How to make a barcode generator in Excel

Barcodes are a quick and easy way of introducing control into your business. But is it possible to implement barcodes without dropping any money?

There are a few different types of barcode generators available for Microsoft Excel. The most popular is the Code 128 barcode generator, which allows you to create Code 128 barcodes using your own data in Excel.
Published: 30.05.2022

It can cost a pretty penny to get your business up and running.

And in the beginning, it might be hard to justify some of the costs while you are just getting started. That’s why many businesses turn to inventory management in spreadsheets. However, spreadsheets require a lot of manual work and can only do so much.

So, is there a way to introduce automation into your business while using Excel spreadsheets?

Using this article, you’ll learn how to create your own barcode generator in Excel, which will help you manage your business’s inventory.

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Barcode generator Excel is a spreadsheet program part of the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software.

What is barcode in Excel?

A barcode is a machine-readable code that is used to store data.  

Barcodes can be found on products in supermarkets, on library books, and on identification cards. Barcodes are read by scanning them with a barcode reader, which converts the code into digital data stored on a computer. Barcodes have been around since the early 1970s, and their use has become increasingly common as businesses have looked for ways to speed up transactions and track inventory.   

So, want to know how to create a barcode inventory system in Excel?   

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program that is often used for data entry and analysis.  

You can set up a barcode generator Excel system using barcode fonts. But, when you create a barcode in Excel, you must change the font to one that supports barcodes. There are many free and commercial fonts available that support barcodes.   

Once you have selected and changed the font, you can enter data into the cell content in MS Excel, and the barcode will be generated automatically.  

Barcodes are a convenient way to store data, and they can be used for a variety of purposes. You can use barcodes to track inventory, speed up transactions, or simply store data. Creating barcodes in Excel is a simple process, and there are many fonts available that support barcodes. 

With a little bit of planning, you can easily create barcodes that meet your needs.  

The different types of barcodes   

1D barcodes: 

  • EAN-13 and EAN-8  
  • UPC-A and UPC-E  
  • Code128  
  • ITF-14  
  • Code39 

2D barcodes:  

  • QR code 
  • Aztec code 
  • Data matrix  
  • PDF417  
  • MaxiCode  
  • GS1 Composite code 

Do you need a beefer system with more potential for manufacturing process automation and inventory management? Be sure to check out radio frequency identification (RFID) systems. 

How to create a barcode in Excel? There are different types of barcodes, including those that encode numeric information (such as UPCs) and those that encode alphanumeric information (such as ISBN codes).

How to generate barcodes in Excel?

There are a number of ways to generate barcodes in Excel.  

The most common method is to use a barcode font. There are several free and paid fonts available online that can be used to create barcodes. Once the font is installed, you simply type the data you want to encode into the cell and then use the font to have a formatted cell ready for making barcodes. 

Another popular method is to use Excel barcode add-ins.   

These Excel add-ins and barcode add-ins will generate barcodes using special formulas. And because they don’t require any fonts or need you to have formatted the cells, they’re generally very easy to use. 

Finally, there are a number of online tools that can generate barcodes as images.  

This can be useful if you need to print the barcodes or use them in an application that doesn’t support font-based barcodes. Once you’ve generated your barcode, you’ll need to test it to ensure it’s working properly. The best way to do this is to scan the barcode using barcode scanners.  

You can find handheld readers for around $50 or less.  

Or, if you have a smartphone, several free apps will turn your phone into a barcode reader. 

With these methods, you can generate barcodes in Excel for any purpose. Excel makes it easy to get started, whether you’re creating labels for products, tracking inventory, or simply printing barcodes for a fun project. So, try out one of these methods and see how it goes.  

You might be surprised at just how easy it is to create barcodes.  

How to install barcode fonts to Excel on Windows?

Once you have downloaded a font, it’s time to install barcode font in Microsoft, head over to your device’s settings, search for Font settings, and select it. Then, simply head over to your barcode font folder, find the file ending with TrueType Font file, then drag and drop it into the add fonts section, and hey presto.

If you’re a Mac user, you will need to use the Font Book app.

How to create a barcode inventory system in Excel. Barcodes can be used to track inventory, to keep track of products in a store, or to make it easier for customers to purchase items online.

How to create a barcode in Excel manually

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty, you do need to find a barcode font to use. 

As already mentioned, there are many options available online, from free to paid. Though you should take the time to understand why you need barcodes and the types of barcodes you’ll need before committing, as some barcodes are better suited for certain tasks than others, such as the amount of information that can be stored. However, if the barcodes are going to be used internally, then the 3 of 9 barcode font will suffice.    

Once you have found a barcode font, you can get started:   

Barcode generator Excel can be printed on labels, tags, or directly on products themselves.

Step 1: In a blank spreadsheet, create two columns

You can start with two columns labelled Text and Barcode to keep it simple.

Create as many columns as your heart desires if you want to add descriptions and other information.

How to create a barcode in Excel? To generate barcodes in Excel, you must download and install a barcode font.

Step 2: Format cell for the Text column

Now we need to have formatted the cells to ensure that larger numbers won’t be displayed in a scientific notation and that we retain any leading zeros.

So, highlight the Text column, right-click and select Format Cells.

How to create a barcode inventory system in Excel

A menu will appear with options for formatting your cells.

Simply select Number from the top of the menu and Text from the sub-menu. If you input data with leading zeros, it won’t automatically be converted into something else.

