zint - Man Page

encode data as a barcode image


zint [-h | --help]

zint [options]


zint takes input data from the command line or a file to encode in a barcode which is then output to an image file.

Input data is UTF-8, unless --binary is specified.

Human Readable Text (HRT) is displayed by default for those barcodes that support HRT, unless --notext is specified.

The output image file (specified with -o | --output) may be in one of these formats: Windows Bitmap (BMP), Enhanced Metafile Format (EMF), Encapsulated PostScript (EPS), Graphics Interchange Format (GIF), ZSoft Paintbrush (PCX), Portable Network Format (PNG), Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG), or Tagged Image File Format (TIF).


-h,  --help

Print usage information summarizing command line options.

-b TYPE, --barcode=TYPE

Set the barcode symbology that will be used to encode the data. TYPE is the number or name of the barcode symbology. If not given, the symbology defaults to 20 (Code 128). To see what types are available, use the -t | --types option. Type names are case-insensitive, and non-alphanumerics are ignored.


For EAN/UPC symbologies, set the gap between the main data and the add-on. INTEGER is in integral multiples of the X-dimension. The maximum gap that can be set is 12. The minimum is 7, except for UPC-A, when the minimum is 9.


Treat each line of an input file specified with -i | --input as a separate data set and produce a barcode image for each one. The barcode images are outputted by default to numbered filenames starting with “00001.png”, “00002.png” etc., which can be changed by using the -o | --output option.


Specify a background (paper) colour where COLOUR is in hex RRGGBB or RRGGBBAA format.


Treat input data as raw 8-bit binary data instead of the default UTF-8. Automatic code page translation to an ECI page is disabled, and no validation of the data’s character encoding takes place.


Add horizontal boundary bars (also known as bearer bars) to the symbol. The width of the boundary bars is specified by the --border option. --bind can also be used to add row separator bars to symbols stacked with multiple -d | --data inputs, in which case the width of the separator bars is specified with the --separator option.


Add a horizontal boundary bar to the top of the symbol. The width of the boundary bar is specified by the --border option.


Use bold text for the Human Readable Text (HRT).


Set the width of boundary bars (--bind or --bindtop) or box borders (--box), where INTEGER is in integral multiples of the X-dimension. The default is zero.


Add a box around the symbol. The width of the borders is specified by the --border option.


Use the CMYK colour space when outputting to Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) or TIF files.


Set the number of data columns in the symbol to INTEGER. Affects Codablock-F, DotCode, GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked (DBAR_EXPSTK), MicroPDF417 and PDF417 symbols.


Warn if the height specified by the --height option is not compliant with the barcode’s specification, or if --height is not given, default to the height specified by the specification (if any).

-d,  --data=DATA

Specify the input DATA to encode. The --esc option may be used to enter non-printing characters using escape sequences. The DATA should be UTF-8, unless the --binary option is given, in which case it can be anything.


Send output to stdout, which in most cases should be re-directed to a pipe or a file. Use --filetype to specify output format.


For Data Matrix symbols, allow Data Matrix Rectangular Extended (DMRE) sizes when considering automatic sizes.


Set the radius of the dots in dotty mode (--dotty). NUMBER is in multiples of the X-dimension, and may be floating-point. The default is 0.8.


Use dots instead of squares for matrix symbols. DotCode is always in dotty mode.


Dump a hexadecimal representation of the symbol’s encodation to stdout. The same representation may be outputted to a file by using a .txt extension with -o | --output or by specifying --filetype=txt.

-e,  --ecinos

Display the table of ECIs (Extended Channel Interpretations).


Set the ECI code for the input data to INTEGER. See -e | --ecinos for a list of the ECIs available. ECIs are supported by Aztec Code, Code One, Data Matrix, DotCode, Grid Matrix, Han Xin Code, MaxiCode, MicroPDF417, PDF417, QR Code, rMQR and Ultracode.


Process escape characters in the input data. The escape sequences are:

\0       (0x00)    NUL  Null character
\E       (0x04)    EOT  End of Transmission
\a       (0x07)    BEL  Bell
\b       (0x08)    BS   Backspace
\t       (0x09)    HT   Horizontal Tab
\n       (0x0A)    LF   Line Feed
\v       (0x0B)    VT   Vertical Tab
\f       (0x0C)    FF   Form Feed
\r       (0x0D)    CR   Carriage Return
\e       (0x1B)    ESC  Escape
\G       (0x1D)    GS   Group Separator
\R       (0x1E)    RS   Record Separator
\\       (0x5C)    \    Backslash
\dNNN    (NNN)          Any 8-bit character where NNN is
                        decimal (000-255)
\xNN     (0xNN)         Any 8-bit character where NN is
\uNNNN   (U+NNNN)       Any 16-bit Unicode BMP character
                        where NNNN is hexadecimal
\UNNNNNN (U+NNNNNN)     Any 21-bit Unicode character
                        where NNNNNN is hexadecimal

Use faster if less optimal encodation or other shortcuts (affects Data Matrix, MicroPDF417, PDF417, QRCODE & UPNQR only).


