EAN is the standard adopted worldwide except for the U.S. and Canada. The EAN
codes look similar to UPC codes except that EAN codes are 13 digits long.
Retail products produced outside of North America feature a single standard EAN barcode.
The exceptions to this rule are: books, magazines, greeting cards, and prescription
drugs. Retail products sold within North America feature a UPC barcode.
EAN is a product-specific 13-digit code represented by vertical bars of varied
widths representing numbers which are often, but not always, printed on the code.
Barcode scanners read the bars, converting them back to the 13-digit numbers.
When you reach an agreement with a retailer to carry your product(s), they request
specific information required by their sales and inventory tracking systems. It often
includes: barcode, picture, weight and dimensions of package and shipping carton,
I export goods outside of North America. Do I need an EAN code?
In the past, we explained that the UPC code is 12 digits long and can be read
both by UPC and by EAN scanners since the EAN system is set to accept UP TO 13 digits,
making the UPC ideal for worldwide product roll-out since they can be read universally.
After receiving an increasing number of reports that retailers in Europe and Asia
are requesting EAN barcodes, we now suggest that you use an EAN code on exported
We email your UPC barcode graphic in the universally accepted .jpeg format. Your
graphic artist, printing company, or manufacturing facility has the software to reproduce
the graphic in other formats; if a problem arises,contact us.
For the typical small manufacturer or assembler, the most expedient way is to
use labels on the product or package. We give 25 FREE labels to get you started.
We print additional labels for as little as .02 cents each. Order on the Home page.
Including the barcode graphic on your packaging prior to manufacturing is the
most economical way of getting your barcode on your product.