners including "standard" Symbol barcode scanner.
Second, in Word:
Disable any and all autotext, autoformat, and autocorrect features. Actually, the only auto options in Word that need to be disabled are those referring to automatically changing *text* to er... bold.
ALSO, be very careful with the text selection. Spaces and paragraph markers do change the barcode! In once case, I got fed up with Word constantly changing the text that I was trying to select for a font change. It keeps selecting trailing spaces and line breaks. My hack was to put "hidden" i.e. white characters beside the barcode -- there is probably a better solution.
And if it still doesn't work, do NOT USE MS-WORD! It tries to be too smart, and failing miserably - this goes for Open Office's "Writer" too.
Word Pad is good. Access Reports are well behaved. It seems to be that "Word Processors" are brain dead with respect to bar coding stuff.
Update: Quirk in Access Reports - add the asterisks in the query, do not add it in a calculated report field. Weirdness can occur.
Misc Bar Code Notes:
Code 39 requires *'s around your barcode "text". E.g. *12356* - without the proper syntax for a bar code, you've got nothing but funny vertical lines.
Keep in mind that there are a many different barcode standards. UPC, mail address, and others are different from Code39.
Code 39 lacks error check digits, i.e. misreads will happen eventually. Code 128 (or others?) are better, but harder to generate.
tags: barcode, code39,
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