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Home > Barcode Fonts > 2D Barcodes > Data Matrix Fonts > Data Matrix Font and Encoder User Guide

Data Matrix Font and Encoder User Guide

 Forum Support Download The Data Matrix Font and Encoder for Windows Demo Order The Data Matrix Font and Encoder for Windows Package

Implementation Tutorials

Specifications

Support Issues and Solutions

Font Encoder Overview and Features

The IDAutomation Data Matrix Font and Encoder Package is a collection of components that generate Data Matrix ECC200 barcodes using both fonts and graphics. Approximately 800 characters of text and binary data can be stored in a single Data Matrix barcode.

Because Data Matrix utilizes Reed Solomon error correction, the barcode can withstand some damage without loss of data when scanned. Reed Solomon error correction is a requirement of all ECC200 barcode symbols, and ECC200 is the recommended ISO and AIM standard of error correction used in those symbols. This high level of error correction decreases read errors and is far more advanced than one-dimensional barcodes which use check digits. All IDAutomation barcode products support ECC200 by default.

The Data Matrix fonts provided in this package include support for Structured Append, which allows thousands of characters to be encoded into multiple barcode symbols. This advanced Data Matrix barcode font uses IDAutomation Vertical Interleaved Technology™ which allows increased throughput and printing at smaller X dimensions than competitors' products.

The encoders provided in this package will format the data-to-encode into a text string that will create a readable Data Matrix barcode after the appropriate font is applied to it. Please review the Data Matrix Encoder for Windows Tutorial to learn more about how these encoders work. The following Data Matrix barcode font encoders are provided in this package:

Graphic encoders are also included in this package in addition to the font encoders provided. The graphic encoders are components that return a graphic image of the complete symbol instead of text that needs to be combined with a font. The following graphic encoders are provided:

Implementation Options

If the provided font and graphic encoders are not supported in the application being used, consider the following alternative implementation options:

  • Data Matrix may be printed on an unsupported system by using a font encoder to populate a database with the "text string to print" and by accessing the database from the other system with the Data Matrix font.
  • The source code for any single encoder (available in Java, C++, C# .NET or Visual Basic 6) will be supplied with the purchase of the Unlimited Developer License and a signed Source Code Agreement. VB 6 source code is automatically supplied with any Developer License purchase and consists of about 5000 lines of code.
  • IDAutomation Barcode Label Software Pro is a stand-alone label design application with VB scripting support and database connectivity.
  • IDAutomation Data Matrix Barcode Image Generators create individual images on Windows systems. Command line options are also available with this product.

Windows Installation

Extract the files included with the product and run the installation executable to install the files needed in the application folder under Program Files, and the following components:

  1. Data Matrix Encoder for Windows provides an easy method to create Data Matrix barcodes for printing or pasting into other applications.
  2. TrueType Fonts: The Data Matrix ECC-200 font named IDAutomationDMatrix.
  3. Crystal Reports UFL allows use of the Data Matrix fonts from Crystal Reports, compatible with version 9 and above.
  4. FileMaker Plugin is compatible with FileMaker and FileMaker Pro Advanced versions 4 and higher for Windows and Mac environments.
  5. ActiveX Control is a graphic encoder used in Access, Excel, Visual Basic, Visual FoxPro and C++.
  6. Windows DLL is the font encoder for Windows applications, and is installed in the Windows System32 folder.
  7. Signed ActiveX CAB File may be used with InfoPath, Internet Explorer and FrontPage.
  8. VBA Module may be used in Visual Basic, Excel or Access.
  9. Visual Basic Source Code is the source code used to create the Data Matrix Font and Encoder for Windows. The source code for generating Data Matrix from any other single encoder may be provided with the purchase of the Unlimited Developer License and a signed Source Code Agreement.
  10. Microsoft Office Examples are provided for Word Mail-Merge and Access. Data Matrix fonts cannot be used directly in Excel because the method Excel uses to display and print fonts are incompatible with stacked barcodes. To print barcodes from Excel, use the ActiveX Control or Word Mail-Merge.

