The information provided here describes how to create and implement the various types of automation used by the United States Postal Service (USPS). Information about barcode generation, printing and verification is provided for Postnet, Planet, GS1-128, EAN-128, FIM, OCR-A and USPS Intelligent Mail® Barcode (aka: OneCode Solution 4-State Customer Barcode)
The POSTNET (Postal Numeric Encoding Technique) barcode type was developed by the U. S. Post Office to encode zip code information. POSTNET barcodes on U.S. mail improve the speed, accuracy and delivery of mail. Some U.S. Post Offices also offer a discount for sending bulk mail that contains the POSTNET barcode. However, the USPS plans to require the Intelligent Mail barcode to qualify for automation discounts beginning January of 2009. For this reason, IDAutomation has implemented unique encoding in IDAutomation Postnet Fonts, which allow printing of Postnet, Planet and Intelligent Mail barcodes with the same font, to meet the requirements today with the needs of tomorrow.
All IDAutomation Barcode Products support the printing of Postnet such as the Barcode Components, Label Software and the Postnet Font Advantage Package, which includes over 30 encoders for easy integration, including support for Microsoft Access, Crystal Reports, Oracle Reports and FileMaker.
Determining the Data to Encode:
from example data above:
After the string is obtained, it is encoded with IDAutomation's products.
Generating a barcode:
Location of the symbol:
Create Intelligent Mail Barcodes using Postnet Barcode Fonts
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USPS Intelligent Mail (Aka: OneCode, the 4-State Customer Barcode, 4CB and USPS4CB) includes a height-modulated barcode designed for use in high speed, automated, mail sorting machines that allow both PLANET and POSTNET barcode information to be combined into a single barcode to track mailings, request address-quality services (including updated address-change information) and return-mail service. The unique encoding used in IDAutomation Postnet Barcode Fonts allows printing of Postnet, Planet and Intelligent Mail barcodes with the same font.
Note: The OneCode Solution is also known as the Intelligent Mail Customer Barcode. The encoding of each is the same. In IDAutomation products, the selection of OneCode will create the same barcode as the Intelligent Mail Customer Barcode.
The USPS Planet barcode is designed to track both inbound and outbound letter mail. The Planet barcodes complement the existing Postnet barcodes. The Planet barcodes are required by the U. S. Post Office to use their Confirm service. USPS Intelligent Mail OneCode Confirm should be considered for new implementations of this barcode type, because it combines Postnet and Planet data into a single barcode symbol.
CONFIRM provides confirmation that customers received the mail, allowing mailers to synchronize telemarketing programs with direct mail campaigns or augment other advertising media with their mailings.
Confirm is built on the PLANET Code, a 12-digit barcode:
Contact the USPS manager of the Planet program at the post office to receive more information on the formatting and placement of PLANET barcodes.
The United States Postal Service uses the EAN-128 barcode (also known as Code 128 and GS1-128) for special services such as delivery confirmation. When used for the USPS, the IDAutomationC128L font provided in the Code 128 Barcode Font Advantage Package and the Postnet Barcode Font Advantage Package should be printed at 16 points, which will produce a height of .75" and an X dimension of .013" as required. The IDAutomationC128M font may also be used at 18 points to achieve a greater X dimension (a wider barcode) with the same height.
For information about formatting USPS GS1-128 (UCC/EAN128) barcodes with IDAutomation products, refer to the USPS portion of the Code 128 Barcode FAQ.
OCR-A is not a barcode, but a font that enables text to be easily read by OCR (Optical Character Recognition) scanners at the post office. When used for the USPS, the IDAutomationOCRa font provided in the OCR Font Advantage Package and the Postnet Barcode Font Advantage Package should be printed at 9 points. This size is required for USPS scanners to automatically read the address when the barcode is unavailable or not readable.
The Facing Identification Mark (FIM) is a type of barcode with vertical and horizontal bars used to identify business reply, courtesy reply and OCR-readable mail. This barcode type is only provided in the Postnet Barcode Font Advantage Package and should be printed at 36 points.
Before sending the printed barcodes to the post office, IDAutomation suggests verifying the result with a verifier, which is provided in the form of a hand-held 2D barcode image reader. The image reader will grade the barcodes with a quality assurance test and report possible problems. Below is an example of the output received when scanning a Postnet barcode with the IDAutomation 2D Barcode Scanner:>>> PQA <<<
The IDAutomation 2D Barcode Scanner also reads OCR-A and may help verify the correct printing of OCR text.
IDAutomation provides several font tools, macros and source code samples that are free to use with IDAutomation barcode fonts, and will automatically format the data to the fonts. Additionally, IDAutomation Barcode Components automatically perform all necessary calculations. Therefore, manual check digit calculations are usually not necessary.
To manually calculate the check digit for the Postnet barcode:
To manually calculate the check digits for USPS EAN128 / GS1-128, please refer to the USPS section of the Code 128 Barcode FAQ.
The USPS Intelligent Mail (Aka: OneCode & 4-State Customer Barcode) is very complex to create and contains many more calculations than a simple check digit. The source code used to create Intelligent Mail barcodes can be provided with the purchase of the Unlimited Developer License and a signed Source Code License Agreement for one of the products supporting Intelligent Mail & OneCode barcodes.
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