The way the elements of a barcode are arranged is called the barcode type, or symbology. AFP Editor lets you create these types of barcodes:
- Code 39 (3-of-9 Code): A low-density barcode that can encode uppercase letters, numbers, and some special characters.
- Data Matrix: A two-dimensional (2D) barcode that consists of black and white square modules arranged in either a square or rectangular pattern. This barcode uses the Solomon-Reed error correction algorithm (ECC 200) to ensure data reliability.
- Intelligent Mail: A 4-state barcode that the United States Postal Service (USPS) defines to track and direct mail. Intelligent Mail barcodes (IMBs) combine the capabilities of POSTNET and PLANET barcodes in one barcode.
- Interleaved 2-of-5: A high-density barcode that can encode numbers.
- Portable Data File 417 (PDF417): A two-dimensional (2D) barcode that consists of several rows, each of which is like a small linear barcode. The barcode can detect and correct errors.
- POSTal Numeric Encoding Technique (POSTNET): A barcode that the USPS defines to direct mail.
- Quick Response Code (QR Code): A two-dimensional (2D) matrix barcode that consists of black and white square modules arranged in a square pattern. The contents of this barcode can be decoded at high speed. This barcode uses the Solomon-Reed error correction algorithm (ECC 200) to ensure data reliability.
When you use the AFP Visual Environment user interface to create a barcode in a sample AFP file, you define a barcode area. You specify the origin of the area, the size (height and width) of the area, and
the location of the area in each page group. The area can be a horizontal rectangle
picket-fence barcode), a vertical rectangle (for a
ladder barcode), or a square.
You can place barcodes on:
- A specified page (for example, page 1) of each page group
- All pages in each page group
- The even pages in each page group (pages 2, 4, 6,...)
- The odd pages in each page group (pages 1, 3, 5,...)
In addition, you can specify one of these orientations for the barcode symbol within the barcode area: 0 degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees, or 270 degrees. Orientations of Barcodes shows the possible orientations for a barcode symbol with the human-readable interpretation (HRI) text placed above the barcode symbol:
Orientations of Barcodes
Code 39, Data Matrix, Interleaved 2-of-5, PDF417, POSTNET, and QR Code barcodes
AFP Editor can create Code 39, Data Matrix, Interleaved 2-of-5, PDF417, POSTNET, and QR Code barcode objects that follow the AFP Bar Code Content Object Architecture (BCOCA). AFP Editor uses the default values for all BCOCA properties and displays the default properties you can change. For information about the default values, see Bar Code Object Content Architecture Reference, S544-3766.
|Code 39 (3 of 9 Code)||
Specifying Module Width
As an advanced feature, you can specify the module width of a barcode that is written as a BCOCA object. By specifying this property, you can better control the size of the resulting barcode. The module width specifies the width in mils of the smallest defined barcode element (bar, space, or 2D module). For more information, see Bar Code Object Content Architecture Reference.
The default value is applied if you leave this option unchanged. The default values for each barcode are as follows:
|Barcode type||Recommended module width default values (in mils)|
|Code 39 (3 of 9 Code)||13|
- Valid module width values range between 7 and 254. Values outside this range are ignored.
- AFP Visual Environment does not verify whether the resulting barcode fits the defined object area.
- As specified in the BCOCA reference, the barcode types: POSTNET and Intelligent Mail Barcode have a fixed module width. You cannot specify a module width for them.
Specifying Barcode Data
You can specify this data to encode in the barcode symbol, in any combination, if the data is allowed in the barcode type:
- The value of one or more index tags. (For example, if the routing ZIP Code in an AFP file is an index tag, you can include the ZIP Code in the barcode data.) If the index tag value is different in every page group, the barcode data for the index tag is different in every page group.
- The value of one or more job properties (such as job number). The barcode data for a job property is the same in every page group.
- Text strings. The barcode data for a text string is the same in every page group.
- Human-readable interpretation (HRI).
- Code page encoding.
You can also adjust position values for the barcode, including changing the origin and size of the barcode area, selecting the orientation of the barcode symbol, and selecting which pages to place the barcode on.
Intelligent Mail bar codes
AFP Editor can create Intelligent Mail bar codes (IMBs) in one of these representations:
- BCOCA objects: Bar code objects follow the Bar Code Content Object Architecture (BCOCA). AFP Editor can create standard height IMB symbols.
- Text barcodes:AFP Editor uses the 300 dpi AFP IMB font (US23) that the USPS provides. This barcode font creates standard height IMB symbols.
In general, BCOCA objects are preferred to text barcodes. However, some older printers, such as IBM 3900 printers, cannot process BCOCA IMBs. To print on these printers, you must create text IMBs.
IMBs have two basic formats, depending on the length of the mailer ID assigned by the USPS. Fields in IMBs with a 9-digit mailer ID and a 6-digit serial number and Fields in IMBs with a 6-digit mailer ID and a 9-digit serial number show the formats of IMBs:
- In Fields in IMBs with a 9-digit mailer ID and a 6-digit serial number, the mailer ID contains 9 digits and the serial number contains 6 digits.
- In Fields in IMBs with a 6-digit mailer ID and a 9-digit serial number, the mailer ID contains 6 digits and the serial number contains 9 digits.
