Thanks to everyone who was able to join us for the January 20th webinar titled Creating and Scanning Barcodes in FileMaker presented by Ryan Klenk of MainSpring, Inc.. In this session, we discussed some different barcode types and how to choose the right one for your situation. We also looked at some various methods for creating barcodes in FileMaker and how to scan those barcodes. Below we’ve included a sampling of the Q&A portion from the webinar. Keep an eye on this space for a recording to come as well!

Q. When using a barcode scanner with iOS – does it prevent the on screen keyboard from coming up?

A. Yes, using a Bluetooth scanner with an iOS device does prevent the on-screen keyboard from being available. This is due to the scanner acting as an HID and taking over the input for the iPad/iPhone. However, the scanner we recommended actually has a neat feature that allows you to double tap the power button to switch between entry via the onscreen keyboard and the device. That scanner is the SocketMobile Series 7 scanner.


Q. It may be worth discouraging folks from being too creative about coloring with barcodes. Colors other than black & white reduce contrast, making the barcode less likely to scan.

A. This is in reference to a demonstration of Tim Dietrich’s FMEasyBarcodes that included barcodes that used red and white or blue and white as the barcode colors. And yes, that’s absolutely correct. When using a dedicated barcode scanner, a light is flashed on to the barcode and the white parts of the barcode reflect light back while the black parts of the barcode absorb light. There’s a photoreceptor in the barcode scanner that reads that reflected light and the information is then decoded from that input. So it’s better to stay with the tried and true black and white barcodes for best results.


Q. How do you create a QR code that will link to a Website when scanned? Also, after this code is created can this code be applied to things like flyers and other marketing materials?

A. This is typically handled by whatever application is doing the scanning. Most QR code reading applications on smart phones have logic in them to automatically detect a URL and give the user the option to visit that page. Typically, it’s as simple as encoding the URL. And absolutely. You’ll see QR codes in marketing materials pretty frequently. It’s a good choice for that due to the potentially unknown conditions and the error correction feature built into QR codes.


Q. Do different versions of iPad/iPhone affect barcode scanning speed?

A. Yes. The better the camera, the more reliably you’ll be able to scan. Features available in more recent versions of the iPad and iPhone like tap to focus will also ease the process.


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