VBA Module For VB, Excel and Access

The VBA module is required when using font encoders in VB 6, Excel or Access; it is provided in the following two forms:

  • The IDAutomation_Datamatrix_Macro.bas module accesses the ActiveX DLL for the encoder function. Created in C++, the ActiveX DLL is faster than the native VBA code. However, the installation executable provided in the package must be installed on each computer.
  • The IDAutomation_Native_Datamatrix_Macro.bas module is the complete encoder function in "native" Visual Basic form (VBA). With the exception of Java, it is the only encoder that is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh. When distributing an application with this module, the ActiveX DLL does not need to be installed or distributed. This module is only provided in the purchased version of the Advantage Package.

Importing The VBA Module

  1. Extract the files provided with the product.
  2. Open VB, Excel or Access.
  3. If using Excel or Access, select Tools - Macro - Visual Basic Editor to open the VB editor.
  4. If importing the IDAutomation_Datamatrix_Macro.bas module, run the installation executable first. Then, in the Visual Basic Editor, select File - Import File and browse to the Program Files/IDAutomation.com DataMatrix Font and Encoder for Windows folder and select that .bas file.
     - If the Project Explorer is not on the left hand side in the Visual Basic Editor, click View and select Project Explorer.
     - Expand the "Modules" folder and double-click "IDAutomation_Datamatrix_Macro" to see the code.

    Expand the Modules folder and double-click the IDAutomation_DataMatrix_Macro to see the code

    - Place an apostrophe ( ' ) before the "Option Compare Database" and "Option Explicit" lines.

    Enter an apostrophe before the "Option Compare Database" and "Option Explicit" lines
     
  5. Select Tools - References and select IDAutomation Data Matrix Barcode, then click OK.
     
  6. If importing the IDAutomation_Native_Datamatrix_Macro.bas module, select File - Import File and then the module to import from the VBA folder of the extracted files.
    The native module, IDAutomation_Native_Datamatrix_Macro.bas, is compatible with Windows and Macintosh, but is only supplied in the purchased version of the product.
  7. If using Excel or Access, select File - Close to close the VB editor and then select File - Save.
  8. After the file is imported, the IDAutomation_DataMatrix function may be called according to the chart below. The zero digit is the default for all parameters (which are optional) and is used for automatic mode or a false setting. The one digit is used for a true setting.
     

    IDAutomation_Datamatrix_Macro.bas

    EncDM(DataToEncode As String, Optional ProcessTilde, Optional EncodingMode, Optional PreferredFormat) Example:
    =EncDM([Test Data.data])
    or
    =EncDM([Test Data.data],1,3,0)
    IDAutomation_Native_Datamatrix_Macro.bas
    (Mac users must include all parameters.)
    EncNDM(DataToEncode As String, Optional ProcessTilde, Optional EncodingMode, Optional PreferredFormat) Example:
    =EncNDM([Test Data.data])
    or
    =EncNDM([Test Data.data],1,3,0)

    VBA Macro Parameters

    Result = (DataToEncode As String, Optional ProcessTilde, Optional EncodingMode, Optional PreferredFormat)

Microsoft Access Implementation

There are three implementation options in Microsoft Access, two of which are supported in the IDAutomation Data Matrix Barcode Font & Encoder Package. When used in reports and forms, the graphic encoder option may be the easiest product to use.

Graphic Encoder Implementation

  1. Run the installation executable in the package and follow the instructions to complete the installation.
  2. Open a report in Design Mode.
  3. Select Insert - ActiveX Control and choose the IDAutomation Data Matrix control.
  4. Move and size the control necessary. To change the properties of the control, such as height and symbology type, right-click on the control and choose Properties.
  5. To bind the control to a data source, enter the table and field or formula in the control source field. The proper barcode will show up after the report is saved and executed.
  6. Additional implementation information is provided in the ActiveX Control Manual.

