A font provides compatibility with a wide range of software and can be used to easily convert data into a bar code. However, there are important considerations which may make the use of a bar code generator, such as MBC4 (MacBARCODA), a simpler option.
Not all bar code types have a 1-to-1 relationship between the data and the corresponding bar/space pattern. For example, there may be more than one way of representing a data character. This may depend on where the character falls within the code. Some code types encode pairs of digits, which means there cannot be a direct relationship between the bar/space pattern and the corresponding key on the keyboard.
There may also be characters in the barcode which do not form part of the data. Normally, a bar code will have a start and stop pattern. In Code 39 an asterisk character is used to start and end the code. There may be other "hidden" characters such as internal check digits and shift characters which do not form part of the data.
And of course, most bar codes use a check digit as the last data character. If you don't know the check digit, you will need some method to calculate it yourself.
We produce fonts for some of the more suitable bar code types. Each font is available in Macintosh or Windows versions, in TrueType and PostScript Type 1 formats.
They come complete with instructions and a utility program which will calculate the check digit.