European Article Number

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GTIN-13 barcode
The articles European Article Number and Global Trade Item Number overlap thematically. Help me to better differentiate or merge the articles (→  instructions ) . To do this, take part in the relevant redundancy discussion . Please remove this module only after the redundancy has been completely processed and do not forget to include the relevant entry on the redundancy discussion page{{ Done | 1 = ~~~~}}to mark. Tulu qaruk ( discussion ) 15:35, May 22, 2019 (CEST)

European Article Number ( EAN ; also International Article Number , IAN ) is the former name of the Global Trade Item Number ( GTIN ). It represents an internationally unique product identifier for commercial items and consists of 8 or 13 digits (GTIN-8, GTIN-13), of which the first 2–9 digits are managed centrally by the GS1 Group. GS1 is a network of not-for-profit organizations that develop standards for cross-company processes worldwide and assign global location numbers to manufacturers on request. The structure is described in more detail in the article Global Trade Item Number . In Germany, license fees are charged to GS1-Germany for the award.

In addition to the numbers managed by the GS1, there are also free EANs that are sold piece by piece by certified dealers. These numbers were sold to the members by the GS1 predecessor organization UCC and were allowed to be passed on by them.

The EAN or today's GTIN is usually printed as a machine-readable barcode on the packaging of goods and can be decoded by barcode scanners , for example at scanner cash registers .

A common misunderstanding is the designation of the GS1 prefix as a country code. It is just a prefix that is assigned to the local GS1 organizations. GS1 customers who buy a company number from GS1 always receive a company ID that consists of the GS1 prefix followed by the company number. A GS1 customer can buy their company number from any GS1 location and then produce in many other countries.

The number (GTIN or EAN) is often equated with the barcode type EAN (ISO / IEC 15420). But actually one of the barcodes as a data carrier that encodes and transports a number, while the number is the GTIN or another of the variants described below. Other codes that the GTIN can encode are, for example, GS1-128, GS1-DataMatrix and ITF-14.


The UPC barcode was developed in 1969 by engineer George J. Laurer for IBM .

In 1973 the Universal Product Code UPC with 12-digit numbers was introduced in the USA . A year later, Europe started thinking about a similar system that would be compatible with the UPC. To this end, UPC was supplemented by a leading number to thirteen digits. A UPC-A code becomes an EAN code by adding a leading zero. This was a competitive advantage for American companies, as the same number and the same printed barcode could be used for export to Europe as in America. Since European numbers never start with a zero, in the opposite case European companies had to purchase a shorter UPC number, reprogram their inventory control system for a second number and print a separate label, which was a barrier to market entry.

In 1977 the European Article Association was founded, which was later renamed EAN International and has been running under the name GS1 Global since 2004 . It has member organizations in over one hundred states and also includes the American Uniform Product Code from the Uniform Code Council (now GS1 US).

On January 1, 2005, with the Sunrise project, the EAN-13 was de facto also introduced in North America, but at the same time a transition to the 14-digit GTIN was recommended (see web links).

The strategy of the EAN / GTIN includes the continuous use of automatic identification and data acquisition techniques . Be used consistent methods for data exchange via EAN128 between the companies involved as well as the electronic transmission of data via EDI , including the EANCOM standard was developed. The standard is currently also being further developed in the electronic product code .

Advantages of the EAN / GTIN

  • faster registration of goods at the checkout
  • Non-overlapping identification of the articles
  • higher security, fewer typing errors or mistakes
  • Facilitation of the movement of goods , automatable warehousing
  • no price label required on the goods, the price just has to be on the shelf
  • transparent, global standardization (currently 90% of all goods)

Brief description of the article number (formerly EAN-13)

The 13 digits of the global article number (formerly EAN-13, today GTIN) mean:

  • Basic number (seven to nine digits) of the Global Location Number . It consists of:
    • Country prefix of the GS1 member society (three digits), for example 400 to 440 for Germany, 760 to 769 for Switzerland and Liechtenstein, 900 to 919 for Austria
    • Company number (similar to the old BBN - uniform national company number)
  • Article number (5, 4 or 3 digits depending on the basic number, so that the total length always remains 13)
  • Check digit (last digit)

In Germany, 7, 8 and 9-digit base numbers have been assigned since January 1, 2001.

Prefixes are not “speaking” components such as “labels of origin”. These are number ranges of the respective GS1 member companies. There are also reciprocal assignments of partial series or the extra-territorial participation of manufacturers. Processing that is separate from the other digits of the number can therefore lead to misunderstandings. Companies can license a Global Location Number , which is issued and managed once by the responsible GS1 member company. The article number is freely available for every member company. Depending on the company headquarters or supplier company and responsible GS1 member society, the prefixes do not indicate the country of manufacture.

