How Do Barcode Scanners Work? An Easy to Understand Guide

how do barcode scanners work

Have you ever thought about how barcodes work which look so simple but contain so much information? The seemingly simple combination of black and white lines and designs that make up a barcode provide such detailed information?

How Barcodes work which are made up of seemingly simple combinations of black and white lines and designs that contain a lot of information. To interpret this data, however, we need a scanner.

This begs the question: how barcodes work? Read on to understand how barcodes work scanners extract information and how you can read barcodes on your own.

What Information Is Stored in Barcodes?

Barcodes contain information ranging from product prices to elaborate descriptions of people, products, and locations. There are two barcode categories.

One-Dimensional Barcodes

These consist of black lines of different sizes and varied spacing. They store simple information such as product prices and contents.

Two-Dimensional Barcodes

These are able to store more information than one-dimensional barcodes. They usually use shapes instead of lines to contain data (QR codes, for example, fall into this category) that range from patient information at hospitals to descriptions of historical sites.

How Do Barcode Scanners Work?

There are many types of barcode scanners. They range from those used to ring up groceries to our own smartphones. Despite the plethora of styles, they all function similarly.

Although a scanner is required to interpret barcode information, the mechanism itself is not so complicated.

  • The scanner shines a light (LED or laser) on the barcode
  • Light reflects from the barcode to the photoelectric cell
  • The photoelectric cell generates on-off pulses depending on the black and white space it detects in the barcode; black corresponds to “off,” and white corresponds to “on”
  • The scanner’s electric circuit interprets the pulses as zeros or ones
  • The computer attached to the scanner interprets the numbers, analyzes the information, and provides data
How to Read a Barcode

There are also easy ways to read barcodes directly on your computer.

When choosing a barcode reader, consider the program’s efficiency. Some allow the user to input a document with multiple barcodes. The system will scan all barcodes, eliminating the time required to scan individually. In the case of scanning an individual barcode, the program should be able to do so quickly.

It is also important that the program can interpret imperfect barcode depictions to save the trouble caused by missing information.

A simple way to achieve this is summarized in these magic words: .NET Core read barcode. Instructions are provided that will allow you to efficiently input barcodes and read their information in no time.

The Value of a Barcode

Understanding barcodes and how barcodes work is essential when it comes to extracting coded information. Such information can provide valuable insight into a product or experience.

Now that we have discussed all that is involved in barcodes, it is time to put this information to the test and start extracting information.