Font Encoder Implementation

  1. Run the installation executable file in the package and follow the instructions to complete installation.
  2. Import the VBA module into the database.
  3. Open a report in Design Mode.
  4. Add a text field to the report where the barcode will live. Adjust the field size to contain the barcode. Change the font point size of the field to 8 points.
  5. Right-click on the text field and enter the function call as a formula in the control source property. For example:
    =IDAutomation_Native_DataMatrix([Test Data.data])
    The following formula combines two fields into a single symbol and inserts a tab function between them:
    =IDAutomation_Native_DataMatrix([Test Data.TextData] & Chr(9) & [Test Data.NumberData])
  6. Save the report and run it. Several numbers should appear in the text field when the report is run. This data will create a correct barcode after the Data Matrix Font is applied.
  7. Open the report in Design Mode and select the IDAutomationDMatrix font for the text field. The recommended point size is 8.
  8. Save the report and run it. a correct symbol should appear in the text field.

Word Mail-Merge Implementation (Mac Compatible)

Data Matrix barcodes may be created in a Word mail-merge if Excel is used as the data source with the following procedure.

  1. Extract the files provided with the product.
  2. When using Windows, run the installation executable in the package to install the IDAutomationDMatrix font. Mac users should follow the Font Installation Procedures for Mac to install the IDAutomationDMatrix font.
  3. Import the VBA module into the Excel spreadsheet that will be used as the data source. When using the Mac, the native module, IDAutomation_Native_DataMatrix_Mac.rtf must be used.
    • Because Office 2004 for Mac does not have an import feature, users will need to copy the RTF file manually by going to Tools - Macros - Visual Basic Editor. Once the editor window is open, go to Insert - Module and paste the contents of the RTF file.
  4. Place a title in each column of the spreadsheet on row 1 that will contain the data, and then import the data into the Excel spreadsheet.
  5. Select a blank column on row 1, to the right of the last populated column in the spreadsheet, and title it "Barcode".
  6. Add a formula on row 2 of the Barcode column that calls the function as a formula.
    • For example, the following formula adds columns A and B to the barcode.
      Windows Example:
       =SUBSTITUTE(EncNDM(A2&B2),CHAR(10),"")
      Macintosh Example:
       =SUBSTITUTE(EncNDM(A2&B2,0,0,-1),CHAR(10),"")
    • The following formula adds just column A to the barcode, with some optional parameters
       =SUBSTITUTE(EncNDM(A2,1,0,3),CHAR(10),"")
    • The following formula adds columns A, B and C to the barcode and separates them with a comma delimiter.
      Windows Example:
       =SUBSTITUTE(EncNDM(A2&","&B2&","&C2),CHAR(10),"")
      Macintosh Example:
       =SUBSTITUTE(EncNDM(A2&","&B2&","&C2,0,0,-1),CHAR(10),"")
  7. Highlight the cell with the formula in it and select Edit - Copy.
  8. Select the entire range of cells to paste this formula into in the Barcode column and select Edit - Paste.
  9. Follow the procedures in Word to add this spreadsheet as the data source the mail merge.
  10. Add the mail merge field titled "Barcode" to place the barcode in the document.
  11. Highlight the Ā«BarcodeĀ» merge field and select the IDAutomationDMatrix font.
  12. After the mail merge is performed, the barcodes should appear in the merged document.
  13. A working example is provided in the Word Mail-Merge.doc file included with the Windows install package.

Crystal Reports Integration

IDAutomation provides two Crystal Reports font encoders in this package:

  • The UFL Formula accesses the ActiveX DLL and Crystal UFL for the font encoder function. Created in C++, the ActiveX DLL is faster than the native formula. However, when distributing the report, the Windows installation executable file must also be installed.
  • The Native Formula is the complete font encoder function that may be embedded in a report, but is much slower than the Crystal UFL. Because when distributing a report, no other components are required beyond the Data Matrix font. Additionally, the slower speed of generation may not be an issue when encoding less than 40 characters. This formula is only provided in the purchased version of the Advantage Package.

