How to Make Your Own Barcodes

Posted by Siobhan Hitchmough
Barcoding 101 - drawing of a barcode

[Note: We’ve written a newer, more detailed post on How to Create Barcodes.]

Using barcodes to enter products can be quicker and more accurate than manually typing in item codes. If your products already have barcodes on them, then all you really need is a barcode scanner and some software. If not, you can first make your own barcodes.

If your products are going to be sold in other retail stores, you’ll need to use standardized formats and pay to make sure your barcodes are unique. We won’t cover that in this article, but you can find more information in our free PDF book entitled Barcode Your Small Business.

Otherwise, if the barcodes are just for your business’ own use, it’s pretty easy to print them yourself. Barcodes are just a special way of writing letters and numbers so that a scanner can read them. You can make up your own letter/number codes (e.g. ABC1234) for each of your products. Then use some software like IDAutomation’s free version of their barcode label printing software to print them as barcodes onto some sticky address labels, like those Avery sells in office supply stores. You can then peel them off and stick them onto your products, and you’re all set.

If you want to print barcodes directly onto your packaging or other materials, you can instead get a barcode font and use that to type them into your designs in Microsoft Word, Publisher, Adobe PageMaker, etc.

There are different types of barcode fonts and symbols -- Code 39 is the simplest type, but perfect for your company’s own use. In fact, we offer our own free code 39 font! Other common types you might come across are UPC-A in North America and EAN-13 in Europe.

Don’t let all the barcoding jargon scare you away -- it’s quite easy to get started and you can really speed things up for your business.

If you’re looking for the full picture on how to use barcodes for your business, you can download “Barcode Your Small Business” for free. It’s a quick and informative read that will show you everything you need to know get a complete barcode system up and going for your business.

Need barcode maker software that also reads barcodes?

inFlow Cloud offers powerful inventory management, and it was designed with barcodes in mind. Our Windows app can scan your products right onto sales orders or stock adjustments, so you can get your day-to-day work done faster.

Want to see how easy it is to make barcodes and barcode labels with inFlow? Check out this three-minute video we filmed at our office!

How to generate barcodes for your inventory | inFlow Cloud

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Siobhan Hitchmough

About Siobhan Hitchmough

Siobhan Hitchmough is a customer advocate, community manager and part-time tutorial wrangler. When she's not seeking out new challenges she leads the community and support team at inFlow Inventory.

Have a question or comment? Let us know below!

  1. Hello saw your video I don’t want to create for shelves use .I want to create my own barcodes for each product brand I handmade .it will only be sold in my store no other can I use your program scanner and software for this.

    1. Hi Shaniqua, yes you could use our software (inFlow Cloud) to generate unique barcodes for items sold in your stores.
      If you want to label the actual products instead of the shelves, we recommend using DYMO label printers because our software integrates nicely with theirs.
      Once you have everything labelled, you could just scan the items to add products to an invoice.
      If you’d like to start a free trial, you can talk directly with our onboarding team to show you how you could get that done: https://www.inflowinventory.com/signup

  2. hello
    good day sir
    i am new in this barcode
    my boss told me to incorporate a barcode on the labels of our product
    now the first question is, does we need to have permit with it or is it free.
    i am from the philippines, is there a software to use or what are the needs to utilize barcode in our products

  3. hi we are a retail chain and need a solution for stock taking , is it possible that to read and count similar product with same Barcode in one go using some scanner, hope you are getting my point – suppose there is Heinz Ketchup on a Rack and 10 of them are placed , do u have a device that can read these multiple ketchup bottles in one go

    1. Hi Puneet, our software, inFlow Cloud, can do that with smartphones, USB barcode scanners, or our Smart Scanner.
      Once you associate the barcode with your product (ketchup), you could just scan the barcode once and change the quantity to 10. Or you could scan the barcode ten times.

  4. Hello,
    Can you pleases tell me can i make my own barcodes without registration to Gs1 in India i have very small bussiness. The fee of Gs1 is so expensive. Thanks

  5. SIR I need a simple help .
    How can i use this barcodes (generated by own) as an input source for entering bills in a local software which i am currently using???

    1. Hi Ronit; you don’t usually use barcodes to enter entirely new information. But you could use the barcode to look up an existing invoice or bill by including the barcode on the printout. Software like inFlow can recognize barcodes on invoices and bring up the specific invoice in the software when you scan that barcode.

