Nitro Blog

How to Use a PDF Barcode Generator


As a Nitro Pro user, you may have questions about the PDF barcode generator and capabilities available in Nitro Pro 10. In this article, we’ll discuss why you’d want to use this advanced tool, how to create a PDF barcode, and what customizing one entails.

What is the purpose of the PDF barcode generator?

With a barcode you can access customer information, addresses, account numbers, form information, and more—all while guaranteeing security and automatic indexing. All of this data is contained within a barcode and can be unlocked with a scanner, making information easily accessible and reducing potential for data entry errors and inconsistencies.

How can I use the barcode generator to create a PDF barcode?

You can place a barcode field on a document by going to the Forms tab > clicking on Barcode Field > double clicking on the document.

Depending on the purpose of the barcode or the amount of information it contains, the size and position of the field on the paper may be important considerations. If the custom barcode contains ample data, it may need to take up a larger portion on the page.

Pro tip: Always test your barcode before sending to a client.

How can I customize my barcode?

After dropping the barcode into your document, right-click on the barcode. Go to Properties and a ‘Barcode Field Properties’ window will appear.

Here is a quick guide to the various tabs and capabilities of your customizable barcode.


1. General Tab. Here you have the option to rename your barcode, which can be important for later access if multiple barcodes are required. The ‘Common Properties’ will remain locked to ensure your barcode is visible on the PDF.

2. Options Tab. All barcodes are not the same and this is due to varying symbology. The symbology of a barcode is the shape and position of the bars and spaces that make a bar code work for a specific application or scanner.

Choose your barcode’s Symbology. You have three choices in Nitro: PDF417, QRCode or Data Matrix.


a) What is PDF417? PDF417 is commonly used and widely recognized as the 2D square barcode symbol often seen on government, postal, or FedEx documents. You can set the X dimension, Error correction and Y/X ratio on PDF417 barcodes.

b) What is QRCode? A variety of uses for storing financial information, URLs, website login and virtual stores. Often used on mobile devices, this symbology also can encode Japanese Kanji and Kana characters.

c) What is Data Matrix? Most commonly used for encoding more data in smaller items, it is the only option that is not public.

Pro tip: When you see the ‘compress before encoding’ option, think about the device that will be scanning your barcode. Compressing the data before encoding it into a barcode would free up more space; however, not all devices can read compressed data, like a handheld scanner. Before selecting this option, ensure the scanning device will be able to read a compressed barcode.

3. Calculate Tab. On the calculate tab you can select an encoding format (Tab Delimited or XML) and select fields you wish to include. You can also enter your custom JavaScript code. It’s important to note that Nitro does not provide support for custom codes, but we can attempt to help with basic calculation issues.


a) What is Barcode Reference? This will be displayed under the barcode. Under XML coding, the reference is also encoded into the barcode.

4. Actions tab. First, choose how you will move the mouse to cause an action to occur (aka, set the trigger). Next, select the action that results from the mouse trigger. Example actions include: Open a web link, submit a form, go to a page in this document, run a JavaScript, or open a file. It is important to note that select OCG state and named actions are not currently supported by Nitro Pro 10.


You can view your chosen actions on the Current Action window and Edit and Delete them at any time.

I hope that this guide proves helpful as you learn to use Nitro Pro 10’s PDF barcode tool. Of course, if you are experiencing trouble with the tool please submit a support ticket here.

And if you haven’t yet experienced Nitro Pro 10, download your free trial today!