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Keep Light Margins Clear for Reliable Barcode Scanning

  • The blank spaces before and after the barcode are known as the light marginsquiet zones or clear areas.
  • Their purpose is to allow a barcode scanner to reliably detect the start and end of the barcode.
  • Therefore, you should avoid the temptation to reduce the size of these areas or place anything in them.

Keep Barcode Light Margins Clear

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How to Make an EAN-13 Barcode


In this short guide, we will show you how to make an EAN-13 barcode.

If you wish to make a batch of barcodes, you should follow the UPC-A Batch guide, but select EAN-13 at the appropriate time, and enter EAN-13 numbers instead of an UPC-A numbers. (EAN-13 numbers are one digit longer than UPC-A numbers.)

Before You Begin

We will assume that you already have an EAN-13 barcode number which you wish to use. If you need to obtain some barcode numbers for your own products, we recommend that you visit the GS1 website –

Although it may appear that there are quite a lot of settings to adjust, most are actually left at their default values. You can also save the settings for future use, so apart from changing the barcode number itself, there won’t be as much to do next time, when making more barcodes.

Creating Your EAN-13 Barcode

Step 1 – Download and Install Just Barcodes.
If you already have Just Barcodes installed, step this step.
Otherwise, download it from the Downloads Page on this website, then install it.

Step 2 – Open Just Barcodes.
If you are using the trial, click OK to close the reminder window.
(During the free 30-day trial, and there are no restrictions in the barcode quality during that time.)

Step 3 – Configure the Symbology.
Change the Symbology setting to EAN-13, as shown below.

Just Barcodes EAN-13

Step 4 – Set the Barcode Number.
Enter your barcode number into the Number box (just below the Symbology setting you selected in the previous step). In this demo, we will use the number 501234567890.

Step 5 – Configure the Scaling.
Adjust the Scaling settings if necessary. We will stick with the defaults, using 100% for magnification and height, as shown in the previous screen shot.

Step 6 – Check the Human Readable Settings.
Adjust the Human Readable settings if necessary. (These control the text under the barcode.)
We will use the defaults of Visible being checked and the Arial font being selected, as shown below.

EAN-13 Human Readable

Step 7 – Check the Barcode Options.
Adjust the barcode Options if necessary. Again, we will stick with the defaults with Auto calculate check digit being checked as shown below.

EAN-13 Options

Step 8 – Set the Output Options.
The Output Options need to be set to suit your needs. We will increase the resolution from the default of 300 to 1200 dpi. This will give us a higher quality final image. You will normally want to set this to match the resolution of the printer you plan to use. That way, you will get the best quality barcodes.

EAN-13 Output Options

Step 9 – Check the Preview.
If you wish to have a look at quick your barcode before proceeding, click on the Preview tab under the Output section.

Step 10 – Use the Barcode.
Then click the Copy Image image button near the bottom of the screen, and paste the barcode into Photoshop, where any other text and images can be added, to create artwork for your product. (Alternatively, we could have saved the barcode image as a TIFF or BMP file, and opened that file in Photoshop.)

Here is our demo document, featuring the barcode we just created.

Barcode copied from Just Barcodes to Photoshop

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Version 2 Software Releases

Along with the newly updated website, all software products have been updated to version 2 – Just Barcodes, Just Barcodes CL and Sudoku Now!

To the outside world, the changes will appear fairly minor. But there have been a number of internal changes. The revision histories, accessed from the download pages, have more details.

Licence Changes

All version 2 software requires version 2 licence keys. This is a primary reason for updating all the software versions together.

Since 2004, we have provided free lifetime updates. Sadly, that has become unsustainable, and changes became necessary.

From version 2 onwards, there is a choice of the following:

[Edited April 2018 – standard licences are no longer available.]

Standard Licence – this is similar to before – except that major upgrades will now require a new key, for which there will be a charge. If a major upgrade becomes available within 3 months of purchase, we will provide it free of charge – just fill in a free upgrade form. Minor updates will still be free, as before.

Subscription Licence – this will work for a fixed period, starting from when the key is first used. However, there is the advantage that you are entitled to free major upgrades, for a fixed period, starting from the date of purchase. A new key will be required, but will be provided free of charge – simply fill in a free upgrade form. The period for the new key will be based on the date of purchase and the length of the subscription. Minor updates will of course be free as well.