• Barcode Ireland Team

Barcodes for boxes - the ITF-14 barcode

Updated: Oct 19, 2020

The external identifier barcode.

ITF-14 Barcodes for boxes

In a previous blog, https://www.barcodeireland.ie/post/which-barcode-is-right-for-you, we have described the UPC-A and EAN-13 barcodes (12 and 13 digit barcodes respectively) which are commonly used in retail. However another barcode that is prevalent in retail is the ITF-14 barcode also known as a GTIN (Global Trade Identification Number) or UCC-14 barcode.

ITF-14 Barcode

These barcodes are an extension of an existing EAN-13 barcode creating its corresponding ITF-14. They are used on packing, cartons crates and boxes to indicate the contents and quantities of identical products contained within. Whereas UPC-A barcodes are commonly used as the identifier for items that will be read by a point of sale scanner, ITF-14 data structures are used for logistical packages of items and cannot be read at POS.

When linked correctly to a retailers inventory and then scanned, they automatically add the correct amount of each item to stock. For example if you supplied a large box containing 500 of your barcoded chocolates, one scan of the barcode on the outside of the box will update the system with 500 items with the corresponding 13-digit barcode displayed on the individual bars inside. In the case where there are shrink wrapped multipack packages of say 10 items such as instant noodles then the outer case barcode will be calculated on the shrink wrap barcode and not the individual items. Obviously a much more accurate and efficient methodology.

ITF-14 symbology

The ITF-14 utilises the existing ‘Interleaved 2 of 5’ barcode symbology and hence ITF as a method to describe it without causing confusion. The vast majority of retailers in Ireland will use this symbology however, in more complex operations where the inclusion of additional data such as best before dates, batch numbers, quantities, weights and many other attributes are required, a GS1-128 is necessary - although uncommon. Some retailers permit the use of the EAN-13 barcode itself on case packaging as well.

Displaying the ITF-14 barcode

When using the ITF-14 symbology, you can either print the barcode directly onto the box or display the barcode on a sticker or label attached to the carton. These outer case barcodes can be formed either with or without bearer bars, the thick black border around the symbol.

When the barcode is to be printed directly onto the carton it will necessitate the need to use both upper and lower as well as the side bearer bars. Magnification of the barcode is advisable depending on the scanners and software of the retailer’s warehouse. Verifying for scannability is highly advised. When the box barcodes are printed on labels for example using a thermal transfer system, only the top and bottom bearer bars are required.

ITF-14 barcode

ITF-14 barcode

Composition of the ITF-14 barcode

Case barcodes comprise 14 digits. The initial digit is known as the ‘level indicator’ which can be a number from 1 to 8. Following this is the 13-digit EAN barcode which is used on the individual items or the shrink-wrapped package of individual items, less its final check digit (a new check digit is calculated to validate the new ITF-14 barcode.

So for example, let’s take imaginary retail object with barcode 0600123321128 which you are supplying to wholesalers in boxes of 10 units, 12 units, 24 units and 50 units.

With the check digit removed, your EAN extension becomes 12 digits 060012332112

Now the level indicators can be applied as follows

1 = 10 units 2 = 12 units 3 = 24 units and 4 = 50 units

We get the following

1060012332112 2060012332112 3060012332112 4060012332112

A check digit is now calculated using the EAN Modulo10 Method and added to the barcode to validate it

10600123321125 20600123321122 30600123321129 40600123321126

Below are shown the original EAN barcode, and the corresponding IT4-14 Barcode for the box containing 10 of its units

ITF-14 Barcode

A word of caution, using the wrapping of an individual unit and displaying this on the outer case as a means of identification is unadvised as it can be construed as an attempt to commit barcode fraud.

Magnification guide

EAN-13 symbols (where permitted by retailer) = 150% to 200% of the retail barcode image

ITF-14 directly onto the box = 100% magnification

ITF-14 on high quality labels = 50% - 100% magnification

We hope that you found this article informative.

Our barcodes work internationally. For your retail barcodes go to our Buy page www.barcodeireland.ie/buy, or contact us on info@barcodeireland.ie or through the contact form on our website www.barcodeireland.ie/contact and let Barcode Ireland help your business.



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