Barcodes in the laboratory

My life could be so easy if barcoding always were made the right way!

Yes, it seems to be very difficult for big clinics to print a simple barcode. They pretty much take care of everything, they have to follow strict guidelines and defined processes. But to print a simple barcode and attach it to a simple tube is too difficult for them? Please, dear clinical trial managers, please explain to me why your barcodes always have to stick across the tube and not straight as it should be? Why is the Quite Zone missing upfront and at the end of your barcode.? And why do you regularly think, a Sellotape or a Parafilm could help something on your tube? Just to make my life easier, here you get a prechewed guideline, you can use to make good barcodes you can use on lab robots and other devices:


Guideline for well-working barcodes in the lab

– Think before you ink !

– Respect the Quite Zone

– Stick the codes straight on the tube

– Optimize the width and height

– Use frost proof material

– Avoid over-sticking, even with see thru para film

– Avoid going with more than one barcode per tube

– Your barcode should be scratch proof even when wet




Published in General, HowTo, Instruments


  1. Neil Benn

    Also use Code 128 symbology which has a checksum and has a much reduced chance of misreading

  2. Thomas Gugger

    And do not use a cheap handheld-scanner to prove your barcode is readable. Those things read everything but you have no guarantee it is correct…
    High quality scanner devices do not accept a bad barcode label and say it is not readable if they detect a poor quality and therefore cannot be 100% sure they can decode it correctly!

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