While not part of this package, IDAutomation provides two other Crystal Reports implementations that may be a better solution for the desired application:

Limitations With Crystal Reports Prior to Version 9

The Crystal Reports UFL is designed to work with Crystal Reports 6.0 and above. However, because of a Crystal Reports limitation prior to Version 9, only up to about 40 ASCII characters, or 254 character, may be encoded. To overcome this limitation, consider Crystal Reports version 9 or greater.

Crystal Reports Version 9 and Greater

Overcome the 254 character limitation by using a formula that is able to retrieve the data encoded in 254 byte chunks. A simple example of creating a Data Matrix barcode in Crystal is included in the Font and Encoder package. Consider referring to that example if problems are encountered.

How the Font and Encoder Works with Crystal Reports

After installing the Data Matrix Font and Encoder for Windows, the encoder functions will be operative in Crystal Reports.

  1. The IDAutomationDataMatrixEncoderDMSet function returns the number of data segments contained in the barcode and sets up the barcode for retrieval. All fields passed to the encoder set function must be text fields or they must be converted to text.
  2. The IDAutomationDataMatrixEncoderDMGet function returns a string for the designated data segment. A correct barcode string is achieved when all data segments are combined.
  3. When the barcode string is combined with IDAutomation's Data Matrix font, it will produce a Data Matrix barcode.

How to Create a Data Matrix Barcode in Crystal Reports

  1. Select View - Field Explorer. Select Formula Fields. Right click and select New. Enter a name to identify the formula created and choose OK.
  2. The Formula Editor should now appear.
    • When the Native Formula is used, change the Formula Syntax to Basic Syntax. Copy and paste the text from the file "Native Formula for IDAutomation DataMatrix Fonts.txt" into the Formula Editor dialog box. The Native Crystal Report Example.rpt file is provided in this package as an example, and may be referred to for troubleshooting purposes.
    • When the UFL Formula is used, copy and paste the code below into the Formula Editor dialog box. The Crystal Reports Example.rpt file is provided in this package as an example, and may be referred to for troubleshooting purposes:
      stringVar DataToEncode:= {Table.Field};
      stringVar CompleteBarcodeString:="";
      numberVar i:=0;
      numberVar Segments:= IDAutomationDataMatrixEncoderDMSet(DataToEncode,0 
      ,0 ,0 );
      For i:=0 to Segments Do
      	(
      	CompleteBarcodeString := CompleteBarcodeString + IDAutomationDataMatrixEncoderDMGet(i);
      	);
      	CompleteBarcodeString
  3. Change the DataToEncode = section of the formula so it encodes fields from a database. Save the formula.
  4. The field where the barcode is to be placed on the report must allow multiple lines, because the formula draws the symbol line-by-line. Format the field so that all borders are removed as borders will usually cause scanning problems. Size the field so that it is large enough to contain the barcode.
  5. Select File - Print Preview or the Preview tab. A series of many characters will be visible in the text field which is normal.
  6. After the font of the field is changed to the Data Matrix Font (IDAutomationDMatrix) a correct barcode symbol will be created.

Encoder Parameters for DMSet and the Native Formula

Number of Segments = (DataToEncode As String, ProcessTilde, EncodingMode, PreferredFormat)

There are a variety of ways to format the data-to-encode. Combining multiple fields and placing functions in a single barcode is also possible. The most common functions are CHR(9) for tab and CHR(13) for a return.

  • The following formula combines two fields in a single barcode and places a tab function between them:
    stringVar DataToEncode:= {Table1.DataField1} & CHR(9) & {Table1.DataField2};
  • The following formula places a tab function and a return function after the barcode:
    stringVar DataToEncode:= {Table1.DataField1} & CHR(9) & CHR(13);
  • The formula below combines two fields with the date function:
    stringVar DataToEncode:= {Table1.DataField1} & CHR(9) & {Table1.DataField2} & CHR(13) & CurrentDate;

Refer to official Crystal Reports documentation for more about creating reports with formulas.