To create a barcode generator Excel, type the data you want to encode into a cell in Excel and then format it as a barcode using the barcode font.

Step 3: Imputing the following formulas

Now the exciting part ⁠— imputing the formula into the Barcode column.

Enter the formula as follows:


Adjust the Excel formulas accordingly if you’re not using the Text in the A column. Once you have done that, you can click the cell, which will now be populated with ** and select the bottom right of the highlighted cell, drag it down to populate the rest of the barcode column.

How to create a barcode in Excel? Barcodes can be scanned using several devices, including scanners and smartphone apps.

Step 4: Changing the font

Highlight the Barcode column cells with ** in the field.

Head to the font menu and select your barcode font. Remember, Excel does not have barcode fonts installed, so you will need to download and install a version, either paid or free.

How to create a barcode inventory system in Excel? When scanning a barcode, the encoded data will be displayed on the screen of the device.

Step 5: Go to town and start generating barcodes

If you’re using 3 of 9 barcode fonts, as we suggested earlier, it can read letters, numbers, and some special characters.

And that’s it.

You’re now set up to generate rudimentary barcodes with Excel after you’ve finished the download and installation. Great if you’re a micro-business owner and manufacturer looking into automating inventory tracking. However, it’s not the best solution if an SMB company needs barcodes for purchase management and registered barcodes.

Excel also offers several other features that can be used with barcode generator Excel, such as formulas and conditional formatting.

Generating random barcodes in Excel

The RANDBETWEEN function is a built-in function in Excel that returns a random number between two numbers you’ve inputted.

You specify the two numbers in the function’s arguments. The RANDBETWEEN function is a great way to generate random numbers or dates in Excel. You can use it to generate random numbers for games, simulations, or other purposes, such as generating random barcodes:  

  1. Start by opening a new Excel spreadsheet 
  2. In cell A1, enter the following formula: =RANDBETWEEN(1,999999999) 
  3. Press Enter. This will generate a random number between 1 and 999999999. 
  4. To create additional random numbers, copy and paste the formula in Step 2 into other cells  
  5. Once you have a column of random numbers, you can use a barcode generator Excel tool to create barcodes for each number. For example, some websites offer a free online barcode generator that you can use 
  6. Simply enter each number into your barcode generator Excel, and it will create a barcode that you can save and print 

Use the RANDBETWEEN Excel function for generating random barcodes in Excel quickly. This is a helpful tool if you need to create large quantities of barcodes. Simply follow the steps above to get started.

How to create a barcode in Excel? You can print barcodes in Excel using special barcode fonts.

Benefits of Creating Barcodes in Excel

There are many benefits to creating barcodes in Excel.  

Perhaps the most obvious is that it is cost-effective to create barcodes. Additionally, barcodes created in Excel can be easily customized and adjusted to meet the specific needs of your business. Finally, Excel barcodes can be quickly and easily read by barcode scanners, making them ideal for inventory management or other data-tracking applications.  

Disadvantages of creating barcodes in Excel

While creating barcodes in Excel will work well for many, doing so may not be scalable.   

Using a dedicated barcode generator Excel tool may be more efficient if you need to generate many barcodes. Additionally, some barcode generator Excel tools can create codes that cannot be created using Excel alone.  

Spreadsheets are notoriously inefficient

To make a barcode in Excel easy, there’s no straightforward solution.  

You will need to use an add-in or set up a system yourself to insert barcodes into your Excel spreadsheets. This entails setting up the right fonts in Excel, converting cell format, and getting all your product information into the spreadsheet. This takes a lot of time and effort, made worse by the fact that Excel spreadsheets are inefficient in data management.   

According to studies, 88% of spreadsheets have errors and mistakes in them.   

If the reliability of spreadsheets is up in the air, is there an alternative solution for generating barcodes for your manufacturing business? 

Katana barcode inventory management software

Upgrade to Katana barcode inventory management software for real-time visibility and complete automation of your inventory control.

Katana ERP manufacturing software for generating barcodes

Katana ERP manufacturing software is a cloud-based solution that allows manufacturers to manage their sales, production, fulfillment, and accounting all from one place.   

Katana comes equipped with features to help you manage and create barcodes without using a barcode Excel generator. This allows manufacturers to easily automate their purchase orders and inventory control with a point and a click. So, not only will you have fewer errors in your workflow and make your business more efficient, but using Katana ERP barcodes allows you to:   

  • Automatically generate barcodes and print labels   
  • Perform stock takes easily and efficiently   
  • Mark inventory and components from suppliers as received   
  • Track raw material inventory consumed on the shop floor   
  • Assign and track barcodes on batch produced inventory   

Katana has the capabilities of different barcodes, such as supplier item codes, barcodes for internal use, or registered GS1 barcodes.   

It’s great that Excel functions can help you make your own barcode system.  

But, as your business grows and you have to handle more sales and manufacturing orders — nothing beats the real thing.  

Try it for yourself. Katana ERP offers new users a 14-day free trial to implement and start using barcodes in their business operations. If you have any questions about implementing barcodes into your business with Katana, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.  

We hope you found this article on creating your own barcode generator Excel function, and until next time, happy scanning.

author bio test

James Humphreys

Content Manager

James Humphreys has a background in creative writing and has been writing about the manufacturing industry for 3+ years.

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