Barcode Scanning Software and System Options
A Quick Look at Barcode Scanning
Barcode scanning technology is advancing rapidly and new products, systems and software constantly come onto the market. Here are some of the basic options now available. Note: Special scanning software often comes with the equipment so it can be incorporated into a computer system.
Wand scanners:Wand scanners are among the most popular and widely used scanning systems, mainly because they are relatively cheap. They are easy to operate but the user must scan across the barcode in one constant motion, with a flat surface directly behind the code.
CCD scanners:These are much faster and more reliable than wand scanners. They are operated by a trigger-type button and do not have to come into direct contact with the barcode. Instead they read from just above the barcode, up to about an inch and a half away, and are known as 'near contact' scanners.
Wireless barcode scanning:There are various kinds of wireless scanning options but probably the best known are barcode laser scanners. These are often referred to as 'non-contact' scanners because they can scan codes from up to 12 inches away. They are more efficient and faster to use than wands, and like CCD scanners they are trigger-operated. This type of scanner is most useful for scanning from a distance or on an uneven surface.
Portable memory scanners: This method of barcode scanning is popular because the scanners are handheld and contain micro-computers. Barcodes are scanned and information is saved in the micro-computer until it is uploaded via a communications port into the main computer, where it can easily be imported into program software such as Excel. This type of scanner is especially useful for stock-taking.
Barcode slot readers: Most commonly used with credit cards, ID cards and for clocking in and out, slot readers are designed for scanning barcodes that have been printed on plastic, card and laminated card. A series of red optics in the slot read the card as it passes through. Readers can be connected to a PC via a wedge or USB cable and are frequently seen in retail outlets as a means of paying by card.
USB scanning: USB stands for Universal Serial Bus and is a universal type of plug linking a PC to a scanner. Scanners fitted with USB use this kind of port and these days most systems have a built-in USB feature.