Carton Codes (ITF-14)

ITF-14 barcodes (Interleaved Two of Five) is a 14 digit barcode symbol commonly used on logistics and warehouse units.  An ITF-14 is often simply referred to as a “Carton Code”. Units using an ITF-14 barcode can contain multiple instances of the same product or mixed lots of assorted products. Larger retailers and distributors often require ITF-14 carton codes in order to accurately track your products/logistics units as they move within the supply chain.  It should be noted that ITF-14s are not intended for retail point of sale. Conversely EAN-13 and UPC-A barcodes are not intended to be used for logistics units.

Useage – Instances where a Carton contains a quantity of the same product the ITF-14’s reference number will correspond to the product’s EAN-13 barcode.  Instances where a Carton contains a “mixed lot” of various products a new EAN-13 product code is assigned to represent the mixed lot.

Packaging Level Indicator – This is the first digit seen on the ITF-14 code.  The packaging level number can range from 0 – 8  however a 9 cannot be used (variable weight only).  Our standard orders of ITF-14 numbers generally use the 1st or 2nd level packaging indicators (1) and (2).

We can supply corresponding ITF-14 Carton Code packages for your EAN-13 or UPC-A numbers.  Simply contact us by emailing [email protected] along with your receipt number or barcodes list.  If you require a packaging level indicator other than (1) or (2) please include this information.

EAN-13 and UPC-A Barcodes – Deciding which Format to Use

Included in our standard packages are two barcode formats, EAN-13 and UPC-A.

EAN-13International Article Number (previously European Article Number) is 13 digits in length.

UPC-AUniversal Product Code is 12 digits in length.

All numbers we supply originate with the Uniform Code Council (UCC now known as GS1-US) and are prefixed with either a “07” or “06”.  Our barcodes can be read as either a 13 digit EAN-13 when padded with a leading zero or as a 12 digit UPC-A when the leading zero is “dropped”.


EAN-13 with the leading zero included – 0747599700743 (13 digits)
UPC-A with leading zero dropped – 747599700743 (12 digits)

Deciding which Format to use on your Product

The EAN-13 (13 digits) is a superset of UPC-A (12 digits).  The barcode symbology and vertical bars are identical between these two standards.  They both contain the same numerical information and are recognised by scanners globally.   Historically the EAN-13 mostly used by companies in Australia/Oceania, Asia, Europe, the UK etc while the UPC-A is predominantly used by US & Canadian companies.  If your intended primary market is Australia and its Territories we suggest using the EAN-13 version.  Regardless of which format you decide to use both are valid barcode numbers that can be scanned globally and are not limited by any country or region.

Scanning note – Sometimes a retailer’s scanner will be programmed to either include or drop the leading zero.  If your product displays an EAN-13 and a store’s scanner drops the leading zero the retailer can simply record the 12 digit code into their system.  Conversely if your product diplays the UPC-A and a retailer’s scanner is configured to include a leading zero they can input the code into the system as an EAN-13 by padding the entry with a leading zero. Either way your product will be scanned at point of sale and identified easily using the globally unique barcode number.

Excel note – An Excel column formatted to 13 consecutive zeros will display your barcode number as an EAN-13 e.g. 0747599700743 .
Conversely if the Excel column is formatted to 12 consecutive zeros it will be displayed as a UPC-A e.g. 747599700743.

93 Barcode Number Prefix

A barcode beginning with the 930 – 939 or “93” prefix indicates the number was issued by the Australian branch of the Global Standards Body (GS1). A “93” prefix however does not indicate the product is Australian or “Australian Made”. This is confirmed by GS1 Australia’s own 2015 media release Debunking the Urban Myth about GS1 Barcodes.

To obtain barcodes that begin with 93 you must licence them directly from the Australian branch of GS1. However, licencing barcodes from GS1 is prohibitively expensive to a lot of businesses and requires on-going yearly membership charges ($231 per year for 1 code). GS1 membership is a complicated process and using GS1 approved Alliance Partners for generating your barcode images is unnecessarily expensive.

There is no mandatory requirement to have a “93” prefix on an Australian product. Barcodes are a global standard and not restricted to use in a single country and are designed to work internationally. If you have a valid barcode number, it can be used in any county in the world.

To officially demonstrate that your product is Australian made refer to the government sponsored Made in Australia campaign.

(!) Warning – Any barcode seller who claims to supply barcodes starting with a “93” prefix are misleading you. These fly by night sellers effectively “make up” 93 numbers with a high risk of duplication against GS1 Australia’s authentic numbers causing disruption in the supply chain. There is no relationship between these sellers and GS1 and they’re not authorized to sell the 93 prefix. If you purchase a 93 barcode from someone other than GS1 duplication is very likely. When a duplication occurs you will be liable. Retailers and distributors will generally side with an official GS1 license holder over a vendor using illegitimate numbers.

For your peace of mind obtain your barcode numbers from GS1 or a reputable reseller

To ensure your barcode is globally unique be sure they come from the GS1/UCC system. The barcodes sold by us were originally issued in bulk by the Uniform Code Council, now known as GS1. These codes we supply were issued prior to GS1’s subscription model and therfore do not incur annual GS1 fees. Currently, all of our stock has originated from the UCC, are globally unique, prefixed 07 and have never been assigned to any products. Fundamentally our numbers work like any other barcode supplied by GS1 and are suitable for use in Australia and globally. We have served over 5000 Australian customers using the numbers we supply.

The purchase authentic, valid and globally unique barcode numbers while avoiding GS1 fees visit our buy barcodes page.

Barcodes for Books & Magazines (ISBN & ISSN)

The standard barcode packages we supply include EAN-13 and UPC-A numbers.  These numbers are not suitable for Books & Magazines.

Books require an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) using a range of numbers commonly prefixed with “978”.  This number range is reserved especially for print publications by the International ISBN Agency.

To obtain an ISBN for your book publication in Australia please visit Thorpe Bowker at  Thorpe Bowker is the official ISBN Agency of Australia authorised by the International ISBN Agency.

Once you’ve obtained your ISBN number from Thorpe Bowker you’ll need an image of the ISBN generated as an ISBN-13 code. This is visually identical to an EAN-13 using the ISBN number.  The ISBN image can then be incorporated into your publication’s cover artwork file. Correctly formatted ISBN 13 images display the human readable numbers above and below the barcode.  We can help you with generating properly formatted high resolution ISBN barcode images for your publication.  Email us at [email protected] quoting your ISBN number (with or without the check digit) and we can arrange a quote and Special Order.

Magazines require an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN).  These can be obtained from the Australian ISSN Agency.  Visit We can also assist you if you require images for your ISSNs.