  6. We are a small genealogy system library.
    We compile, bind & publish some books.
    Would like to use barcodes in back covers.
    This would be used for inhouse inventory,ETC.
    Would rules be broken because we have barcodes on the books sold??
    Thanks Rich
    richardlh1@windstream.net

    1. Hi Richard,

      We can’t speak to whether or not it would break rules because you’d know your industry bet, but we’ve certainly heard of other businesses using their own barcodes for internal use. That’s quite common.

      If you don’t want to put the barcodes on the actual books, you could also consider barcoding your shelves. When you take the book off of the shelf, you can just scan that instead of the actual book.

  7. I want to make my barcode for the automotive assembling company. I haven’t the software and I don’t know how to make the barcode

  8. Good day: TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
    I need to create my own barcodes because I supply my product to retail stores. At this very moment I do not have any knowledge about barcodes. It is important that I have to supply my own barcodes for about 70 items of products on each packaging to keep my costs as low as possible, are important. What about barcode software that are user-friendly so that I will be able to print out the barcodes for each product as needed, without product prices.
    Please be helpful.

    1. Hi Frans,

      It sounds like our software would be a good fit for your needs. inFlow can help you create barcodes and we can sync up with DYMO printers, so you can easily print out those barcodes onto label stickers. These labels can just include the barcodes, without any other item information.

      If you’d like to give our software a try, please head to https://www.inflowinventory.com/ to start a free trial.
      If you have any questions during the trial, you can contact our team from right inside our web app, and we’d be happy to help.

  9. We have a need to print our own bar code label with very specific ID information which would then be scanned. We would then need to scan one or two additional codes placed on by the manufacturer and then dump it all into a data base and then be seen or printed as single lines of data, i.e. XY A12345 FG654321 ?

    1. Sorry Matt, I’m not sure I follow the question. However, I can tell you that inFlow does support multiple barcodes for one product. So if you have a manufacturer barcode and your own internal one, you can attach both of these to a single product. If you have several barcodes that mean different things about the product, inFlow does offer custom fields for storing extra data; so you could scan one of the other types of barcodes into a custom field. You can have up to ten custom fields for products overall.

  10. I have 100 products in apparel section and need to create barcode. I any one can help to make this for my startup.

  11. I have 5 product varieties with each having 30 sub types. I need to create barcodes. What is the best way to do it keeping in mind that tomorrow I will have franchises working with me and selling the same. Motive to achieve is easy stock management and standard invoicing.

  12. I sure hope this helps me out. I have been trying for a week to find a way to create barcodes for my Little business. I am getting close I can feel it. I will figure it out soon.

  13. I am trying to put a QR code on my buisness card so my buyers can scan with their phones and listen to samples of my music.can you inform me on how to do this.

    1. Hi Jason,

      Our software isn’t able to generate QR codes for you, but the good news is that you can easily find a lot of QR code generators on Google.
      I’d just google “qr code generator” and then find one that can generate a QR code for a URL.
      You’d put your website into the URL field, and then generate the QR code.
      Then use a QR code app on your phone to scan the QR code to test that it works.

      Good luck!

  14. I need to make one barcode for a pallet with random serial numbers of 7 but I when I scan it for Inventory I want it to go on excel where it tabs vertical? I can’t get it to go vertical in the columns when I scan it.

    1. Hi Lee,

      Sorry, I’m not sure what you mean by tabbing vertical. Do you mean that the text in the cell goes vertical? If so, that’s a setting you can set for a particular set of cells in Excel: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/align-or-rotate-text-in-a-cell-8bf8177a-d2e8-4f5c-a707-d51625fd7758

      If you want the barcode to show up looking like a barcode within Excel, you’ll need to use a barcode font in those cells too. We offer a free one here: https://www.inflowinventory.com/blog/code-39-font-archon-free-barcode/

    1. Hi Peter, sorry about that. I’ll email you separately and make sure you get a copy, and we’ll work to fix up this link today.

  15. Can I use my own free generated bar codes for my unit, for my packaging of rice products. do i compulsorily get it from a GSI member.

    1. Hi Dr. Miglani, you can use your own barcodes for your rice products for tracking your own company’s inventory. So if it’s just for tracking your own purchases and sales, your own free barcodes would work just fine.