FileMaker Pro Plug-in

IDAutomation's DataMatrix Barcode Font may be easily integrated into FileMaker using dynamic calculated fields without the use of scripts with this FileMaker Plugin. Encode up to 800 characters into a barcode, which is ideal for creating barcodes on badges when concatenating multiple fields into a single barcode.

DataMatrix Badge Example

View step-by-step instructions on installing, registering and using the plugin in FileMaker.

Native JavaScript Font Encoder

The Native JavaScript Font Encoder is a complete font encoder in a single JavaScript file, meaning no other components need to be installed to create barcodes beyond the IDAutomationDMatrix font. This product is only provided in the purchased version of the Advantage Package. The following describes how to use the Native JavaScript Font Encoder in HTML:

  1. Open the HTML document or application that the barcode is to be integrated with.
  2. Add the following line at the top of the file just before the </head> line to load the appropriate JavaScript file:
     <script language="JavaScript" src="IDAutomation_DataMatrix_Font_Encoder.js"></script>
  3. Add a script where the barcode is to appear in the HTML document or text object, which is the file name without the ".js":
    <font face="IDAutomationDMatrix" size="2">
    <script type="text/javascript">
        document.write(IDAutomation_DataMatrix_Font_Encoder("Created with the IDAutomation.com Native JavaScript Font Encoder"));
    </script></font>
  4. Modify "DataToEncode" with what is to be encoded in the barcode. This may be accomplished with a "variable" in JavaScript or a dynamically generated webpage.

JavaScript Font Encoder Parameters

Result = (DataToEncode As String, Optional ProcessTilde, Optional EncodingMode, Optional PreferredFormat, Optional HTML)
Example:
IDAutomation_DataMatrix_Font_Encoder("ECC200_123456789012",false,2,29));

The HTML property sets the value for the carriage return that draws the barcode. If HTML is true (the default setting), the carriage return is <br> for use in HTML only. If it is false, the carriage return is an ASCII 13 + ASCII 10, which is a return and line feed.

Microsoft .NET Integration

Data Matrix barcode generation in .NET applications may be accomplished with graphic or font encoders. Integration into ASP.NET and other web applications is best implemented as a graphic encoder with the ASP.NET Web Component provided in this package. Information about printing from the .NET Forms Control without using fonts is provided in the .NET Forms Control Manual.

.NET Font Encoder Example

The following is an example that uses the font encoder to obtain the data, that when printed with IDAutomation's Data Matrix Font, will create a correct barcode. The source code for this font encoder example is provided in the package for testing and reference.

  1. In a .NET project, add a reference to the DLL and place the import statement in the declarations section of the project. For example:
     Imports IDAutomation.Windows.Forms.Data MatrixBarcode
  2. Obtain the string of data, that when printed with IDAutomation's Data Matrix Font, will create a correct symbol:
     Dim NewBarcode As Data MatrixBarcode = New Data MatrixBarcode()
    TextBox2.Text = NewBarcode.FontEncoder(TextBox1.Text, 0, 0, 0, False, Data MatrixBarcode.Data MatrixModes.Text, True)

Encoder Parameters

Result=(DataToEncode as String, ProcessTilde, EncodingMode, PreferredFormat)

Java Integration

This section describes the font encoder process in Java. Implementation in Java as a graphic encoder is described in the Java Barcode User Manual.

Install the Encoder Class Library
Copy everything in the "Java Class Encoder" directory to the root directory of the system's Java classpath. Consult the Java documentation or the company that provided the Java virtual machine for assistance.

Integrate the Font Encode Method
After the directories are copied to the classpath root, the method to format data to the font can then be called from a method in a Java application as in this example:

import java.io.*;
import com.idautomation.fontencoder.datamatrix.*;
class DMatrixTest {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        String dataToEncode = "Data Matrix Test";
        DataMatrixEncoder dme = new DataMatrixEncoder();
        System.out.println(dme.fontEncode(dataToEncode));
    }
}

The data string returned by the fontEncode method will create a proper Data Matrix symbol when printed with the Data Matrix font. To install the font on an operating system, consult the OS documentation or follow IDAutomation's font installation procedures.

