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Understand Event Tickets with Barcodes in Under 5 Minutes

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Event Tickets With Barcodes

This article will draw a quick picture about event tickets with barcodes and give you some information about what they do, and how they work. Barcodes, in general, are a convenience that can be taken for granted. Think of any time you’ve shopped at a grocery store, every product has a barcode. By representing a number that can be read by scanner instead of manually having to key in the number, it makes your experience quicker.


How Barcodes Work

The most common barcode is represented by black lines and white spaces in a rectangular shape. A misconception is that the black lines get read by the scanner; however, the laser from the scanner is actually picking up the reflections given off by the white spaces. The bar code is divided into 95 columns and the scanner can detect which columns reflect light and which don’t. If no light is reflected it gets counted as a 0 and if light is reflected it is a 1. These 1’s and 0’s are then converted to digits that you see below barcodes. More complex barcodes can represent 100 times more data than the standard barcode. See this Video for a detailed explanation.


Type of Barcodes

There are a variety of ways barcodes can be represented but the most common ways are 1-dimensional (1D) and 2-dimensional (2D).

UPC Example ePly

– 99% of items use this type of barcode including product upcs, event tickets, serial numbers, etc.
– Rectangular in shape
– Comprised of contrasting black lines and white spaces 
– Easier to scan but also easier to damage making it unuseable


QR Code ePly

– Commonly shaped in a square
– Comprised of white and black squares, opposed to lines and spaces
– Able to store larger volume of data
– Can withstand more damage before becoming unuseable


What Equipment is Needed

A Barcode

Of course you need physical or digital event tickets with a barcode that an attendee can show you at the event.


A Barcode Scanner

 You will typically see a hand held scanners connected to a computer but smartphones can be used too.


A Database

Since a barcode just represents a number and the scanner just reads the number, the system isn’t very useful until you connect it to a database. Once you are connected to a database containing a list of event attendees, when you scan a barcode, the system will pull up that registrant’s record for you to verify their details, check them in or perform some other action. Scanners can be connected to a local computer running the database or if you are using an online event registration system with a check-in app, it can be does wirelessly through a cell data plan or wifi.


Hopefully this article has helped you understand event tickets with barcodes a bit better when speaking with your clients. Stay tuned for our next post which will give you some examples and scenarios on how you can implement using barcodes at your next event.


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