The EAN Code (European Article Numbering) is a standard code in most countries. It is used to uniquely identify manufacturers and goods. The EAN code can be produced with all known printing processes.

One differentiates between the EAN 8 (for small volume articles) and the EAN 13 (for standard articles). There is also the EAN code with an AddOn (for publishing articles). For in-store applications within a market or a retail chain, the EAN code in-store is often used, this is marked with a leading – 2 -. There are special forms for quantity- or weight-dependent goods.
In North America and Canada the related UPC code A – E (Universal Product Code ) is used and in Japan the JAN code (Japanese Article Numbering). On 01.01.2005, the EAN code was also introduced in North America (Sunrise-Date).

The EAN – Code contains only numbers from SC 0 – SC 9, all sizes. With SC the size of the code is indicated (SC 0 – SC 9 see our Internet page EAN – Symbol sizes). The higher the SC – size of the EAN – code is, the larger are the possible metric pressure tolerances of the bars and the gaps (SC=scale, scale, scaling factor, magnification factor).

The number ranges in Germany are administered by GS 1 Germany in Cologne.

The EAN code consists of two halves each with 6 (for EAN 13) or 4 (for EAN 8) useful characters, as well as one border character and one separator in the middle (auxiliary character). Scanners read both halves separately from each other and combine these data internally to a data set.

The height of the EAN code is also decisive for the first reading rate of the POS scanner, in order to guarantee an omnidirectional reading independent of position. The higher the code is printed, the longer the diagonal and the better and faster it is read.

The two quiet zones in front of and behind the EAN code are at:
EAN 13: left 11 x and right 7 x as large as the module size and for EAN 8.
EAN 8: left and right 7 x as large as the module size.
The minimum size of the bright fields for EAN 8 and EAN 13 is 2.54 mm for SC 0.
(plus pressure tolerances / register fluctuations)

The human readable line (the encrypted data in the EAN Code / Human readable) should be below the code or very close to the code, e.g. : to the side of the code. This should be in an OCR-B-like font (other similar good readable fonts are also possible). The size must be easy to read. According to ISO 1073-2, this should be printed at a height of 2.75 mm.

The check-digit calculation (PZ) using code EAN 13 as an example:
Useful digits: 4 0 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 + PZ ( = 12 digits plus PZ)
Weighting: 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 1 3 3
Product: 4+0+1+6+3+12+5+3+2+9+4+15 = 64 (Multiply usernames x weighting)
Total: 64
Modulo 10: difference to next tenner (64 – 70) = 6
Check digit: 6