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Barcode Scanners In Access

Posted on 2015-01-25
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Last Modified: 2015-01-26
A user has requested using a barcode scanner in an Access 2003 app that we developed for them several/many years ago.  About 10 years ago I developed a VB app that used a bar code scanner to read the tag on inventory items.  It was a pretty simple set up, the scanner just populated the 'Serial Number' field on the entry screen.  No actions were initiated other than that.  That's my total experience with BC scanners.

Now, I am being asked questions like 'What font should the barcode be in?' and "What scanner should we order?" and I have no idea.

Anyone have experience using scanners with an Access app?  What bar code font should be used, what barcode scanner equipment to use and how does the equipment interface with the Access app?

From what I have gathered there are keyboard wedge scanner or USB scanners.  How do the two differ in functionality?  Where does the keyboard wedge scanner connect to the hardware?
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Question by:mlcktmguy
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akb earned 1000 total points
ID: 40569981
Most bar code scanners simply "type" the text as though it is coming from a keyboard. The simplest way to use a bar code scanner is to make sure the field receiving the bar code data is selected then scan the bar code.
I have used Symbol scanners and they have lots of options which allow you to automatically add data prior and after the scanned field. The most common thing to add is an Enter key after the data so the user doesn't have to press Enter manually.
A bar code scanner which plugs into a USB port would probably be most appropriate.
By Font I assume you mean what type of bar code? That really depends what data you need to put into the bar code - numbers only, text or other characters.
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by:Jeffrey Coachman
Jeffrey Coachman earned 500 total points
ID: 40570019
One of the most popular Barcode fonts is this "39"
http://www.free-barcode-font.com/
...There are other sites offer the same font for free as well.

I used this at work, and the catch was that a certain font size may be needed for each scanner.
So I created a Product report for one ProductID.
Then I copied the ProductID (the field that would have the Barcode) control once for every font size
Then set the font for each to the "39" font.
Then the Inventory user "scanned" each barcode and let me know which font size scanned best (from a variety of distances.)

JeffCoachman
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by:akb
akb earned 1000 total points
ID: 40570025
The Keyboard Wedge Scanner used the old PS2 circular keyboard connector. The Wedge Scanner plugged into the KB port and the KB plugged into the wedge scanner. I think these are obsolete now. A USB scanner plugs into any USB port and acts like a second KB.
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by:Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )
Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE ) earned 500 total points
ID: 40570255
I've used the free stuff in Access and VB with limited success. In my opinion, you need a "barcode generator" that will correctly create and display the barcode, especially if you're not an employee who is always available to tweak the report/form.

Here's one that I've used: http://www.idautomation.com/barcode-components/access-native/.

As akb has indicated, you'd probably want a USB scanner that acts like a keyboard wedge (which would, essentially, be any USB scanner). Some scanners come with APIs that can sometimes be used from Access, but for the most part you'd just use the scanner in place of the keyboard.

I'd stay away from the wireless ones, however. Those typically require a web service to run, and you'll have trouble integrating them with Access.
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Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Coachman
ID: 40570663
Oh, and just to clarify my post above,
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Database/MS_Access/Q_28603729.html#a40570019

I was only tasked with creating scan-able labels.
I was not involved with how the scanned actually worked.
So it might be as simple as buying a scanner, installing some software and having it work.
But it may also be more complicated than that.
;-)

Oh and finally, I had to "pad" the SKUwith asterisk to get it to generate the correct barcode:
    "*" & [ProductSKU] & "*"

JeffCoachman
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Author Closing Comment

by:mlcktmguy
ID: 40570727
Great information, thanks to all for responding.
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