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FileMaker 18: New Supported Barcodes

Since FileMaker Go 13 introduced support for scanning barcodes with the camera of an iOS device, it has been a widely used feature across many different business niches. Barcodes are an excellent way to improve efficiency and eliminate error in human data entry in a vast array of industries. The support for barcode scanning allows FileMaker users to streamline processes like managing inventory, pricing, or shipment tracking. Many other uses of barcodes are popping up all around us, allowing users quick access to additional information using only their smartphone. Advertising, Transport, Technology, Education, Food Industry, Gaming, and even the Diet Industry are just a few examples of the many industries that are benefiting by the ever-growing use of barcodes in their workflow.

New Barcode Types Supported in FileMaker Go 18

We are excited that with FileMaker 18, there is now support for even more barcode types then there was before.  The Insert from Device script step now supports four new barcodes, each with unique advantages and real-world applications.

  • PDF417
  • ITF-14
  • Aztec
  • Data Matrix

PDF417 Barcode


The PDF417 Barcode is a multi-row, variable-length symbology with high data capacity and error-correction capability. PDF417 is widely used as postage accepted by the United States Postal Service, the airline industry’s Bar Coded Boarding Pass (BCBP) standard  2D barcode for paper boarding passes, and is also the standard selected by the Department of Homeland Security as the machine-readable zone technology for Drivers Licenses and state-issued identification cards.

PDF417 allows user selection of its security level, although a higher error correction level increases the size of the barcode. Higher error correction can be more resilient to concerns regarding damage in transport or printing errors, but in most situations the default algorithm is sufficient.


ITF-14 Barcode


ITF-14 is the GS1 implementation of an Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF) bar code that is used to encode a Global Trade Item Number. ITF is the acronym for Interleaved 2 of 5 and 14 stands for the number of digits used. ITF-14 symbols are generally used on packaging levels of a product such as cartons, cases, or palettes.

ITF-14 does not have the capability to change its levels of security, which is not usually necessary for this type of barcode. It is most commonly used by manufacturers and distributors. The 14 digits of the barcode usually contain the product’s 12 digit UPC along with some additional data such as a signifier for the amount of the product that a carton contains.


Aztec Barcode

aztec encoding

The Aztec Barcode was named after the Central Finder Pattern of the Aztec Pyramids. It has the ability to fit data into a smaller area because it does not require the blank “quiet zone” that many other barcodes require. The data in this barcode is encoded in concentric square rings around a bulls-eye pattern.

The Aztec Barcode is widely used in transportation. Airlines and Railways send Aztec Codes to passengers’ phones and mobile devices to act as boarding passes, which can also be integrated with apps on passengers’ phones, like Apple Wallet.


Data Matrix


The data matrix barcode is a two-dimensional barcode that can encode numeric or text data into square or rectangular modules. With Data Matix barcodes, you can increase readability by adding error correction codes. The biggest selling point is their ability to hold a large amount of data in a very small area. A data matrix barcode can encode fifty characters in a 2 or 3 mm area.

Data Matrix codes can be marked directly onto an item to tie that item with its intended data for life. The codes can be marked onto components using various methods, but within the aerospace industry, these are commonly ink-jet, dot-peen marking, laser marking, and electrolytic chemical etching (ECE).


FileMaker Implementation

Bar Code Options

In order to implement functionality for these new barcode types in your FileMaker database, you will use the Insert from Device script step. Then you will select Scan from Camera and select the barcode type you would like to scan.  If you are using an iOS device, these barcodes are now natively supported in iOS 12 via the camera app. If you are not using an iOS device, FileMaker also supports the use of third-party scanners.


Monica Blum is a FileMaker Certified Developer at Skeleton Key in St. Louis, MO.

About Skeleton Key

Skeleton Key develops apps on the FileMaker platform making them easy-to-integrate, easy-to-use, and quick to build and deploy. Our team of experts takes a comprehensive consulting approach to focus on learning how your organization operates. With deeper insights into the way your team works, we’re able to create an ideal solution built around your operations while forming a partnership founded on trust and transparency. We hope you found this content useful and we would love to hear from you if we can be of any further assistance.