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Barcode Labels on Small Bottles

Q: Is there a means to print barcode in smaller font so that it scans even on smaller diameter bottles where label has a tight radius, or to print it 90 degree on edge (not sure if there is enough room for that)? If not, do you have a recommended scanner for labels affixed to small size/diameter bottles where label wraps around a good portion of bottle?”

A: The default and environmental style labels use a 24- point font size for the barcode and the small label style uses 22-point. When these label styles were originally created 22- and 24-point were the smallest font sizes that would consistently scan without problem on the Dymo LabelWriter labels with scanners of that time. Some newer scanners will successfully scan smaller sized barcodes. Font sizes for fields on the four available label styles cannot be changed. However, with a Full System license custom label styles are a simple addition. Annual subscription licensees can create custom labels with Excel templates. See “Create Custom Container Labels with Excel” in LIMS Insights Issue 20 for information on creating your own labels to experiment with smaller barcodes.

You can easily experiment to see what barcode sizes will successfully scan with your barcode scanner. LIMS uses a public domain barcode font to produce sample ID barcodes on labels and system reports. To test various sized barcodes simply open a blank Word document, enter a 10-character sample ID preceded and followed by an asterisk (no spaces), then select all 12 characters including the asterisks and change the font to ‘3 of 9 Barcode’ and set the font size.

Print multiple barcodes with various font sizes then test to see which sizes will successfully scan with your barcode scanner. Once you have determined the smallest acceptable barcode you can create your own container labels with your chosen barcode size.

We don’t have any recommendation for a specific scanner but laser scanners typically scan more accurately.

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