In this post we’ll be looking at EAN-13 and:
- What it stands for
- Calculate a valid EAN-13 number
- Explain the detail in an EAN-13 barcode
What does EAN-13 stand for?
An EAN-13 barcode was originally called “European Article Number” but has now been renamed “International Article Number” while the abbreviation is still used. It is a 13 digit number (12 data and 1 check) barcode.
This is an EAN-13 barcode
Calculating a valid EAN-13 number
If your EAN-13 was 97 35940 56482 4 the check digit is 4.
In order to check that your EAN-13 barcode is valid, you must use the 12 numbers to calculate the check number.
- To do this, you go to the 12th digit, which in this barcode is 2. Starting from the 12th digit we add every second number to the right to it. With our example code (97 35940 56482 4) these numbers would be, starting from 2, 4, 5, 4, 5 and 7, which gives us a total of 27.
- Multiply the sum above by 3. For our example that is 27 multiplied by 3, which gives us 81.
- Locate the 11th digit in the code, using our example code, that is 8. Doing something similar to before, every second digit from 8. With our example code
(97 35940 56482 4) these numbers would be, starting from 8, 6, 0, 9, 3 and 9, which added together gives us a total of 35.
- Instead of multiplying this time, we simply add the sums from step 2 and step 3, which for us is 81 and 35, giving us a total of 116.
- Round the number from step 4 to the nearest multiple of 10. For our example it means rounding 116 to 120.
- We then subtract the total from step 4 from the total of step 5, in order to find the difference between the two. For our example this is 120 subtract 114, giving us a total of 4. This 4 should be the same as the 13th digit (the check number) in the EAN-13 barcode. 97 35940 56482 4
The detail in an EAN-13 barcode
This shows the detail in an EAN-13 barcode
The information transmitted in the barcode can be found in the first 12 digits of the barcode, as the 13th digit is the check number.
The number system is made up of 2 (sometimes 3) digits. This identifies the country/region authority which assigned the manufacturer code.
The manufacturer code (shown in the picture above as the Mfg Code). The manufacturer code is a unique code assigned to each manufacturer by the numbering authority shown by the number system code. All products produced by a company will use the same manufacturer code.
The product code is assigned by the manufacturer and immediately follows the manufacturer code.
The check digit is used to check that the barcode is generated and scanned correctly.