Barcode Software Tutorial for Adobe Illustrator
IntroductionMany people use Illustrator for designing book covers or packages. In most cases barcodes have to be added to the artwork. In the following sections we'll show you how to use barcode software to create a barcode and then add it to an Illustrator document. Softmatic BarcodePlus creates all common retail barcodes, like EAN, UPC or ISBN, In addition the app generates barcodes for warehousing, pharmaceuticals and 2D symbologies like QR, Aztec or PDF417.
What you needAdobe Illustrator CS4, CS5 or CS6. The screenshots below show Illustrator CS6, the latest version of Illustrator at the time of writing. All screenshots are from the Windows versions of Illustrator. The explanations, however, do apply to the Mac version as well.
A note about barcode plug-ins for Illustrator: Plug-ins for Illustrator are not compatibe across Illustrator versions or operating systems. As a consequence a barcode plug-in for Illustrator CS5 will not work with CS6, a plug-in for Mac will not work on Windows etc. This is by design and it's unlikely that Adobe will change this behaviour. Using a dedicated third party barcode software like Softmatic barcode generator is usually the way to go.
Creating the BarcodeIn this tutorial we'll create an ISBN 13 barcode for use on a book cover. First step is to create the barcode. Launch Softmatic BarcodePlus and select Code ISBN 13 from the list of codes.
Enter the following ISBN into the Data to Encode control: 978-1-935182-47-4. Hit <Enter>. You'll see the barcode in the preview window. Enter the pricing information 54999 into the Add On control.
Now make the following settings:
EAN Size: SC2
File Format: EPS (If you are using the trial version: PNG)
Bounding Box Markers: Yes
Leave the settings for EAN truncation and bar width reduction at "0". See notes at end of page for info on bar width reduction.
The application window should look like this (click to enlarge):
Click Save... to save the barcode to a file.
Importing the Barcode into IllustratorAlready in Illustrator we've prepared a simple book cover:
We want to put the barcode onto a separate layer (see below for best practices). Create a new layer and name it "Barcode".
Now select File > Place... and navigate to the folder where you saved the barcode. Click Place. The barcode will be placed somewhere near the center of the book cover. Move it to the lower right of the cover:
Right now the barcode is not yet embedded into the document. In the toolbar above the document, click Embed. The barcode is now part of the document. From Illustrator's perspective, the barcode is just lines and text.
If you don't need or want the bounding box markers (see below for best practices), you can select and remove them:
As a precaution you should lock the layer to prevent accidental changes to the barcode.
The completed Illustrator document (for CS4, CS5, CS6) can be downloaded here.
Tips & TricksWhen working with barcodes in Illustrator, please consider the following best practices:
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