      But if you want to sell your products through other retailers, that’s when you would need GS1-registered barcodes. That would help to ensure that your barcodes would be completely unique in any retailer’s system.

  16. If I have several thousand products can I print this many bar codes? The product is the same item but I want a bar code to identify and track each one.

    1. Hi Rasy,
      Yes, it would just be a matter of printing a lot of barcodes. If your products aren’t barcoded when you get them, we’d suggest barcoding them as you receive them at the warehouse. You’ll likely need multiple printers to keep up with that volume.

  17. Thanks i really like the tutorial guide. its quite informative. but i want have my own bar code for my magazine.

  18. Hi i have created barcodes and assigned them to my list of products. After listing it out in excel, how can i scan the physical barcoded product and make sure it points to the the data that i have keyed in the same excel sheet for the product?

    1. Hi H,

      If you’re in Excel, I’d suggest making one column for BARCODES and another for ITEM NAMES.
      Before you scan, make sure you have a BARCODE cell selected, and that it’s right beside the item that the barcode belongs to. As long as they’re on the same row, then it’s easy for most programs to associate the barcode with the product.

      If you’re an inFlow user, you can then import that Excel file as CSV: https://www.inflowinventory.com/support/cloud/how-do-i-import-product-details-into-inflow/

  19. I own a DYM label maker and i was wondering if i could use this to make my upc’s and if i own my business and i am looking to sell product with Amazon could i still use the free app for upc’s

    1. Hi Cyndi,

      You’re free to use the UPC formatting for creating your own barcodes for internal use, but if you’d like to sell them elsewhere, the general wisdom is to purchase UPCs from GS-1 (and those UPCs would be unlikely to be the same as the internal ones you used, because in all likelihood, the particular UPCs that you created are already taken on GS-1).

    1. Sorry Daniel, I’m not quite sure what your question is referring to.
      We don’t suggest placing one barcode sticker over another barcode sticker (because it makes one of them illegible).

      But if you’re asking about layout of the barcode itself because you want to sell your product with barcodes elsewhere, then GS-1 is a good place to look: https://www.gs1.org/10-steps-to-barcode-your-product

  20. hi,

    we are starting to sell on amazon FBA and alot of our sales are not single items so amazon require us to re-barcode the items for their stock.

    i don’t want to have to keep buying pre-printed ones off ebay as it won’t be cost effective.

    i need to be able to print my own to put on our product for amazon.

    i am a novice to this at the moment,

    any advice would be welcome.

  21. I want to be able to create a barcode for internal use to stick to one type of product and scan at each sale to manage stock and inventory sold. Is there also an Inventory management program that links to this?

  22. I am buying an item from different vendors and they have different barcode. I have added their barcodes in vendor product codes. but in product’s extra info there is only one field to add barcode. how can i manage all different barcodes items in a single barcode without creating my own codes

    1. You can add multiple barcodes just be separating them by a space or comma 🙂

  23. i want barcode for my new business,i want my company name price of product and quantity must be hilight on barcode how i can make it?

  24. We’d like to print barcode label along with product attribute info in same label(shoes), such as size, color. However, we couldn’t see any product attributes that was stored, or recorded in inFlow. How could we do that? Any suggestion?

    thank you in advance

    1. The easiest way to handle attributes is to make a separate product for each type of item. The same is true for barcodes. Ideally, you want a unique barcode for each variation.

      This is generally how it works with UPCs in retail as well. Blue suede shoes in a size 13 would have a different UPC than size 12. The same size shoe but in brown would also have a different UPC.

      If you would like to make up your own internal naming convention, there’s a good example in our free barcoding book available at http://barcoding.inflowinventory.com/.

      Let me know if this helps!

  25. Is there a way to create a barcode system through which certain information is automatically filled (e.g., 0000-0025-000 where the 0025 indicates value, thus automatically filling in the relevant information in the inventory sheet?)

    1. A barcoding system typically assumes that you already have a product list where the items are assigned a code.

      That way, when you scan an item, the software can make sense of what it scanned since you previously assigned the code to something.

      Scanning a barcode is essentially like typing in a product name or code very fast.

      Email me matt@inflowinventory.com your specific needs and I’ll see if I can come up with a solution that would work for you.

