Making a Bar-Coded Member ID Card

Professional Version Only


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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

1Buy a barcode font if you don't have one.
 
We recommend the Code 39 (also known as "3 of 9") barcode font.  It is available through ID Automation (http://www.idautomation.com)  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.
2Install 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

1Create a new user-report.  Note that the plain business card format is available as a "mailing label" style report. The photo ID and membership card (with logo) are their own report types.
2Add 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, 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.
3Open properties for that field and set the font to be your new barcode font.
4Preview 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.
5Save 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 set the barcode font for the Member ID field, also enter a "!" for the pre and post text values.

Barcode Scanners

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.