Company Prefix

A company prefix comprises the first few digits of a barcode number and can be between 5 and 11 digits long (variable length prefix). Company prefixes are often used to indentify a company within an EDI system.   In most cases a company prefix is not required as the majority of retailers simply require a globally unique barcode number to represent the product being sold.  However some larger retailers using EDI systems may require a vendor to have a company prefix.

Generally companies can obtain a globally unique company prefix via direct membership with GS1.  The prefix issued by GS1 is then used by the company to create product codes such as EAN-13 and UPC-A.  Unfortunately direct GS1 membership is an expensive option for small businesses and requires ongoing annual fees to maintain the prefix.

Obtaining a Company Prefix with Oz Barcodes

Packages of 10, 100 or 1000 purchased through Oz Barcodes will include a globally unique prefix.  With these packages there’s no need to create product codes as the full barcode numbers supplied includes the company prefix, product code and final check digit.  The numbers are allocated as follows.

10 package will include an 11 digit company prefix with number allocation 0 – 9 (for up to 10 unique products)
100 package will include a 10 digit company prefix with number allocation 00 – 99 (for up to 100 unique products)
1000 package will have a 9 digit unique company prefix with number allocation 000 – 999 (for up to 1000 unique products)

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.

EAN-13 and UPC-A Size Specifications

Our standard EAN-13 and UPC-A barcode packages are supplied at 100% magnification (37.29mm x 25.93mm).

For printing barcodes GS1 advises a minimum of 80% magnification and a maximum of 200% magnification.  We suggest following this guideline if your product packaging can reasonably accomodate it.

There are however many products in the supply chain that break with these guidelines to meet size constraints of product packaging or lables.

The smallest minimum barcode size we are able to supply is 10mm x 20mm.  It should be noted if you reduce your codes below the recommended amount you may run into scanning issues in future depending on the scanner.  The more truncated or smaller the code the less likely the code will scan properly e.g. a small truncated barcode alongside a pen may not scan correctly until the pen is straightened out for the infared scanner to read horizontally.

The supplied .EPS file is optimal for resizing.

The 2540 DPI EPS file supplied can be size adjusted in graphic editing software without loss of image quality, given that the proportions of the barcode are not altered. When truncating a barcode please ensure the barcode is cut (across the top) rather than dragging the edges around to fit as altering it proportionally can negativley affect scanning.