UPC CODE - Online Article

UPC Bar Codes

We may saw this UPC (Universal Product Code) code in all the products whenever purchasing from our any standard shopping centre. Do you think of this any time that whom giving this code? What is the purpose of this code , how they writing this code, have you wondered ever .if you wondered ever have a glance in this article.


At first it came into existence as a punch card. This is designed by Wallace flint before 1950’s .And it get more and more modification’s and used as colored bars by all without any standard definitions.

Universal council code(UCC) is the first company which introduce the standard UPC in order to help the shop keepers .


They are divided into two categories.

Machine readable code . (Written in bars)

Human readable code. (Written with numbers)


Machine readable code contains six numbers and human readable code contains 12 numbers. Out of 12 number’s first six numbers represent the manufacturer next five numbers is given for product the last number is for reference. This last digit is the most important of all other 11 digits .since it is used to check whether the UPC is original code .it is derived from all other 11 digits. For example take the below UPC

 Here left, right, centre code are read by PC. The manufacturer, product, check digit are read by human. (The code given in above fig is just imagination).


It is very simple to decode the code.

Consider the code 63938200039.

Step 1

Take the digits from all the odd positions and add them. That is adding the 1st digit, 3rd digit, 5th digit and so on.

6 + 9 + 8 + 0 + 0 + 9 = 32

Step 2

Multiply the answer obtained from step 1 with 3

32 * 3 = 96

Step 3

Take the digits from all the even positions and add them. That is adding the 2nd digit, 4th digit, 6th digit and so on.

3 + 3 + 2 + 0 + 3 = 11

Step 4

Add the answer obtained from step 4 to the value in step 2.

96 + 11 = 107

Step 5

This is the last step that determines the check digit.

Determine the smallest number that, when added to the answer in step 4, is a multiple of 10.

107 + 3 = 110

Thus the check digit is 3.

Each time a product is scanned by the scanner, this calculation showed above is performed. The scanner reads a check digit. If the calculated check digit is different from what it reads, then the scanner shows a false signal. Thus the manufacturer will have to recheck the UPC code or has to rescan till it gets the correct code.

Sometimes smaller products are only given smaller digit UPC bar codes called zero-suppressed numbers. Apart from the manufacturers ID, it will be followed by a lot of 0’s.

The code must be get from the UCC .The last three numbers are reserved one it may specified by the shop keeper.

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