How Do You Search an Item by Its Bar Code?


Quick Answer

Smartphone applications are an efficient way to find a product by its bar code. There are also websites that function as UPC databases, such as UpcDataBase.com.

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There are multiple applications available for smartphone users that can physically scan a bar code. However, the numbers associated with the bar code can be used in the same manner to gain product information. Typically, conducting a search through Google for the numbers on the bar code returns accurate results for well-known products. When using a website or conducting a Google search, it is imperative to include all numbers associated with bar code in the search input. Otherwise, faulty or incomplete results may be generated.

UPC is the retail industry term used to reference bar codes. UPC stands for Universal Product Code and was originally designed for grocery stores to speed up checkouts and track inventory more closely. The UPC consists of two parts: the 12 numbers decipherable by humans and the actual bar code used for machine recognition.

The first six numbers, including the small number offset to the left, represent the manufacturer's identification number. The next five numbers are the item number, the one that is associated with the actual product. The last number, small and offset to the right, is called the check number. It allows the machine scanning it to run the other numbers through a formula to ensure the UPC was scanned correctly.

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