How to Make a Barcode

Making your own barcode is super easy and only takes a few seconds

A man sticking his own barcode sticker onto a box

Georgijevic / Getty Images

Barcodes consist of basic black and white patterns that, when read by a barcode reader device or app, reveal encoded information such as a name, address, phone number, product number, or even a personal message.

It's relatively simple to create your own barcode for free with your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet or through the web on your computer.

How to Make a Barcode on iOS or iPadOS

One of the best barcode creator apps for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad is QR Code Reader: Barcode Maker. This app scans barcodes and QR Codes with your device's camera and also features a barcode generator.

QR Code Reader: Barcode Maker creates QR Codes and barcodes in Code 128, PDF 417, Aztec Code, and Code 39 formats for free. The app also supports barcode creation in Code 39 Mod 43, Code 93, ISBN13 and ISSN13, EAN 8, UPCE, Interleaved 2 of 5, and ITF 14 formats — however these formats require a paid Pro upgrade for $1.99.

QR Code Reader: Barcode Maker iOS app
  1. Download the QR Code Reader: Barcode Maker app onto your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

  2. Open the app.

  3. Tap the Make button under the animated QR Code image.

  4. Tap QR Code and select your preferred barcode format from the dropdown menu. If you'd like to make a QR Code, you can leave the menu as is.

  5. Tap the white space and enter the information you wish to place within your barcode such as your email address, website, name, etc.

    QR Codes allow up to 1,000 characters but Code 128 is limited to 80 and Code 39 to just 43.

  6. After you've entered your barcode content, tap the hammer to generate the image.

  7. Your barcode should appear on the screen. Tap on it to view a larger version.

  8. Tap Save in the upper-right corner to save the image file to your Camera Roll.

How to Make a Barcode on Android

To make barcodes on your Android smartphone or tablet, download a specialized app that can perform this function, such as Barcode Generator. Barcode Generator is a free Android app that requires no in-app purchases to unlock features. It can scan barcodes and create them in up to 11 different formats ranging from QR Code and DataMatrix through to ITF and APC-A.

Barcode Generator Android app
  1. Download Barcode Generator from the Google Play app store.

  2. Open the app.

  3. Tap the + button in the lower-right corner of the screen.

  4. Tap Add Code.

  5. Tap the style of barcode you wish to create from the list. A small preview of each code's style is displayed to the left of the format name.

  6. Depending on the format you choose, you may be presented with several content options. The top field governs basic text or numbers that you wish to show to the person who scans the code, while any descriptions or tags are optional and will only be used to help you find a generated code within the app.

    If you chose to make a QR Code, you will be provided with a variety of options for entering phone numbers, websites, and other information, because this format can hold more information.

    Enter your text in the relevant field.

  7. When you're ready, tap the checkmark in the upper-right corner to generate your barcode.

  8. Tap the pencil icon to edit it or tap the SD card icon to save it to your device.

How to Make a Barcode Online

The easiest way to make a barcode online is to use the website Barcodes Inc. This website is free to use and can create barcodes in all common formats.

  1. Open the site in your preferred internet browser.

  2. Select your chosen barcode format from the first drop-down menu.

    Most popular barcode scanner apps read all of these barcode styles. However, if you're creating a code to promote a business or event, it's better to go with the QR code format. An iPhone scans QR Codes with the default iOS Camera app which has a built-in QR code reader function. Some Android phones also have this functionality built-in, but it's hit-or-miss on Android.

  3. Depending on your barcode type, you may be asked to select a secondary type from another drop-down menu. If you don't see another drop-down menu, you may proceed to the next step.

  4. Enter the contents of your barcode that you wish to display after someone scans it.

  5. Select More Options to customize the color and size of your barcode.

    A Low damage-proof setting will make the code harder to read on shiny or moving surfaces while Maximum will make it easier to read in most conditions.

  6. Select Create to generate your new barcode. Save it to your device to print or edit in an image-editing app.