Why Barcodes Sometimes Fail

While there are a lot of reasons why barcodes don’t always scan, an all too common, yet easily preventable one is because of the quiet zone violation. The quiet zone is the blank area surrounding the barcode that’s used to tell the barcode scanner where the symbology starts and stops. Having other printed objects too close to a barcode and not leaving the appropriate amount of space around the barcode can cause confusion for the barcode scanner, thus making your barcode unreadable.

Allowing for an ample quiet zone will help to prevent barcode scanning failures. As a general rule, the quiet zone should be, at a minimum, 10 times the size of the narrowest bar within the code, or a quarter inch, whichever is greater. However, if you have plenty of room, there’s no maximum size for a quiet zone, so it’s always better to play it safe and leave plenty of space around your barcode.

Learn more about the quiet zone.