Making a Bar-Coded Member ID Card

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Making a Bar-Coded Member ID Card

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There are two primary things to know about using barcodes:

A barcode is just a True Type font like any other Windows font.  You can pick any text in any report and set the font to your barcode font, and it will print as a barcode.  Barcode fonts are not free.  Most of the "free" barcode fonts you find are either poor designs that may not scan well, or are stolen.  Do the right thing and license a font for your use.  There are excellent, inexpensive font packages available at ID Automation. They deal exclusively with barcodes and barcode scanners, and we've recommended their products for a long time.

When you scan a barcode, it simply dumps the contents of the code into whatever field your cursor is currently in.  If the barcode contains the member ID, then the cursor should be sitting in a search field labeled, "Member ID".

Install the Font

1.Buy a barcode font if you don't have one.
We recommend the Code 39 (also known as "3 of 9") barcode font.  A of this writing, one is available through ID Automation (  in a package that contains the font in various sizes, and with or without the text below the code that displays what the barcode means. This font is recommended for normal alphanumeric data that doesn't need a checksum.  

2.Install the font(s) you want to use.  This is as normally as simple as dropping the font into your c:\program files\windows\fonts directory, but follow any instructions that come with the font.

Create the Membership Card

1.Create a new user-report.  Note that the plain business card format or photo card is the most common.

2.Add the fields you want to show on the card normally, and as the last field at the bottom, choose Member ID.
Note: If you want to show the Member ID as an ID, as well as a barcode of that ID, there is a field called "Member ID (Copy)" just for this purpose. i.e., it lets you put the Member ID on the report twice.

3.When adding the Member ID field, click Font and set the font to be your new barcode font.

4.Preview the report and adjust the column widths appropriately.  You'll probably want to make the Member ID field the full width of the card, and then center the text so it looks the best.

5.Save the card.

Note: Depending on which font you use, you may need to add a start and stop character to the barcode.  If so, use the Pretext and Posttext settings for the Member ID field.  i.e., if the start/stop character is a "!", then when you add the column ID that uses the barcode font, enter a "!" for the pre- and post text values.


There are lots of scanners available. Once again, we like the ones at ID Automation, because they're ergonomic, and several models come with a stand that makes it easy to use unattended check-in mode. Be sure to get one that functions as a "wedge" or "keyboard wedge." i.e., the value scanned appears on screen as if you typed it on the keyboard.  This will ensure that the scanned number appears in the active field in MemberTies.