The check digit is used for data security and is derived from the weighted checksum (see below).

EAN-8 short description / since 2009 GTIN short number

The shortened version EAN-8 is specially designed for small articles on which an EAN-13 would require more than 25% of the space on the front. It has the following structure:

  • GS1 country prefix (2–3 characters)
  • Item number (4–5 digits)
  • Check digit (1 digit)

An EAN-8 / GTIN short number must usually be requested separately from the local GS1 organization. An EAN-8 with the starting number 2 can be used license-free within your own organization, but it is not unique worldwide. Any other EAN-8 must be applied for and paid for separately , enclosing a sample of the article .


  • Aldi Nord codes its own products with an EAN-8 of the form 290X-XXXX, 290 is a "country number" for internal use.
  • Aldi Süd codes its own products with an EAN-8 of the form 221X-XXXX, 221 is a "country number" for internal use.

GS1 press code (formerly EAN-13 for books) with integrated ISBN or ISSN for magazines

ISBN-13 represented as an EAN-13 barcode

The 13-digit EAN-13 / GTIN-13 according to the GS1 system is generated as follows:

  1. A special GS1 system identifier instead of the usual country code, for books that of the (fictitious) so-called book country, i.e. 978 or 979, for magazines the number 977.
  2. A 10-digit ISBN -10 or 8-digit ISSN (international standard number for consecutive collections) is shortened by the last digit, the check digit. With an ISSN, 2 digits are appended to the remaining 7 digits (usually 00).
  3. The check digit of the GS1 press code is calculated and appended.

Examples (the bold part remains the same):

  • The ISBN-10 3-12-517154 -7 becomes the GS1 press code 978 312517154 1.
  • The ISBN-13 978-3-16-148410-0 becomes the GS1 press code 9783161484100 .
  • The ISSN 1144875 X becomes the GS1 press code 977 1144875 007.

It is also possible to embed the ISMN ( International Standard Music Number ) for printed music.

The ISBN-13 and the GS1 press code of a book are identical (except for the notation with or without hyphens). An EAN-13 for books is also called a “Bookland” number. The 4th to a maximum of 8th digits are therefore (corresponding to the 1st to 5th digits of the ISBN) a code for the language area - for example 3 for Germany, 57 for Denmark or 99953 for Paraguay.

Some manufacturers of software and multimedia products issue several EANs for their products.

In addition, the GS1 press code can be expanded, an AddOn code (additional identification) of 2 or 5 digits. In the AddOn, for example, prices, edition variants or the month of magazines can be coded. In the EAN-13 / UPC symbol (barcode) these are reproduced in a reduced size.

Newspapers and magazines in Germany

Magazines sold in Germany are not marked with the corresponding GS1 press code (ISSN embedding). Instead, you will receive a standard GTIN-13 with the following structure:

  • Country code 419 for press with the reduced VAT rate or 414 for the full tax rate
  • A five-digit title number of the magazine, assigned by the VDZ
  • The four-digit price in cents
  • The check digit according to the usual calculation method.

The GTIN-13 formed in this way no longer contains the entire ISSN, but the price, which is the same everywhere in Germany. This is particularly advantageous for smaller sales outlets that do not have an inventory control system with which the GS1 press code can be assigned to the price.

Since January 1, 2012, the country codes 439 and 434 have been used for magazines that contain a data carrier with an FSK or USK age restriction (mostly DVDs with films or computer games). This enables scanner registers to ask the seller to verify the age of the buyer.

A 2- or 5-digit add-on code is used to encode the sequence number and, if applicable, the edition variant of the issue, and in the case of daily newspapers also the day of the week.

Overlapping style numbers

Overlapping style numbers occurs especially when products are subject to life cycles. After a cycle has run through, the article numbers of the previous cycle are often used. A cycle usually lasts two years and is divided into seasons. The seasons are differentiated by letters, which means that there is a maximum number of seasons. In addition, division and class affiliations are hidden in the article numbers, which only have five digits, which could increase the repetition effect.

Instore article numbers (formerly EAN codes)

Price tag for fruit with an in-store article number in the EAN-13 barcode

A special GS1 prefix is ​​available for supermarkets or other retailers. It is only used internally and is used, for example, to provide the food weighed on site with a barcode.

  • 2xx (instead of the country number)
  • Article number (4 digits)
  • Weight, quantity or price (5 digits)

This code is mainly used for fruit and vegetables as well as meat and sausage products. In addition, various food discounters , such as ALDI , use this in- store in- store item number in the shortened form.

