Implementing USPS Postal Barcode Symbologies
USPS automation uses Postnet barcodes to automate the delivery of mail;
however, the USPS has discontinued offering discounts for bulk mail printed with the
Postnet barcode. Several postal barcode implementation examples are provided with the Windows installation
.exe included in the package. Additionally, many
Font Encoders include tutorials that may assist in implementation.
Obtaining Data to Encode
Before the data is encoded in the barcode, it must be formatted properly.
The links below will provide the information necessary to create a string of text that
will be encoded:
Postnet encodes the zip code and delivery point.
Planet tracks inbound and outbound letter mail.
combines Postnet zip code data and Planet tracking
into one compact symbol. This is the new recommended barcode and will replace Postnet and Planet.
USPS GS1-128 is used for special services such as delivery confirmation.
Formatting Data to Fonts
Special formatting must be added to all Postnet, Planet and Code 128 barcodes
to create an accurate postal barcode symbol. IDAutomation recommends using
font encoder tools to
automatically add the required start, stop and checksum characters to the
In some cases, the font encoders may not be needed. If the check digit is
already pre-calculated or included in the data for a Postnet or Planet barcode,
it is only necessary to place the parenthesis or quotation marks around the data
as the start and stop characters before the font is applied and to ensure that the
data does not contain any spaces or dashes. For example, the ZIP code data of
12345-6789 would be
(1234567895) after the check digit is applied
and the Start/Stop characters added. To manually calculate the check digit,
please refer to the Check Digit Calculation Example in the
USPS Barcode FAQ. The
Online Barcode Font Encoder
may be used to verify check digits, or to create individual barcodes.
Font Names Used Prior to July,
||Interleaved 2 of 5 font
(not used by USPS
as of 2005)
||Code128() or USPS()
||Code 128 Font
||Postnet font with bars narrowed by 10%
||Planet font with bars narrowed by 10%
||FIM barcode font
NOTE: The Postnet Font Package is now combined with the
Intelligent Mail Font Package, which includes other USPS fonts including
Intelligent Mail, FIM, Code-128 and OCR-A fonts. Refer to the
Intelligent Mail Font Package for a complete list of what this package
If assistance is needed, please