Java Encoder Properties and Methods

  • fontEncode() is the method that formats and returns a string of data formatted to the Data Matrix font.
  • code is the value to be encoded.
  • encoding is the encoding mode; valid values are E_ASCII (default), E_C40, E_TEXT or E_BASE256.
  • preferredFormat sets the preferred format represented by a number; valid values are from 0 (10X10) to 23 (144X144) and from 24 (8X18) to 29 (16X48); the default value is -1 which sets this to automatic.
  • processTilde If true ("Y") the tilde (~) will be processed.

C++ .H Header File

The IDAutomationDataMatrix.h is an unobfuscated C++ header file that may be provided, upon request, with the purchase of an Unlimited Developer License for the Data Matrix Font & Encoder Advantage Package and a signed Source Code Agreement. This header file uses the C++ libraries to return an encoded string that can be used with the IDAutomationDMatrix. Both the method declaration and implementation are in the header file, so no .cpp file is necessary. Include the header file in the source code and it is ready to use. The header file contains no OS-specific code and has been QA tested with G++ on Ubuntu Linux and Visual Studio versions 6, 2003 and 2005.

The following is an implementation example that will display the encoded text at the command prompt:

#include < string > #include < iostream > 
#include "IDAutomationDataMatrix.h"

int main() {
    string DataToEncode = "IDAutomation.com";
    string EncodedData = "";
    int ApplyTilde = 0;
    int EncodingMode = 0;
    int PreferredFormat = 0;
    EncodedData = IDAutomation_DMFontEncode(DataToEncode, ApplyTilde, EncodingMode, PreferredFormat);
    printf("Data Matrix Encoded Data:\n%s\n", EncodedData.c_str());
}

The function declaration is as follows:
string IDAutomation_DMFontEncode(string DataToEncode, int ApplyTilde, int EncodingMode, int PreferredFormat)

Using the ActiveX COM DLL Font Encoder

Install the Font and Encoder for Windows by running the EXE file provided in the package. Upon execution, it installs TrueType fonts, implementation examples and registers the ActiveX DLL. To register the DLL manually, perform the following:

  1. Copy the DLL to the \System directory.
  2. Register the DLL by going to the command prompt, change to the \system directory, and type the following command: REGSVR32 "IDAutomationDMATRIX.DLL".
  3. After the DLL is installed and registered, it may be accessed by any application that can retrieve a text string or graphic object from a COM DLL.

When using the COM DLL as a graphic encoder, refer to the instructions in the ActiveX Control Manual. When using the COM DLL as a font encoder, the FontEncode function is used to convert the data to encode into a string, that when combined with the Data Matrix font, will create a correct barcode. The following is Visual Basic 6 code that places the result in the "PrintableBarcodeString" variable:

DataToEncode = InputString.Text
Dim DMFontEncoder As DMATRIXLib.Datamatrix
Set DMFontEncoder = New Datamatrix
DMFontEncoder.FontEncode DataToEncode, 0, 0, 0, Printable_string
PrintableBarcodeString = Printable_string

A Visual Basic project example is included with the package. These files are placed in the destination directory upon installation.

ActiveX Encoder Parameters

DataToEncode, ProcessTilde, EncodingMode, PreferredFormat, Result

Data Matrix Barcode Support and FAQ

Forum SupportDistributing the IDAutomation Data Matrix Barcode Font and Encoder

Note: Redistribution of IDAutomation's fonts or components requires a Developer License.

When Crystal Reports or Microsoft Access applications are distributed, the Native Crystal Formula or the Native Access Encoder provided in this package may be distributed without any dependencies as the font encoder function along with the IDAutomationDMatrix font. Other encoders provided such as the ActiveX DLL, .NET DLL and Java Class Library do not have any dependencies.