Japan Article Number (JAN)

If an EAN begins with a country code for Japan (450-459,490-499), this EAN is also called JAN. There are no other differences. The basis here is JIS-X-0501 (JIS: Japanese Industrial Standards).

EAN barcode for coding the GTIN (formerly EAN-13)

The code families UPC-A, EAN-8 and EAN-13 all use the same coding. The coded information is repeated by means of a numerical display under the barcode.


Each digit is represented by a seven-bit sequence. Each seven-bit sequence is created by two bars and two spaces. Spacers (in green) separate the 6-digit groups.

The entire code consists of 95 areas of equal width (two edge markers of 3 bits each, one center marker of 5 bits, 12 digits of 7 bits: 2 × 3 + 5 + 12 × 7 = 95). Each of these areas can be black (stands for 1) or white (stands for 0). A maximum of four black areas follow one another, together they form a line . Likewise, a maximum of four white areas follow one another and together form a free space . In addition to the areas that encode the digits, there are three areas that encode something special: The sequence 101 at the beginning and end of the code (marginal character) and the sequence 01010 in the middle of the code (separator).

  • Each digit is represented by 7 bits. These are chosen so that two lines and two spaces each represent one digit. The information is coded in the width of the lines and spaces.
  • The digits on the left are coded so that they always start with a space (0) and end with a line (1); those on the right always start with a line and end with a space.
  • On the right side, all digits are coded with a binary number , which has an even cross-sum . On the left-hand side, on the other hand, a further thirteenth digit, which is the first digit of the EAN, is coded using a special sequence of even and odd . It is written as a number on the barcode in front of the left margin marker.
  • The first digit on the left is always oddly coded to inform the scanner of the reading direction of the barcode. It does not matter in which direction the article is guided over the reader, the decoding device adjusts the code internally.

The corresponding assignment is listed in the following table.

Digit template Line width sequence Coding of
13th digit
Left right left and
left ger.
sum of digits
cross sum)
0 000 11 0 1 0 1 00 111 111 00 1 0 3211 1123 UUUUUU GGGGGG
1 00 11 00 1 0 11 00 11 11 00 11 0 2221 1222 UUGUGG GGGGGG
2 00 1 00 11 00 11 0 11 11 0 11 00 2122 2212 UUGGUG GGGGGG
3 0 1111 0 1 0 1 0000 1 1 0000 1 0 1411 1141 UUGGGU GGGGGG
4th 0 1 000 11 00 111 0 1 1 0 111 00 1132 2311 UGUUGG GGGGGG
5 0 11 000 1 0 111 00 1 1 00 111 0 1231 1321 UGGUUG GGGGGG
6th 0 1 0 1111 0000 1 0 1 1 0 1 0000 1114 4111 UGGGUU GGGGGG
7th 0 111 0 11 00 1 000 1 1 000 1 00 1312 2131 UGUGUG GGGGGG
8th 0 11 0 111 000 1 00 1 1 00 1 000 1213 3121 UGUGGU GGGGGG
9 000 1 0 11 00 1 0 111 111 0 1 00 3112 2113 UGGUGU GGGGGG

There are three very similar codes for each digit: left odd (LU) , left even (LG) and right even (RG) :

  • Here, LG and RG mirror-symmetrical to each other. Example for the digit 0:
    • LG coding: 0 1 00 111 , RG coding: 111 00 1 0
  • LU is the bitwise inverse of RG , so the line width sequence of these two is the same. Example for the digit 0:
    • LU coding: 000 11 0 1 , RG coding: 111 00 1 0
    • LU line width sequence: 3 2 1 1 , RG line width sequence: 3 2 1 1


EAN-13 barcode. The green bars summarize the lines that make up a character. The digits consist of 7 bits each. The italic notation of the numbers 0, 9 and 4 in the left block is only used to illustrate that they are currently coded.
  • C1, C3: start / end marker, always 3 bits each ( 1 0 1 )
  • C2: marker for the middle of the barcode, separates left from right block, always 5 bits long (0 1 0 1 0)
  • From this two keypads result: 6 digits left of center (003994) and 6 digits to the right of the center (155486), and the last digit (6) is always a check digit is
  • The digits are each encoded using seven bits, which always represent two lines and two spaces with a width of 1 bit (narrow), 2, 3 and 4 bits (wide).
  • The first digit from the left is coded as odd (0 >> 000 11 0 1 >> checksum = 3), the first digit from the right is even ( 1 0 1 0000 >> checksum = 2). The orientation of the code is clear to the “scanner” and he “knows” that the block shown on the left in the picture is actually the left and correspondingly the block shown above on the right for the reading direction is the right block.
  • In the left block there are always two coding variants for all but the first digit with an even or an odd checksum, which in this case are selected as follows:
    • 0 >> 000 11 0 1 >> checksum = 3 >> odd (U)
    • 0 >> 0 1 00 111 >> checksum = 4 >> even (G)
    • 3 >> 0 1111 0 1 >> checksum = 5 >> odd (U)
    • 9 >> 000 1 0 11 >> checksum = 3 >> odd (U)
    • 9 >> 00 1 0 111 >> checksum = 4 >> even (G)
    • 4 >> 00 111 0 1 >> checksum = 4 >> even (G)
This results in the sequence UGUUGG, which, according to the table above, encodes a 4 as the 13th digit.

