Crystal Reports and barcodes

Wednesday 7 April 2010 @ 2:39 pm

Bar Codes are everywhere. The UPC code you see at the store is the most common example.  Every consumer product is assigned an ID number by the Uniform Code Council in Dayton, OH.  That number is converted into machine readable form so it they can be scanned.  But now you will see it checking materials in and out of inventory; patients in some hospitals; even my local library uses a scanner when checking books in and out.

Crystal Reports can even be used to print barcodes on forms or adhesive labels. In most versions of CR you need to write a formula to convert your number into a string. Then you need to install a barcode font that can print the actual bars.  Crystal Reports 2008 comes with a simple bar-code font.  You can just right click on a field and convert it to a barcode.  This font is provided by Azalea Software, Inc.

If you are using a version of Crystal Reports that does not come with bar code fonts you can chose between several commercial or free bar-code options.  There are three primary commercial sources for bar code fonts that work with Crystal Reports: Azalea, Wasp, and ID Automation.  Azalea is the most expensive because each font seems to be sold individually.  The other two vendors sell sets of Fonts and font formats.  Each vendor provides the appropriate formula functions for their fonts.

ID Automation offers one commonly used font for free to small companies or non-profits (see the “free” link on the left).  You can contact them for more information.  Or you can use a free barcode font released under the GPL/GNU (open source) license.  It is an EAN13 font which is the parent of the UPC-A barcode you see on your box of Corn Flakes.

If you need to use a more advanced barcode like a “2-D” font (a square of pixels rather than bars) then you will need to use a commercial font.  For links to the commercial font vendors and other useful barcode-related links, see the LINKS page of my site.

Another option for stand alone Crystal Reports is using CUT Light by Millet Software.  This is a UFL  with formula functions, including functions for bar codes and QR Codes.  Both the Bard codes and QR Codes are generated as images so you don’t need a special font. You can see how the QR code formula works on this page of the CUT Light User Manual.  For Bar Codes, CUT Light supports 15 types as shown on this page. CUT Light costs $50 and includes many other handy functions.

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