In one of my previous lives, I did a lot with barcoding. Currently,
I use QB Pro for my business. Near as I can tell, (not that I’ve
tried much) there isn’t any direct way to get barcodes to work with
You can get stand-alone barcode scanners for not much. ($100 or so)
If you configure them properly, they’ll scan a barcode, and then
present the number to the computer in such a way that the computer
thinks somebody typed it on the keyboard. If you can find a way to
get a field in QB wherein it expects some sort of numeric or
alphanumeric input to designate a particular item, then you can use
barcodes. Otherwise not. It has more to do with QB than anything
else. (As I think about it now, you could at least rig up your items
such that the barcode would trigger the item in your 'create invoice’
page. I’m not sure how useful that’d be, but it’s possible.)
There’s nothing particularly magical about barcodes themselves,
they’re just a system of characters that the computer can read
easily. There are a variety of different families of barcodes. Some
of them only handle numbers, some will handle letters too, and some
have error checking built in. (Those are the harder ones to code
without specialty software.) The scanners can generally understand
all the common ones without any effort on your part.
If you have to make a choice, 39 or “three of nine” is a good simple
system to use. Failing that, 128 is another good one. The advantage
is that 39 only handles numbers, while 128 can handle letters too.
The drawback is that 128 BC’s are a lot larger. (which can make them
harder to read) The EAN barcodes that are used for UPC take custom
coding and aren’t of much use for a small shop.
For whatever that all’s worth.