The complete EAN-13 is therefore: 4 003994 155486.


Partial reading of an EAN-13 barcode

Due to the separator in the middle, it is sufficient for a simple line scanner to only capture half of the code at a time. This enables a code to be reconstructed by the reading device when the code is scanned at an angle up to an angle of approximately 45 °.

GTIN-12 versus GTIN-13

The GTIN-13 / EAN-13 encodes a thirteenth character by choosing between even and odd in the left part of the code.

The GTIN-12 / UPC-A only encodes 12 digits because in the left part of the code all odd numbers are selected.

Check digit

The check digit of the GTIN (formerly EAN) is the last digit . It is calculated by multiplying the individual digits from right to left, starting with the penultimate ( ), alternately by 3 and 1 and then adding these products:

The check digit then adds the next multiple of 10 to this sum.

The sample for this:

The same procedure is common for other product metrics. A check digit calculator for this can be found on the Internet → see web links .

Simplified calculation for 13-digit EANs:

The sum of all odd digits plus three times the sum of all even digits must be divisible by 10.

Example: EAN 5 449000 09624-1

4  ⋅ 3 + 2  ⋅ 1 + 6  ⋅ 3 + 9  ⋅ 1 + 0  ⋅ 3 + 0  ⋅ 1 + 0  ⋅ 3 + 0  ⋅ 1 + 9  ⋅ 3 + 4  ⋅ 1 + 4  ⋅ 3 + 5  ⋅ 1 =
12 + 2 + 18 + 9 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 27 + 4 + 12 + 5 = 89

The next multiple of 10 is 90, the check digit is 90 - 89 = 1

alternatively for 13-digit EANs:

Sum of all odd digits = 5 + 4 + 0 + 0 + 9 + 2 = 20th
Sum of all even places ⋅ 3 = (4 + 9 + 0 + 0 + 6 + 4) ⋅ 3 = 69
Total = 20 + 69 = 89
Next multiple of 10 = 90
Check digit = 90-89 = 1

Check digit calculation in Java

The following Java code implements the calculation of the check digit as described above: The calculation starts with the last digit and begins the multiplication by 3. After the products have been summed up, the check digit is returned.

 1 public int calculateCheckDigit(int[] digits) {
 2     int sum = 0;
 3     int multiplier = 3;
 4     for (int i = digits.length - 1; i >= 0; i--) {
 5         sum += digits[i] * multiplier;
 6         multiplier = (multiplier == 3) ? 1 : 3;
 7     }
 8     int sumPlus9 = sum + 9;
 9     int nextMultipleOfTen = sumPlus9 - (sumPlus9 % 10); // nextMultipleOfTen ist jetzt das nächste Vielfache von zehn
10     return nextMultipleOfTen - sum;
11 }

Check digit calculation in C ++

The check digits can be calculated particularly quickly using the integer data type . Since the total of 216 cannot be exceeded when calculating the EAN check digits, four bytes can be calculated in parallel; thus the efficiency for calculating the check digit can be increased by a factor of four.

int calc_ean13(char* ean12) {
    const int mask = 0xF0F0F0F;

    int* i_ptr = (int*)ean12;

    int result = (i_ptr[0] & mask) + (i_ptr[1] & mask) + (i_ptr[2] & mask);
    result += ((result * 3) >> 8);
    result = ((result + (result >> 16)) & 0xFF) % 10;

    return (10 - result) % 10;

Check digit calculation in spreadsheet programs

In a spreadsheet program , the check digit can be calculated using the following formula; the EAN-13 without check digit (12 digits) is in cell A1:

=$A$1*10 + REST(10 - REST(RECHTS($A$1;1)*3 + LINKS(RECHTS($A$1;2);1) + LINKS(RECHTS($A$1;3);1)*3 + LINKS(RECHTS($A$1;4);1) + LINKS(RECHTS($A$1;5);1)*3 + LINKS(RECHTS($A$1;6);1) + LINKS(RECHTS($A$1;7);1)*3 + LINKS(RECHTS($A$1;8);1) + LINKS(RECHTS($A$1;9);1)*3 + LINKS(RECHTS($A$1;10);1) + LINKS(RECHTS($A$1;11);1)*3 + LINKS(RECHTS($A$1;12);1);10);10)

or shorter:

=$A$1*10 - REST(TEIL($A$1;1;1) + TEIL($A$1;3;1) + TEIL($A$1;5;1) + TEIL($A$1;7;1) + TEIL($A$1;9;1) + TEIL($A$1;11;1) + 3*(TEIL($A$1;2;1) + TEIL($A$1;4;1) + TEIL($A$1;6;1) + TEIL($A$1;8;1) + TEIL($A$1;10;1) + TEIL($A$1;12;1));-10)

(The spaces can be omitted; in the English version (e.g. also in Google spreadsheets) REST is to be replaced by MOD and PART by MID.)

Other product markings

Other product markings
abbreviation Long description use standard Number of digits Art
ISBN Standard international book number Books, maps, etc. ISO 2108: 2005 10 or 13 Digits
ISMN Standard international music number music ISO 10957: 1993
ISRC International Standard Recording Code music ISO 3901: 2001
ISSN International Standard Serial Number Magazines ISO 3297: 1998 8th
PZN Pharmaceutical central number Medication 8th Digits
EPC Electronic product code Articles of any kind worldwide non-overlapping identification number
MIC Machine Identification Code Prints, copies
VIN Vehicle identification number vehicles ISO 3779: 1983
WMI World Manufacturer Identifier Vehicle manufacturer ISO 3780: 1983
WPMI World Parts Manufacturer Identifier Car parts ISO 4100: 1980
ISIN International securities identification number Securities ISO 6166 Numbers + letters
IMEI International Mobile Equipment Identity Mobile phones 15th Digits

While a GTIN (formerly EAN) only identifies an article by type (e.g. Coke can 0.33 L), an EPC can be used to differentiate between each individual article using an additional serialized number (e.g. every Coke can be distinguished from each other). In the EPC, the GS1 number systems such as GTIN (formerly EAN) for articles, NVE (SSCC) for transport units and GRAI for reusable transport containers are usually encrypted. To determine which number system is encrypted in the EPC, it also contains a header. Specific EPCs can then be accessed via this header from the RFID read / write device. Like the EPC itself, the RFID technology permitted for the EPC has been standardized by EPCglobal. According to the EPC Gen 2 standard, which was also published as ISO 18000-6 Part C, only RFID transponders that operate in the frequency range around 900 MHz (UHF) are permitted for storing an EPC.

See also

Web links

Commons : International Article Number (EAN)  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Database query tools

Calculators, generators, recognition software

Individual evidence

  1. George J. Laurer: Why We Created This Directory | Authenticated UPC Registration Directory. April 17, 2017, archived from the original on April 17, 2017 ; accessed on September 18, 2018 .
  2. Registered Resellers | Authenticated UPC Registration Directory. October 31, 2017, archived from the original on October 31, 2017 ; accessed on September 18, 2018 .
  3. GS1 General Specification. Release 18. In: Welcome to GS1. GS1 AISBL, January 2018, p. 31 , accessed on August 17, 2018 (English): "The GS1 Company Prefix is ​​allocated by a GS1 Member Organization to a system user. It makes the ID number unique worldwide but does not identify the origin of the item. Any valid GS1 Company Prefix, other than ones starting with a zero, may be used to issue a GTIN-13 and any valid UPC Company Prefix may be used to issue a GTIN-12. "
  4. ^ A b Gregg M. London: 2005 Sunrise and the Global Trade Item Number. Uniform Code Council, 2005, accessed December 27, 2019 .
  5. a b media identification. In: → Identification numbers → Other identification numbers → Media identification ISBN, ISSN, ISMN. GS1 Austria, accessed on August 31, 2016 ( Brochure Labeling Publishing Products (PDF), link ibid → Brochure Labeling Publishing Products).
  6. a b Books (ISBN) and journals (ISSN). In: → Sectors. GS1 Switzerland, archived from the original on July 15, 2014 ; accessed on April 3, 2011 ( Instructions for converting an ISSN into a GTIN (PDF), link ibid → ISSN).
  7. More protection of minors in retail. In: → Press → Press archive. GS1 Germany, accessed January 12, 2012 .