EAN13 Barcode Explained

Code EAN 13 encodes twelve digits plus a mandatory check digit, hence the name EAN 13. An EAN 13 barcode is easily recognized. It always starts and ends with two thin bars. It also has two thin bars right in the center of the symbol. Best quality is achieved by exporting the barcode to EPS, PDF or another vector format.

EAN 13 is exclusively used in retail. In some countries EAN goes by another name, e.g. in Japan it's JAN, but it still is an EAN 13.

EAN 13 Add-on Barcodes

EAN 13 can carry an add-on barcode, sometimes also called a satellite code. The add-on can encode another two or five digits of data. With such an add-on EAN 13 usually encodes an ISBN or ISSN.

EAN 13 SC Sizes

EAN 13 sizes are standardized (see these references for EAN specifications and guidelines). The module width and height are only allowed to vary within certain limits. The default, or 100%, size is called SC2, resulting in a code that is roughly 26mm high and 35mm wide. It is permitted to vary the width down to 81% and up to 200%. In addition it is permitted to reduce the height to some degree, this is also known as truncation.

Note: Our EAN 13 Barcode Generator supports all standard SC sizes and height reduction.

Checksum for Code EAN 13

EAN 13 uses a modulo 10 checksum scheme. Starting from the right the numbers are multiplied alternating with "3" and "1" and added up. The sum is integer divided by ten, the reminder is subtracted from ten which yields the check digit.

Example Check Digit Calculation for Code EAN 13

Using the sample barcode further below our numbers are "401234567890".

Summing up: 0 * 3 + 9 * 1 + 8 * 3 + 7 * 1 + 6 * 3 + 5 * 1 + 4 * 3 + 3 * 1 + 2 * 3 + 1 * 1 + 0 * 3 + 4 * 1 = 89
Dividing: 89 / 10 = 8 Reminder 9
Check Digit: 10 - 9 = 1

Sample Code EAN 13

Sample Code EAN 13

Obtaining a Code EAN 13 number

EAN numbers are maintained by your country's GS1 branch, please see obtaining an EAN number for details.

Create Barcode EAN 13 Software

Softmatic BarcodePlus creates plain EAN 13 and with an add-on barcode. The barcodes are exported as EPS (vector) and to common raster formats.

Windows PC - Softmatic® BarcodePlus (Win, V4, Windows XP or higher)

Download for Windows

Mac OS X - Softmatic® BarcodePlus (Mac, V4, 10.7 "Lion" or higher)

Download for Mac

More about our EAN 13 barcode software.

We've also prepared a ISBN barcode tutorial for Adobe Illustrator and a barcode tutorial for Adobe Indesign

More EAN Barcode Software