Barcode EAN 8 Explained

EAN 8 Example Barcode

Code EAN 8 encodes seven digits plus a mandatory check digit, hence the name EAN 8; a longer variant (thirteen digits) is EAN 13. An EAN 8 barcode is easily recognized. It always starts and ends with two thin bars. It also has two thin bars right in the center of the symbol, see sample code above.

EAN 8 is exclusively used in retail. Originally, EAN 8 (like its US counterpart UPC-E) were intended for small size products where the larger EAN 13 would not fit (think packages of chewing gum). Today, they are almost exclusively used as in-store barcodes, also known as Restricted Circulation Numbers. Those barcodes always start with a "0" or a "2" and are frequently found on chain store products which are not sold elsewhere under the same brand or name. See below for an example from ALDI.

SC Sizes with EAN 8

Like with EAN 13, EAN 8 sizes are standardized, with a default module width of 0.33mm and a module height of 22.85mm, for more see the respective section for EAN 13.

With in-store EAN 8 barcodes it is not uncommon to see codes that are stretched along the full length of a product package. This is to facilitate and speed up scanning the code at checkout.

Checksum for Code EAN 8

EAN 8 uses a modulo 10 checksum scheme. Starting from the right the numbers are multiplied alternating with "3" and "1" and added up. The sum is integer divided by ten, the reminder is subtracted from ten which yields the check digit.

Example Check Digit Calculation for Code EAN 8

Sample data is "4012345".

Summing up: 5 * 3 + 4 * 1 + 3 * 3 + 2 * 1 + 1 * 3 + 0 * 1 + 4 * 3 = 45

Dividing: 45 / 10 = 4 Reminder 5

Check Digit: 10 - 5 = 5


EAN 8 with Modulo 10 Check Digit

Sample Code EAN 8

Shown is an in-store EAN 8 from ALDI ("Fair Trade Earl Grey Tea"):

EAN 8 In House Aldi Example

Scanning and printing considerations with Code EAN 8

It is safe to assume that all barcode scanners available today support reading EAN 8. Especially older barcode scanners may have problems with codes printed with low resolution or when reading from a distance.

As for printing, see the discussion for EAN 13 here.

Obtaining a Code EAN 8 number

EAN 8 / GTIN-8 numbers are issued by your country's GS1 branch, please see obtaining an EAN number for details. In-store EAN 8 (Restricted Circulation Numbers) are maintained by the respective store and can in principle be issued at will.

Create EAN 8 Barcodes in Illustrator, InDesign

Easy to use barcode plug-ins and extensions for Adobe InDesign, Illustrator und Photoshop. For more videos, see the Softmatic Youtube Channel

The Softmatic barcode plug-ins and extensions for InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop are available from the Softmatic store.

Stand-alone software for Code EAN 8 - Mac

Softmatic BarcodePlus V5 creates Code EAN 8 and will export the barcode as PDF / SVG (resolution-independent vector) oder raster image (PNG, TIFF). The app will automatically calculate the symbol check digit if the data was provided without one:

EAN 8 Batch, Bulk Generator

For batch creation of EAN 8 / EAN 13 and the related ISBN codes, use Softmatic BarcodeFactory V5. The software will create thousands of EAN symbols in seconds, with data coming from the built-in serial number generator, the clipboard or via import from Excel, Numbers or CSV text files. Ideal for mass creation of artwork for packaging, book or magazine covers etc.: