EAN stands for European Article Number (EAN-8) code and used for small packages where an EAN-13 barcode would be too large. An EAN-8 number contains 7 digits of message plus 1 check digit. The first two or three digits identify the numbering authority; the remaining 4 or 5 digits identify the product. You must apply the EAN-8 number separately from the numbering agency responsible for your country or region.
EAN-8 is the EAN equivalent of UPC-E barcode. The primary purpose of the EAN-8 code is to use as little space as possible. EAN-8 is encoded using the three EAN-13 character sets and also has a check digit that is calculated in the same way as EAN-13 barcode.
The data digits in an EAN-8 symbol help you to identify particular product and manufacturer. Since a limited number of EAN-8 codes are available in each country, they are issued only for products in which insufficient space for a normal EAN-13 symbol.
The value to encode within EAN-8 has the following structure: 2 or 3 digits for Number System or Country Code, 5 or 4 digits for Product Code and 1 digit for checksum. Each country has a numbering authority which assigns manufacturer codes to companies within its jurisdiction.
Structure of EAN8 barcode:
An EAN-8 bar code has the following physical structure:
- Left-hand guard bars, or start sentinel, encoded as 101.
- Two number system characters, encoded as left-hand odd-parity characters.
- First two message characters, encoded as left-hand odd-parity characters.
- Center guard bars, encoded as 01010.
- Last three message characters, encoded as right-hand characters.
- Check digit, encoded as right-hand character
- Right-hand guar bars, or end sentinel, encoded as 101.