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Barcodes In Word and Excel®:
If you're planning on working with Microsoft® Word® to print barcodes you have a lot of choices. For the most part these choices depend on what your trying to accomplish and just how many unique barcodes you're going to be making with Word®. By unique, I mean barcodes that return different values when scanned. If you're making 10,000 barcodes that read the same thing with Word® it's really only one barcode printed 10,000 times, and easy and free solutions are there for you.

Harness The Power Of Barcode Mail Merge: Video Tutorial
(Requires The Barcode Add In For Excel)

Fonts or Images for Word Barcodes:
Personally I prefer fonts because you can typically get a better read at smaller sizes. Barcode images are often times made at screen resolution so when they are printed they draw on the paper at screen resolution, typically 96 DPI vs at least 300 DPI for a quality printer.  In practice, this means they are blocky, which can make a huge difference. If you have ever printed an image that was not high resolution you know exactly what I mean. You may not see the difference in a barcode, but there is a good chance that the scanner will.

What Kind of Barcode do I Need:
If you're asking that question than chances are you need Code 128.  The Code 128 specification includes more characters, upper and lower case, and numbers, and punctuation than any other barcode in Word®. Unless you are required to use a certain specification, I highly recommend Code 128 and the products I offer for Word and Excel are based on Code 128.

The Casual Barcode User:
If you only make a handful of barcodes a week with Word, than you are a casual user. You can pretty well get by with a free solution, such as my online converter, or possibly with an image based barcode solution, many of which are available online that will give you a free barcode image.

The Document Barcode User:
If you find that your adding barcodes to a lot of documents, then a Barcode Add In For Word is probably your best bet. I am very happy with my Barcode Add In for Word, as it is accurate and very inexpensive (and it helps me feed my kids) but there are many out there that offer very good features. As far as I know, mine is the only one based on a free barcode font, and this is a big concern with barcodes. Font barcodes typically scan better than image barcodes, but when you have to pay hundreds of dollars for one computer to have one font set, it's hard to share documents, as the other readers, without the font, will not see a barcode. With a free barcode in Word other users can download the font - you can distribute it to everyone in your company if need be - and it doesn't cost you any extra at all.

The Template Generator:
If your constantly generating documents from templates, either within Word or creating documents with an outside system that are later opened in Word,
my Barcode Add In for Word is an excellent choice.  This add in allows you to search documents for data tagged with certain codes ([C128]DATA[/C128]). When those tags are found, anything within them is immediately translated to a code 128 barcode. This functionality can even be configured to operate automatically whenever a document is opened. It can also automatically print documents after the barcodes are created.

If you have access to the template that generates the documents, all you need to do is add the tags around the data that you want to be encoded. Then, after the document is created by your outside system, you open it in Word, and all the barcodes you need are automatically created within the document.
The Power User:
The power user is someone that is creating a lot of barcodes. Typically this person is printing hundreds, or thousands, of different barcodes and needs to produce them rapidly. Obviously, an online solution, font or image, is out of the question. They just take too long to cut and paste the barcodes into Word. While my Barcode Add In For Word may work, as it does handle tables, it's still not the ideal solution for Barcodes in Word® in this context. If you're printing labels from a Word template, then it's time to harness the power of Excel, and the Word mail merge.  I offer a Barcode Add In For Excel for this very purpose, to create the strings, which, with the correct font, make a barcode in Word. Hundreds. Thousands. Tens of thousands. Quickly.

If you're not familiar with the mail merge, this is the basics: You would create an Excel spreadsheet for your barcodes. With the Barcode Add In For Excel you would create the strings needed for your barcode and save the file. Then, in Word, you run the merge. Select the label layout you want. Add the columns of data you need, and set the font for the barcode string you are importing from Excel to "code128bwin" or "code128bwinlarge." Then print a sheet and test it to make sure it's working.

In a matter of minutes you can create hundreds of thousands of barcodes in Word®. Time is money and, for a very small investment, you can save a lot of that time you've been wasting in cutting and pasting.

Harness The Power Of Barcode Mail Merge: Video Tutorial 
(Requires The Barcode Add In For Excel)

So You Want to try it out:
Well, if you want to try out my products (and I hope you do) they can be found here:

Barcode Add In For Word® | Barcode Add In For Excel

At the very least I hope this brief Q & A has given you some ideas of how to incorporate barcodes into your business world. They aren't magic, but they are ultra fast, ultra accurate, data entry and well worth the time and investment to integrate into your business.

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