EAN 13

EAN-13 is a linear barcode type most commonly used outside America, particularly in European countries. EAN-13 is an abbreviation for European Article Number which is now called International Article Number. EAN-13 contains 13 consecutive and fixed digits in total. The first 2, 3 digits of the EAN-13 code represent the country code next 9, 10 digits represent the manufacturer code and the product code while the last digits are the checksum digits. The total 13 digits of the EAN-13 barcode are divided into two equal parts of 12 digits by a guard bar in the center.


International Article Numbering Association has designed this EAN-13 barcode type and most of the European countries are using this barcode type. GSI is an international organization for standards. This organization defined the standard for EAN13; however, this type is not used in USA. Initially it was developed as Universal Product Code (UPC) with twelve digits in USA but later on it evolved to 13 characters, 12 digits and 1 checksum for self-checking.


Purpose of EAN-13 was to develop a bar code which can be easily and quickly encoded and decoded. It is for this reason only numeric data can be encoded with EAN-13. This numeric-only encoding scheme fits the bill and EAN-13 can be encoded/ decoded quickly, easily and acute angles.