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How to Scan a Bar Code


Every bar code is different. It can be large or small. It can be linear or 2D. It can be a different symbology, such as UPC, Code 39 or QR Code.

Imager Scanning

It is critical to select the best scanner for the task. If you want to scan a 2D bar code, then you want to select an imager, rather than a laser scanner. Laser scanners can scan a linear bar code with no issue, but cannot scan a 2D bar code


The scanning distance is the distance between the scanner and the bar code. Most standard scanners will scan a bar code in the 2" to 10" range. If you want to extend that distance, then a long range scanner will work well.


The scanning technique is important. When you trigger the scan button, keep the trigger pulled until the unit beeps. Aim the laser dot in the middle of the bar code and then ensure that the red box covers the whole bar code. Move the scanner forward and backward to find the optimal range that scans the bar code.


The following scanner engines will illustrate the scanning distances, as well as the bar code symbologies that they will scan.