Benefits of Printing the Data Matrix Barcode as a Font

The benefits include high scalability with operating system, application and printer independence, these are best described in IDAutomation's Font Quality and Customer References Statement.

Encoding Extended ASCII Characters

It is possible to scan and encode extended characters provided these rules are followed:

  1. Encode the data using BASE256. This option encodes ASCII 0 to 255 of the ASCII character set. To encode ASCII 0, the format ~d000 should be used. When encoding over 1024 characters of data, ASCII 127-160 must also be encoded in the format ~dNNN.
  2. Scan the data via the serial interface option (data bits have to be 8N) on a scanner. Normally, keyboard wedges and USB scanners do not support extended characters above ASCII 128 and they only can scan characters that are actually on the keyboard. Contact the scanner vendor for more information on how to do this; some internal settings may have to be modified on the scanner.
Amount of Data That May be Encoded

IDAutomation's Data Matrix product will encode the amount of data specified in the Data Matrix Formats section. However, in most situations it is difficult to scan data over 800 characters. The ActiveX and COM DLL provided have an encoding limitation of about 800 characters, which is necessary for compatibility with Visual Basic.

The Structured Append function is also an option that will allow large amounts of data to be represented as a sequence of up to 16 symbols. The original data can be reconstructed regardless of the order of the symbols.

Microsoft Excel Compatibility

Microsoft Excel may be used as a data source for the font; however, it is difficult to use the Data Matrix font in Excel. To overcome this problem, the Data Matrix DLL supplied also works as an ActiveX Control and may be used in this way when fonts are not required. To use it in this manner, see the ActiveX Control tutorial for instructions.

Line Spacing Issues (Too Much Space Between Lines)

Some implementations of PostScript fonts can cause a small space to appear between rows in the symbol. The only way to overcome this issue is to make sure the printing application is not adding additional line feeds, or in the case of PCL fonts, change the vertical motion index as indicated below.

When using 12 or 14 point PCL fonts, adjusting the vertical motion index is not usually necessary. If other sizes are being used, however, adjustments may be needed to close the gap between rows. To set the vertical motion index, issue the command before printing with the Data Matrix font. The code for the vertical motion index command is Escape "<Ec>" + "&" + lowercase L "l" + Number Index + Capital "C". Use the chart below to find the command for the correct font size. The number may be adjusted as necessary for the printer.

PCL Font Point Size

Vertical Motion Index Command to Use

10 <Ec> &l6.5C
8 <Ec> &l5.2C
6 <Ec> &l3.9C

In the example above, <Ec> represents the escape character for the software used. In DOS Edit, Ec is represented by holding down the CTRL key and pressing the letter P, Releasing both keys and then press the ESC key.

X Axis Issues or Left Margin Alignment Issues

This issue may arise when moving the barcode to the right on the X axis using a programming language such as Visual Basic. When using the printer.currentX specification to set the X axis, only the first line of the barcode would print in the new position and the remaining lines would print at zero (all the way to the left). This is because the printer.currentX specification is reset every time a return is performed. A return must be performed to print the font on the new line.

The best resolution is to find a command that could move the left margin so that a new line will return the insertion point to the correct position. Since Visual Basic does not have a command such as this, a small piece of code must be written to set the currentX for each line.

Step 1. Declare and initialize a variable with the desired X position. Example: my_x = printer.currentX

Step 2. Replace the "Printer.Print OutputString" command with something similar to the following:

For i = 1 To Len(Output)
  out1 = out1 & Mid(Output, i, 1)
  If Mid(Output, i, 1) = Chr(10) Then
  out1 = Replace(out1, Chr(10), "")r>   out1 = Replace(out1, Chr(13), "")
  Printer.CurrentX = my_x
  Printer.Print out1
  out1 = ""
  End If
Next i

Data Matrix Barcode Specifications

Data Matrix Formats

The selected format determines the smallest size of the symbol. If the data encoded cannot fit in the selected size, a larger symbol will automatically be generated. Valid values are from -1 (for automatic) and 0 to 23 (144X144) and from 24 (8X18) to 29 (16X48). The following table contains the size, the best case capacity and the correction error features of each format:

