EAN-13 Specifications

The following provides a guideline for the sizes in which you should print the barcode on your product. This is very important if you may require barcode verification. It is also a good guide for making sure that your barcode will scan correctly. If at all possible you should keep your barcode size within these standards. If you go outside these standards, you barcodes might be accepted by some retailers and rejected by others.

Before we begin, we must understand that the numerical digits also called as the ‘Human Readable Interpretation’ on the image has nothing to do with the scanning process. The barcode symbol can be scanned just fine even without the numbers. But we humans cannot decode the bars, so we include the numbers on the images. This will help in circumstances where we need the barcode numbers without scanning the barcode symbol. So our goal should be 1. The scanner should be able to read the barcode symbol properly and 2. Humans should be able to read the barcode numbers clearly. With this in mind let us look at the standard dimensions of a barcode image for printing.

EAN-13 Dimensions with 100% Magnification:

100% magnification of a barcode symbol: 31.35 mm (w) x 22.85 mm (h)

X-dimension: 0.33 mm (X-dimension refers to the width of the narrowest bar in the symbol)

Barcode Dimensions 01

For the scanner to scan properly, we need to have white space on either side of the bars which is a must. This blank space is called ‘Quiet Zone’

Left Quiet Zone: 3.63 mm
Right Quiet Zone: 2.31 mm

The Human Readable Interpretation (the numerical digits) should be printed beneath the bar code symbol. The recommended typeface for the Human Readable Interpretation is OCR-B at a height of 2.75mm at nominal size (100% magnification). This typeface is a recommendation only and alternative type fonts and character sizes are acceptable provided the digits are clearly legible.

When you add the Quite Zones, the total width becomes 37.29 mm and with the numerical digits, the total height becomes 25.93mm.

The final size of the entire image with the Quiet Zone and the numerical digits will be
37.29 mm (w) x 25.93 mm (h)

The specified magnification range for an EAN-13 Bar Code Symbol being scanned at retail point of sale is 80% – 200% with an X-dimension of 0.26mm-0.66mm.

An allowable minimum magnification of 75% (X-dimension 0.25mm) is applicable only to on-demand (e.g. thermal) print processes. In this case, the bar height should never be truncated below the minimum required height for an 80% magnification barcode symbol.

Where an item may also be scanned in a General Distribution Scanning environment (automated scanning), the acceptable magnification range is 150% to 200% (X-dimension 0.50mm – 0.66mm).

Dimensions (All measurements in millimetres)

Magnification (%)X-dimensionWidthBar heightLeft Quiet ZoneRight Quiet Zone


It is a good idea to allow for more quiet zone space than is strictly required in case of ink spread or printing inaccuracies.

If you are unclear on any of the terms used here, please contact us.