Complicated UPC code
It cannot help
UPC is much more complicated structure
than the EAN code,
from the process of its pioneering establishment.
Four administrative organizations
In case of JAN in Japan,
The administrative organization of code is concentrated at
The Distribution System Research Institute, DCC, which is
auxiliary organ of MITI
(the Ministry of International Trade and Industry).
UPC code is
managed by three following organizations, and the coupons, with its
NS (number system = at the 1st digit).
** in this page, we will illustrate NS0, 6, 7
- NS = 0, 6, 7
UPCC (Universal Product Code Concil )
- NS = 3 (the 1st digit of laveler code is 0 -- 7)
NDC (National Drug Code )
- NS = 3 (the 1st digit of laveler code is 8 or 9)
HRI (Health Related Item Code )
- NS = 5
Coupon (discount/claim ticket printed in the newspaper, leaflet, etc.)
Various versions of various lengths are established,
to incorporate various contents to the
UPC symbol system.
** in this page, we will illustrate only 1, 2 and 3.
- A version
12-digit type which is generally used.
- Add-on version
A version affixed 2 or 5-digit supplementary code.
- E version
8-digit version, suppressed from A version.
- D version
Combined versions, 14 to 32 digits length.
* UPC A version
** on the summary of symbols, see EAN
Composition of Codes
- NS = 0, 6, 7
Used for the source marking of
general foods and sundries.
- NS = 2
NON-PLU type, used for
instore marking of
measured-out products, etc.
The mark ** is the checkdigit for the 4-digit price.
- NS = 3
used for drugs for health, etc.
* Laveler is, a maker or a trading firm, who has marked.
package code includes the lot number
- NS = 4
An instore marking,
attached to the products which is not
10 digits, except NS and the checkdigit,
can be used freely for data.
- NS = 5
Used for coupons.
** Family code is, the code of organization or dealer who
deals the clearance business of this coupon
** Price means the price to discount, or the discount rate.
UPC E version
E version is used in these 3 cases following:
- Zero Suppression
when displaying the symbols on the small product which cannot
display A version within,
like the short version
removing zeros in the code
by the rule of Zero Suppression Method,
and shorten 12 digits to 8 digits.
The rule is as follows:
In case original code is 0 - ABCDE - VWXYZ,
- VWXY are zero
0 - ABCDE - 0000Z = ABCDEZ
* but Z can take only within 5 -- 9.
- E and VWXY are zero
0 - ABCD0 - 0000Z = ABCDZ4
* the last "4" indicates that A and D in the
maker code is
- DE and VWX are zero
0 - ABC00 - 000YZ = ABCYZ3
* the last "3" indicates that A and C is non-zero,
and that ABC is a three-digit number.
- DE and VW are zero, C is 0, 1 or 2
0 - AB000 - 00XYZ = ABXYZ0
0 - AB100 - 00XYZ = ABXYZ1
0 - AB200 - 00XYZ = ABXYZ2
NS is fixed to zero, and doesn't exist in the data of barcode.
the number (for displaying) is only shown in the leftest of the barcode.
Checkdigit is calculated
not from this 6-digit,
from the original checkdigit
(before zero suppression),
and displayed on the rightest of the barcode.
There is no character for displaying checkdigit.
As same as creating the prefix
of EAN symbols,
it is expressed with the combination of
of 6-digit characters.
- LAC (Local Assing Code )
A variant of instore marking,
using 5-digit, zero-headed (but last 4 digits must be within 1000 - 7999)
maker codes, and
1-digit item code.
- RZSC (Retailer Zero Suppression Code)
The private code which uses
the Zero Suppression.
UPC add-on version
appended 2 or 5 digits of supplementary code after the A or E version.
Supplementary code is used for indicating the price of products,
issue month of magazine, etc.
- Character pattern of the supplementary code
In the supplementary code, there are
20 characters of E version
1 module bar,
is inserted between each of these characters.
There is no start/stop characters.
of the supplementary code
The combinations of 2-digit supplementary codes,
from 00 to 99, are determined with
and this combination takes place of its
The checkdigit for the 5-digit supplementary code is
the bottom 1 digit of
modulus 10 sum,
and expressed with the corresponding combination of odd/even parities.
UPC D version
It is merely used practically since better barcode standards,
such as CODE-39, etc. are established.
So we will show only examples, without detail instruction.
When I was editing my book
"Barcode Hayawakari (A Quick Guide to Barcode)",
I suffered many hardships around UPC.
It is too much complicated anyway.
But, before complaining too much complicated E version, or D version,
think about in the beginning of the practical use of the barcode,
so many industries tried and tried hard to use the UPC symbol,
which was only one of available means, in various way, and thought
how it can be used conveniently.
it reveals a hard time in the early days.
We cannot reward the founders' effort, if we think ill of it simply,
"The length is different",
"cannot use EAN in America", or
abuse it, "it's so patchy a code system"...
Jobs to make compatibility between UPC and EAN is proceeding and to be
finished by 2005; I think, studying again this UPC, and we might find
the origin, or mission of barcode...
List of Barcode Types
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