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We’ve all seen bar codes and the more modern QR codes. They’re everywhere you go – items at the grocery store, advertisements and posters, even on websites. Did you know that with the productivity toolbox in Allegro® Package Designer Plus you can add these convenient identification marks to your packages as well?
Whether you want to put the code on a documentation layer to make scanning of future PDFs easier or to silkscreen it directly onto the part itself, a few keystrokes will provide you with a code that represents the text string of your choosing.
To learn how to do this, follow along. I promise this won’t take long!
Let’s start with the older style of coding: the bar code. You’ll find this command under the Manufacture – Barcode Generator – Code 39/128. This refers to the format of the codes. If you don’t see the menu item, double-check that you have the Allegro Productivity Toolbox license option checked out.
Running the command will bring up the UI below. I’ve pre-filled it in with some suitable options for our demo here. The tool will make sure that the text string you want encoded can be translated properly.
Personally, I find it handy to use the 'embed text string into the barcode' option at the bottom of the form. You can remove this when you’re going to manufacturing (or move the text to a different layer to keep it from going out), should you need to. It makes it much more convenient to remember what the code says, for future entry into processing tables in whatever system you plan to scan the code with.
Once you have the test string and creation details defined, a quick press of the Place button will attach the extents box to your cursor. One-click, and that’s it! You’re done!
The QR code has been around longer than most of us may realize. More than 25 years! Still, its use continues to grow around the globe, making it a great choice for encoding information about your designs.
You’ll find this command also under the same Manufacture menu, but under Barcode Generator – QR Code. Even the GUI looks similar, though it provides some additional options:
Since a QR code can contain more information than a typical barcode, you can add much more text (even read it from a file to avoid those nasty typos!). Doubtless, you’ve seen these used to refer to web pages that your phone can bring you to when you point the phone camera at the code.
After setting the encoding version and size details, you can check the status to make sure the string data can be encoded in the given version and doesn’t contain illegal characters, then place it with your cursor into the design.
What information would you capture in codes for your design? Share it with us and let us know if you should run into any difficulties converting your data into a machine-readable format!