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Softmatic Barcode Extension for Adobe Illustrator

Easy barcode creation directly in your Illustrator document. The Softmatic Barcode Extension for Adobe Illustrator 2021 or higher supports all common retail, warehousing and 2D barcode symbologies. All barcodes are guaranteed to conform to the respective GS1 and ISO standards.

Barcodes can be widely customized with options for size, readable text and bar width reduction to compensate for dot gain during printing. The extension performs all required data formatting and check digit calculation in the background - no macros or programming required.

The barcode extension works stand alone, no online access, external components or barcode fonts required. Illustrator documents with barcodes have no dependencies and can be freely shared.
  • Sample AI document showing barcode symbologies on different layers (download)
  • Sample PDF with all supported code types on a single sheet (download)
  • Narrated video walkthrough (watch)

Current version:

V2.1.1 (11/21)

System requirements:

macOS 10.15 or higher
Windows 10 or higher
Adobe Illustrator 2021 (Version 25) or higher

Supported barcode symbologies:

● EAN 8
● EAN 13 (with optional add-on)
● ISBN 10 (with optional add-on)
● ISBN 13 (with optional add-on)
● ISSN (with optional add-on)
● UPC-A (with optional add-on)
● UPC-E
● Code 128 A, B, C
● Code 128 GS1
● Code 2/5 Interleaved
● Code 2/5 Industrial
● Code ITF-14
● Code 39 / 39 Extended
● PZN 7 / PZN 8
● Laetus
● Codabar
● Datamatrix (2D)
● Datamatrix GS1 (2D)
● PDF 417 (2D)
● QR (2D)
● Aztec (2D)

Note: EAN 13 is referred to by many other names, e.g. JAN, EAN 99, EAN Velocity, etc.. All those codes are ordinary EAN 13.

Installation

Locate the extension on the Creative Cloud Marketplace.

After purchasing, the extension will automatically be downloaded and installed in your local extensions folder. Close Illustrator before installing.
After installation, reopen Illustrator. The extension can be found in Illustrator menu bar > Window > Extensions.

Default settings



With the first launch of the extension, the following settings are used:

Code type: EAN 13
EAN Size: SC2
Data to encode: 401234567890
Add-on: None
Light margin indicator: Yes
Human readable text: Yes
Height: 100%
Bar width reduction: 0%

Choose barcode type

Choose the desired barcode type from the list of available codes.

Note that the settings panel changes with the selected code; in the left screen, the extension shows settings that apply to Code EAN 13 (e.g. SC size or margin indicator); in the right screen, settings for Code 128 are displayed (module width and - height):



If you choose a code type that is incompatible with the given data, an error message is displayed. An example with invalid data ("ABC123") for EAN 13:

Enter the data to encode and set barcode options

After choosing the barcode type, enter the data to be encoded and make the appropriate settings:

SymbologyDataSettingsRemarks
EAN 87 or 8 digitsEAN size, height, no addon
EAN 1312 or 13 digitsEAN size, height, addon, indicator1
ISBN 10ISBN 10 Nr., e.g. 1-123-12345-XEAN size, height, addon, indicator1
ISBN 13ISBN 13 Nr., e.g. 978-1-123-12345-6EAN size, height, addon, indicator1
ISSNEight digit ISSN Nr., e.g. 1234-5678EAN size, height, addon, indicator1, 2
UPC-A11 or 12 digitsEAN size, height, addon1
UPC-E7 or 8 digitsEAN size, height, no addonMust begin with "1" or "0"
Code 128Digits, letters, ASCII character set (max. 64 chars)Module width, -heightAutomatic selection of Code 128 sub types A, B, C. Code 128 is always created with a check digit.
Code 128 GS1Digits, letters, parenthesized application identifier (max. 64 chars)Module width, -heightAutomatic selection of Code 128 sub types A, B, C. Code 128 GS1 is always created with a check digit.

