Computers Printers and Scanners

How To Use a Barcode Scanner


Whether your job involves working at the check-out counter in retail, or involves cataloging various items, you are probably familiar with the basic mechanics of a barcode scanner and how sends special codes to computers. However, you may not be entirely familiar with them, and want to understand how to use a barcode scanner. This article will show you how to do just that.

Step 1

When selling retail products, using a barcode scanner is very efficient because it saves you time. This device lets you easily transfer information about a particular product to your inventory system so that you can keep track of all your products, and when to order new items. It even makes it easier to notice how often, how much of and when certain items are being purchased.

Step 2

Some barcode scanners can even connect directly to the USB port of a regular PC, making the purchase of an additional computer not necessary. If you have such a barcode scanner, the first thing you need to do is install the necessary software on your computer that was included with your scanner.

Step 3

Once you have your barcode scanner in hand, locate the item you wish to scan and search for the barcode sticker. Although these stickers may be placed anywhere on an item, it is normal for grocery stores to place this sticker on the bottom left corner. If you can’t find it there, search around the other side.

Step 4

Now that you know where the barcode sticker is, bring your item directly over the barcode scanner. If you are using a handheld scanner, point the scanner at the sticker so the red laser crosses over the whole length of the sticker. If you are using a stationary scanner, adjust the item so that the sticker is facing the scanner. Next, run the entire length of the sticker across the red laser.

Step 5

Depending on the type of barcode scanner you use, you may have to engage the scanner. Many scanners will automatically detect and read the barcode when the scanner’s laser runs across it. Other models however, require you to press an “engage” button. This button can usually be found on the side of a stationary mobile scanner, and the backside of a hand held scanner.


Next, check your monitor to make sure that the reader has scanned the item correctly. This is the reason why your scanner should be connected to a monitor if it doesn’t come with one built into the unit. Make sure that the monitor shows the correct product. If that is not the case, just scan over the item again. If the scanner is not reading any item, then there may be something wrong with the sticker itself. Wipe the sticker clean with a dry towel or your hands, and try scanning again.

Now that you know more about your barcode scanner, and how to use it, you will be saving your customers more time, and yours, while providing a higher level of service!

By Stanculescu Mihai Bogdan, published at 02/23/2012
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