Fields in IMBs with a 9-digit mailer ID and a 6-digit serial number
Fields in IMBs with a 6-digit mailer ID and a 9-digit serial number
AFP Editor lets you specify these fields:
- Barcode ID
- A 2-digit number that identifies Optional Endorsement Line (OEL) information. The USPS defines the barcode IDs. This field is required.
- Service type ID
- A 3-digit number that identifies the mail class and the postal services. For example,
080is first-class mail with Address Service requested. The USPS defines the service types and service type IDs. This field is required.
- Mailer ID
- A 6- or 9-digit number that identifies the mailer. The USPS assigns the mailer ID.
Note: You can use the Mailer ID field for other purposes in an IMB that is used for reply mail.
- Serial number
- A 6- or 9-digit number that the mailer assigns to identify the mailpiece. If the mailer
ID contains 6 digits, the serial number contains 9 digits. If the mailer ID contains
9 digits, the serial number contains 6 digits. This field is required; however, if
you use only USPS
Basic Services, the serial number can be zeroes.
- Routing ZIP Code
- The 5-, 9-, or 11-digit routing ZIP Code of the mail recipient, also called the
Delivery Point Code. This field is not required.
IMB serial numbers
The serial number in an Intelligent Mail barcode (IMB) identifies the mailpiece. If
you use the USPS
Full service option, the serial number must not repeat in another barcode for a 45-day period.
A serial number can consist of 6 or 9 digits, depending on the length of the mailer ID. Because 6 or 9 digits might not be long enough to completely identify a mailpiece (for example: the recipient, the type of mailing, the date of mailing), you can use a sequential number as the serial number and save the serial number in an index tag in the mailpiece or in a separate index file. If the USPS returns electronic Address Change Service (ACS) information, you can then use the serial number to retrieve the actual mailpiece or information about the mailpiece.
AFP Editor lets you specify the serial number in these ways:
- Index tag: You can specify an index tag that contains the value to encode as the serial number.
The index tag can contain a different value in each page group (mailpiece). For example,
if the customer ID is indexed, the serial number can be the customer ID. If the customer
ID is shorter than the 6 or 9 digits required for a serial number, AFP Editor automatically adds zeroes to the beginning of the customer ID. Keep in mind that
if you use the USPS
Full serviceoption, the serial number must not repeat in another barcode for a 45-day period.
- Serial number file: For each barcode, you can specify a file that contains the number to use as the serial number in the first IMB in the AFP file. AFP Editor automatically increments the number in the file by 1 in each subsequent barcode that it creates to make the serial number unique. For example, if the serial number file contains a starting serial number of 000000, the serial numbers in the barcodes are 000000, 000001, 0000002, 0000003, and so on.
When AFP Editor creates IMBs in production AFP files:
- In the first IMB in the AFP file, it encodes the serial number that is in the serial number file.
- In each subsequent IMB created, it increments the serial number by 1. This ensures that the serial number is unique in each barcode.
- When the serial number reaches the maximum number of digits specified in the serial number file (6 or 9 digits), the number wraps to 000001 or 000000001.
- When it finishes creating IMBs in the AFP file, it updates the serial number file so that the file contains the starting serial number for the first IMB in the next AFP file that AFP Editor processes.
For example, if the serial number file contains the 6-digit serial number 000001, and AFP Editor creates four IMBs in two AFP files (each AFP file uses the same serial number file), the barcodes contain these serial numbers:
- First AFP file: 000001, 000002, 000003, and 000004
- Second AFP file: 000005, 000006, 000007, and 000008
AFP Editor can save the actual barcode data that it encoded in each IMB in an index tag. This is especially useful when you use a serial number file because each index tag in the AFP file contains the actual serial number that was encoded in the barcode.
You specify the name of the serial number file when you create an IMB in the sample AFP file. However, you can use a different serial number file for production AFP files. You can specify the name of the serial number file to use in the EditAFP and PluginMgr commands.
-threads 1option), or use the PluginMgr command to run EditAFP. PluginMgr is single-threaded, so IMB serial numbers are always in sequential order by page group.
POSTNET to IMB replacement
Intelligent Mail barcodes (IMBs) can replace both POSTNET and PLANET barcodes, as well as the alphanumeric characters that contain the participant code and keyline information for the USPS Address Change Service (ACS).
AFP Editor provides a replace function that can delete POSTNET barcodes and create IMBs that contain the same routing code as in the replaced POSTNET barcodes (minus the check digit). POSTNET barcodes and IMBs can be text barcodes or BCOCA objects.
The replace function automatically places IMBs in the same position as the POSTNET barcodes they replace. However, you can change the position of the IMBs. For example, if the POSTNET barcode is below the name and address, you can put the IMB above the name and address.
The replace function does not delete any PLANET barcodes or the Address Change Service (ACS) information that typically prints above the name and address. However, you can first use AFP Editor to hide the area that contains the PLANET barcode and any ACS information.
PLANET and POSTNET barcodes shows an address with ACS data, a PLANET barcode, and a POSTNET barcode. POSTNET barcode shows the same address after you create a hidden area to cover the ACS data and the PLANET barcode.