In this article, I am going to guide you on how to scan barcodes into Excel and its benefits. Besides learning how to use barcode scanners with Excel, you will also know the best ways to create barcodes with Microsoft Excel, and a solution for linking it to cell content. Let's jump right in!

Barcode is a method of representing data efficiently and accurately in a visual layout by varying the widths, spacing, and sizes of parallel lines. Barcodes give us a great way to reduce human error and speed up data entry tasks. From a consumer perspective, to get more information, it's much easier to scan barcodes rather than impute a URL in a browser or other data manually. From the perspective of your machine and programs, a barcode is just a line of text.

First, you need to get a barcode scanner along with its software (such as a serial driver) to read the information in barcodes and import it to your documents. If you have these, then follow the steps below to scan barcodes into Excel:

  1. Open Microsoft Excel application. Click on the cell you want the scanned data to store in and position the cursor in the cell;
  2. Scan your barcode and its data will appear in the selected cell. If your scanner software has a pre-defined 'Tab' or 'Enter' barcode, then you may start scanning another barcode right away, otherwise, you'll need to press a key on the keyboard before scanning the next item.

This is it, you're all set.

An add-on is required to deal with barcodes and their parameters in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. For instance, TBarCode Office is one of such add-ins. To insert a barcode in Excel:

  1. Open the Excel application and select the cell you want the scanned data stored in;
  2. Switch to the Add-Ins tab and Open the TBarCode Panel;
  3. Enter the data for your barcode and adjust the size of your barcode (width, height, module width etc.);
  4. Click the button 'Insert Barcode'. This will be it! Now you have a barcode in your Excel document, which can be used for your future barcode operation.

To connect that barcode with particular content in Excel:

  1. Open the TBarCode Panel and select the barcode type;
  2. Mark the barcode you need to link with the mouse;
  3. In the right panel, click "Link to Cell" and Mark the required cell.

It's done!

In some cases, data can be synced between scanner software services and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets in real-time via online data exchange in CSV format.

  1. Allow data sharing in your barcode scanner application (preferably CSV format) to get the URL;
  2. Open Excel and go to 'Get Data' section. Select 'From Other Sources' in the menu and click 'From Web'.
  3. Paste the link you have previously received in your barcode manager app and approve import settings.
  4. Confirm and load your data and Set the frequency of import.

Done! From now on, your Excel spreadsheet will sync with your barcode scanner or barcode manager software. When you add, update or remove data in that program, Excel will pull those changes into your Excel spreadsheet.

Any printable and scan-able barcode can be generated online and for free with a barcode generator. For instance, Barcode Maker Online can help you to generate in Interleaved 2 of 5, Code 39, Code 128 A, B, or C symbologies with a few clicks. This service can be used to create individual barcodes or called via URL's to include inline PNG or JPEG images directly into your Excel spreadsheets.

To sum up, barcodes are still a popular way to input text-based information with high velocity and as such can be utilized with Excel spreadsheets, which make it easier to analyze and process important business data.