Barcode UPC-A

Code UPC-A encodes eleven digits plus a mandatory check digit. An UPC-A 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. Ten digits in two groups of five each are placed under the symbol, two digits are placed on each side.

UPC-A is exclusively used in retail in the US and Canada. It is not used elsewhere in the world.

UPC-A Add-on Barcodes

UPC-A can carry an add-on barcode, sometimes also called a satellite code. The add-on can encode another two or five digits of data, see below for sample UPC barcodes with and without add-on.

UPC-A SC Sizes

UPC-A sizes are standardized (see these references for UPC specifications). 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 UPC-A Barcode Generator supports all standard SC sizes and height reduction.

Checksum for Code UPC-A

UPC-A 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 UPC-A

Using the sample barcode further below our eleven numbers are "50123456789".

Summing up: 9 * 3 + 8 * 1 + 7 * 3 + 6 * 1 + 5 * 3 + 4 * 1 + 3 * 3 + 2 * 1 + 1 * 3 + 0 * 1 + 5 * 3 = 110
Dividing: 110 / 10 = 11 Reminder 0
Check Digit: 10 - 0 = 10 = 0

Sample Code UPC-A

Sample Code UPC-A

Sample UPC-A with five digit add-on:

Sample Code UPC-A with Addon 5

Sample UPC-A with two digit add-on:

Sample Code UPC-A with Addon 2

UPC barcodes generated with Softmatic BarcodePlus.

Obtaining a Code UPC-A number

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

Create Code UPC-A

Softmatic BarcodePlus creates plain UPC-A and UPC-E. The barcodes are exported as EPS (vector) and to common raster formats.

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

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

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More about our UPC-A barcode software.