Enter your data including application identifiers, e.g. (01)1234567890. The software will automatically insert all required FNC1 symbols.
Code 2/5 InterleavedDigits 0-9 (max. 64 digits) Module width, -heightCode will be created with check digit, the check digit will not be displayed under the barcode
Code 2/5 IndustrialDigits 0-9 (max. 64 digits)Module width, -heightCode will be created with check digit, the check digit will not be displayed under the barcode
Code ITF-14Digits 0-9 (13 or 14 digits), with spacesModule width, -heightProvide a complete 14-digit GTIN including the GTIN check digit. If 13 digits are given the app will calculate and append the GTIN check digit. Software will add "bearer frame". Recommended settings: Module width: 0.5mm minimum, -height: 32mm minimum
Code 39 / 39 ExtendedDigits, letters (max. 64 chars)Module width, -heightAutomatic selection of Code 39 / Code 39 Extended. Code will be created with check digit, the check digit will not be displayed under the barcode
PZN 7/87 or 8 digitsModule width, -heightSoftware will assemble PZN. Recommended settings: Module width: 0.25mm, -height: 8-20mm
LaetusDigits 0-9, max. value 131070Module width, -height
CodabarDigits 0-9 (max. 64 digits)Module width, -heightSpecify start / stop symbols with your data, e.g. A123456A. Available start / stop symbols are "A", "B", "C", "D". Codabar is always created without a check digit.
DatamatrixUp to 2000 chars, extended ASCII setDot sizeSquare modules, width = height
Datamatrix GS1Up to 2000 chars, extended ASCII setDot sizeSquare modules, width = height

Enter your data including application identifiers, e.g. (01)1234567890. The software will automatically insert all required FNC1 symbols.
PDF 417Up to 2000 chars, extended ASCII setDot sizeModule ratio height : width = 3 : 1
QRUp to 2000 chars, Unicode compatibleDot sizeSquare modules, width = height
AztecUp to 2000 chars, extended ASCII setDot sizeSquare modules, width = height

To update the preview, hit <Enter> after you entered your data.

1) EAN 13, ISSN, ISBN 10, ISBN 13 and UPC-A can carry a satellite, or "add on", barcode. This add on can encode two or five digits.

2) To provide a variant no. for ISSN, append the two digit number to your ISSN, separated by semicolon, e.g. 1234-5678;05. If no variant is specified, "00" will be used.

Note 1: With all retail barcodes, the software will always recalculate the respective check digit for the selected code. For example, when using EAN 13, if you enter twelve digits, the software will append the check digit, if you enter thirteen the software will overwrite the last digit with the check digit. This behavior is by design to prevent data entry errors and to guarantee that a valid symbol is created.

Note 2: Barcodes are generated in pure black ("K") against a white background. As a rule, we advise against non-black barcodes.

Text options

The extension comes with a built-in OCR-B compatible font. The text under the code can be configured with these options:
  • Human readable text Deselect to create the barcode without text line. With ISBN / ISSN, the text line above the barcode will also be omitted. 2D barcodes are always created without text; this is by design because the encoded text is usually too long to be displayed anyway.
     
  • Font size Font size of text unter the code. Only available for non-retail codes; with retail barcodes the font size is calculated automatically to fit the text under the code.
     

Add barcode to Illustrator document

Once the preview is updated and shows a valid barcode, click "Insert Barcode" to add the barcode to your Illustrator document. The barcode will be added to the top most layer of the currently active document. Make sure that this layer is visible and not locked:

Illustrator Layer Settings for Barcode

If the layer is hidden or locked, a barcode can not be placed and an error message will be displayed, "Target layer cannot be modified":

Illustrator Target Layer cannot be modified

Do not scale or stretch the barcode after it was placed as this may render the code unusable. If the code has the wrong size, simply delete it and create a new one.

Tip: To prevent accidental changes, consider locking the barcode object or keeping it on a dedicated layer and then lock the layer.

Bar width reduction

To compensate for dot gain during printing. Ask your print shop for recommendations.

Reasonable values:
  • Offset printing: 1-2%
  • Laser printing: 1-2%
  • Thermo-, thermotransfer printing: 0%
  • Inkjet printing: Plain paper - 5%, Inkjet paper - 1-2%
  • Pad printing: up to 10%