Format Number Size Numeric Capacity Alphanumeric Capacity Binary Capacity Max Correctable Error/Erasure
0 10 x 10 6 3 1 2
1 12 x 12 10 6 3 3
2 14 x 14 16 10 6 5/7
3 16 x 16 24 16 10 6/9
4 18 x 18 36 25 16 7/11
5 20 x 20 44 31 20 9/15
6 22 x 22 60 43 28 10/17
7 24 x 24 72 52 34 12/21
8 26 x 26 88 64 42 14/25
9 32 x 32 124 91 60 18/33
10 36 x 36 172 127 84 21/39
11 40 x 40 228 169 112 24/45
12 44 x 44 288 214 142 28/53
13 48 x 48 348 259 172 34/65
14 52 x 52 408 304 202 42/78
15 64 x 64 560 418 278 56/106
16 72 x 72 736 550 366 72/132
17 80 x 80 912 682 454 96/180
18 88 x 88 1152 862 574 112/212
19 96 x 96 1392 1042 694 136/260
20 104 x 104 1632 1222 814 168/318
21 120 x 120 2100 1573 1048 204/390
22 132 x 132 2608 1954 1302 248/472
23 144 x 144 3116 2335 1556 310/590
24 8 x 18 10 6 3 3
25 8 x 32 20 13 8 5
26 12 x 26 32 22 14 7/11
27 12 x 36 44 31 20 9/15
28 16 x 36 64 46 30 12/21
29 16 x 48 98 72 47 14/25

Encoding Modes

The data encoded in the barcode may be compressed by changing the encoding mode, if certain text is being encoded. Valid values are 0 for BASE256, 1 for C40, 2 for TEXT and 3 for ASCII.

  • 0 - BASE256 is used to encode 8 bit values.
  • 1 - C40 is used to encode data that mainly contains numeric and upper case characters. C40 encodes three alphanumeric data characters into two bytes.
  • 2 - TEXT is used to encode data that mainly contains numeric and lowercase characters. TEXT encodes three alphanumeric data characters into two bytes.
  • 3 - ASCII is used to encode data that mainly contains ASCII characters (0-127). It encodes one alphanumeric or two numeric characters per byte. Use this mode when encoding DOD UID or ISO/IEC 15434.

All encoding systems can be used to encode any data; however, encoding binary data with C40 generates much more overhead (a larger symbol) than with BASE256.

Control Characters and Use of Tilde

When ProcessTilde is equal to 1 or TRUE, the tilde (~) may be used to recognize some special characters in the input data. The following possibilities are available:

  • ~dNNN: Represents the ASCII character encoded by the 3 digits NNN. For example, ~d065 represents the character 'A'.

Data Matrix Barcode Font Specifications

The IDAutomation DataMatrix barcode font is named IDAutomationDMatrix, and is included in several formats including TrueType, PostScript, OpenType and PCL. The IDAutomationDMatrix font should be printed at 8 points unless generating a larger or smaller barcode.

Font Point Size:

Approximate X dimensions for Data Matrix Font

14 .122 CM 48 MILS
12 .105 CM 41 MILS
10 .086 CM 33 MILS
8 .061 CM 24 MILS
6 .052 CM 20 MILS
4 .031 CM 13 MILS
3 .026 CM 10 MILS
2 .017 CM 6 MILS

Intelligent Positioning Drive Implementation

The data returned from the Data Matrix Encoder may be used for other purposes, such as in using intelligent positioning drives to stamp codes into metal parts. The images in the characters of the font are 4 squares stacked on top of each other. The sequence is a binary 0 (0000) (0 being a white space or no impression and 1 being dark space or an impression) at character "P" to a binary 15 (1111) at character "A". For example, multiple A's (1111) stacked, create a vertical line of 4 squares.

Intelligent Positioning Drive Use

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