This website provide information about barcode product UPC and EAN.

The UPC symbol is basically made up of two parts, which are a machine-readable bar code and a human-readable 12-digit UPC number. The first six numbers on the UPC code represents the manufacturer identification number. The subsequent five digits represent the item number. The last digit on the UPC code is referred to as a check digit. This number allows the scanner to determine whether the number was scanned properly or nor.

The manufacturer must employ a UPC coordinator whose responsibility is assigning item numbers to the products produced. This professional ensures that similar codes are not used on any two products and codes are retired when products are removed from the company product line. The UPC coordinator must ensure that every manufactured item and each size package or repackaging of products uses a different code.

The EAN was originally used to denote European Article Number. However, over time it was renamed to International Article Number although the abbreviation EAN was retained. The EAN is basically an globally recognized standardized identifier that uniquely marks a material and was first designed in 1976. It mainly refers to a specified unit of measure or a style of packaging, for example, a box or a pack containing ten pieces. For every unit of measure that is defined in any material master record, one can assign one or even more EANs and specify the packaging data, for instance, dimensions, gross weight and volume.

Just like the UPC, the EAN is also a 13-digit code. However, the code is usually displayed using all the 13 numbers displayed below it and this make most people to believe that it has more numerals when compared to the UPC. Ten digits are meant for product identification, one is a check code and the last two are country codes that identify the country from which the retail goods was stamped. This was mandatory because the EAN was designed for use in different countries.

There are basically two versions of the EAN, the EAN-13 and the EAN-8. The EAN-13 barcode is basically a barcoding standard made of 13 digits and is a superset of the 12-digit UPC system that was developed in the US. The EAN-13 barcode is well-defined by the standards organization GS1. The EAN-13 barcodes are mainly used globally for marking products that are usually sold in retail stores. The EAN-8 is a smaller variant of the EAN and it is mainly used for marking retail products. However, these codes are only reserved for small items such as confectionery.

When an EAN and a UPC are overlaid, one can actually notice that the barcode graphic of both systems are identical. However, the numbers that are indicated at the bottom tend to be slightly different. Both coding systems have the same number of digits when they are encoded in a similar manner. Over the years, the two digit country codes that are found in the EAN numbers are slowly being abandoned.

The UPC is a barcode system that is used in the United States and Canada for standardizing article numbering. On the other hand, the EAN has minor logical modifications when compared to the UPC and it provides a barcoding system that is compatible in the entire globe. The main advantages of the EAN bar code is mainly its universal standardization, high information density and dissemination of the numbers by the national bodies. The European Article Numbering is the industry standard retail products and it is found in more than ninety percent of all the food products.

The EAN has two versions which are the EAN-13 and EAN-8, while the UPC has five versions that are designated as A, B, C, D and E. The EAN-13 is in fact just as superset of the UPC-A. Therefore, any scanner that is able to read the EAN-13 symbol will also be in a position to read the UPC-A symbol. However, the UPC scanners may not necessarily be able to read the EAN symbols.

The main and only difference between these two codes is that the numbering system in the UPC-A is just a single digit that runs from 0 to 9. However, the EAN-13 numbering system is made up of two digits that ranges from 00 to 99 that is essentially a country code. Every country tends to have a numbering authority that assigns the manufacturers codes to companies that are within its control.

Since the year 2005, all the barcode scanners in retail locations all over the world are mandated to read both the UPC and the EAN codes. This shows that the compatibility issues that exists between the two codes are no longer there. Therefore, the only difference that exists between the two is just purely visual as the codes display varying sets of readable digits to humans only, since the contents of the two codes are basically identical.