  26. Hi Musician123

    There are two steps to accomplish this:

    1) Assign your CD a unique number (such as a UPC or SKU number) and have it printed as a barcode (details in the blog post) A barcode is simply a visual representation of any text or numbers that a scanner can read.

    2) In inFlow, assign that unique number to the CD. Now, when you scan the CD’s barcode, inFlow knows exactly which product you are dealing with and will show you the description, price, etc

    Hope this helps 🙂

  27. If not, is there anyway I can put the price of the Cd on the barcode, because I will be selling the cd

  28. Hi, I’m printing of album cases, and i’ve got the barcode logo. Is there anyway I can tag information about the cd on the barcode?

  29. Lindsay – You would have to test out the apps to see what type of barcodes they can read but generally speaking most of the apps that are out now should be able to read traditional manufacturers barcodes. That said, mobile device scanners aren’t compatible with inFlow so if you’re looking for a scanner to use with inFlow you may want to have a look at the files and accessories link at the bottom of the screen. Thanks for checking in!

    Nolan – glad you’re enjoying barcodes! They certainly make life a little easier

  30. Hello, I have a small craft business and want to add barcodes to my items for faster check out and help with keeping up with all my inventory. I have a android phone and was wanting to know if there is any type of app that I can get that will work with barcodes I make?

  31. Depending on your situation you may want to look into what would be required for what you’re doing. If the barcodes are internal then you will likely not need to get them registered however if they’re meant for use in a more wide ranging area you may need to register your barcodes.

    If you haven’t had a chance please have a look here: http://www.barcodingfonts.com/select.php

  32. I would like to print Barcode for my cosmetic products and I would like to use EAN 13 barcode system. Do I need to get registered and remit registration charges for the same yearly.

  33. Hi Liz,

    Creating pre-made labels with certain prices on them sounds like a fantastic solution to the need to price your stock! Any scanner that will read those barcodes would be fine. Usually for use with our program we recommend the plug and play type of barcode scanner as inFlow doesn’t require anything more complicated but it is best to choose a scanner that works with your budget and the barcodes you’re planning to use. Head on over to our Knowledge Base for a few suggestions here: https://ec3.inflowinventory.com/KnowledgeBase/questions/234/Barcode+Integration%3A+Accessories+etc.

  34. I would like to use a barcode system, for pricing my items. Starting at .50, 1.00, 1.50, 2.00 ect. Can I use the avery labels and somehow make a barcode (example) for $1.00 on the entire sheet, $1.50 on another sheet, ect… and then just peel and stick on my tags? And if so, what scanner would be good for this?

  35. Hi Dan, Actually there’s a field in each product record for you to save your barcode information. In most cases a product will only have one barcode but in the case that you do have more than one to save simply enter a space between them and inFlow will recognize both barcodes individually if they are scanned. Beyond that, the program has no limit to the number of products you can add and thus there is no limit to the number of barcodes you can include.

  36. I´d like to know how many barcodes does inflow inventory support? (one license)
    Secondly, in case I need ¡to expand its capacity in terms of number of barcodes in database how shall proceed? do you provide this support or i will be required to go out and purchase another software?

  37. Hi Peter, unfortunately we do not have any services for creating logos or barcodes but as you’ve read the article above you will find some resources within it for getting started with barcodes. As to your logo, perhaps you might start by taking a look at this article about creating logos: http://websitetips.com/logos/. In addition, there is a freeware program called “Paint.net” (available here: http://www.getpaint.net/) which is very similar to Adobe Photoshop in its design that you might find useful in creating your logo. All the best!

  38. Carlie, yes I think so. There are websites that you can download the barcode fonts (e.g. IDAutomation.com), and use them in programs like MS Word/Excel. So basically you can customize the format and content that goes with the barcode, and use the printing templates as specified by the Avery package.

  39. I wish the people who make commercial UPC’s would extend their barcodes to include product dating. That way people could be confident that what they were purchasing wouldn’t be out of date.

  40. I am making my own labels for a disc of a song for sale. Is there any way that I can include the barcode along with the information to be printed on the sticky Avery label forms, at the same time?

  41. I think some of the software listed in the above posts allows you to print the barcodes directly on stickers paper. You can get those type of paper in your local office supplies stores.

  42. i want to make my barcode for my product soya nuggets.,i hv the software but i dont know how to make the barcode