Specify a foreground (ink) colour where COLOUR is in hex RRGGBB or RRGGBBAA format.


Set the output file type to TYPE, which is one of BMP, EMF, EPS, GIF, PCX, PNG, SVG, TIF, TXT.


Use the multibyte modes of Grid Matrix, Han Xin and QR Code for non-ASCII data.


Treat input as GS1 compatible data. Application Identifiers (AIs) should be placed in square brackets "[]" (but see --gs1parens).


Do not check the validity of GS1 data.


Process parentheses "()" as GS1 AI delimiters, rather than square brackets "[]". The input data must not otherwise contain parentheses.


For Data Matrix in GS1 mode, use GS (0x1D) as the GS1 data separator instead of FNC1.


For EAN/UPC symbols, set the height the guard bars descend below the main bars, where NUMBER is in multiples of the X-dimension. NUMBER may be floating-point.


Set the height of the symbol in multiples of the X-dimension. NUMBER may be floating-point.


Treat height as per-row. Affects Codablock-F, Code 16K, Code 49, GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked (DBAR_EXPSTK), MicroPDF417 and PDF417.

-i,  --input=FILE

Read the input data from FILE.


Create a Reader Initialisation (Programming) symbol.


Set the masking pattern to use for DotCode, Han Xin or QR Code to INTEGER, overriding the automatic selection.


Use the batch data to determine the filename in batch mode (--batch). The -o | --output option can be used to specify an output directory (any filename will be ignored).


For MaxiCode and GS1 Composite symbols, set the encoding mode to INTEGER.

For MaxiCode (SCM is Structured Carrier Message, with 3 fields: postcode, 3-digit ISO 3166-1 country code, 3-digit service code):

2   SCM with 9-digit numeric postcode
3   SCM with 6-character alphanumeric postcode
4   Enhanced ECC for the primary part of the message
5   Enhanced ECC for all of the message
6   Reader Initialisation (Programming)

For GS1 Composite symbols (names end in _CC, i.e. EANX_CC, GS1_128_CC, DBAR_OMN_CC etc.):

1   CC-A
2   CC-B
3   CC-C (GS1_128_CC only)

Remove the background colour (EMF, EPS, GIF, PNG, SVG and TIF only).


Disable any quiet zones for symbols that define them by default.


Remove the Human Readable Text (HRT).

-o,  --output=FILE

Send the output to FILE. When not in batch mode, the default is “out.png” (or “out.gif” if zint built without PNG support). When in batch mode (--batch), special characters can be used to format the output filenames:

~           Insert a number or 0
#           Insert a number or space
@           Insert a number or * (+ on Windows)
Any other   Insert literally

For MaxiCode, set the content of the primary message. For GS1 Composite symbols, set the content of the linear symbol.


Add compliant quiet zones for symbols that specify them. This is in addition to any whitespace specified by -w | --whitesp or --vwhitesp.

-r,  --reverse

Reverse the foreground and background colours (white on black). Known as “reflectance reversal” or “reversed reflectance”.


Rotate the symbol by INTEGER degrees, where INTEGER can be 0, 90, 270 or 360.


Set the number of rows for Codablock-F or PDF417 to INTEGER. It will also set the minimum number of rows for Code 16K or Code 49, and the maximum number of rows for GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked (DBAR_EXPSTK).


Adjust the size of the X-dimension. NUMBER may be floating-point, and is multiplied by 2 (except for MaxiCode) before being applied. The default scale is 1.

For MaxiCode, the scale is multiplied by 10 for raster output, by 40 for EMF output, and by 2 otherwise.

Increments of 0.5 (half-integers) are recommended for non-MaxiCode raster output (BMP, GIF, PCX, PNG and TIF).

See also --scalexdimdp below.


Scale the image according to X-dimension X and resolution R, where X is in mm and R is in dpmm (dots per mm). X and R may be floating-point. R is optional and defaults to 12 dpmm (approximately 300 dpi).

The scaling takes into account the output filetype, and deals with all the details mentioned above. Units may be specified for X by appending “in” (inch) or “mm”, and for R by appending “dpi” (dots per inch) or “dpmm” - e.g. --scalexdimdp=0.013in,300dpi.


For MaxiCode, prefix the Structured Carrier Message (SCM) with "[)>\R01\Gvv", where vv is a 2-digit INTEGER.


Set the error correction level (ECC) to INTEGER. The meaning is specific to the following matrix symbols (all except PDF417 are approximate):

Aztec Code  1 to 4 (10%, 23%, 36%, 50%)
Grid Matrix 1 to 5 (10% to 50%)
Han Xin     1 to 4 (8%, 15%, 23%, 30%)
Micro QR    1 to 3 (7%, 15%, 25%) (L, M, Q)
PDF417      0 to 8 (2^(INTEGER + 1) codewords)
QR Code     1 to 4 (7%, 15%, 25%, 30%) (L, M, Q, H)
rMQR        2 or 4 (15% or 30%) (M or H)
Ultracode   1 to 6 (0%, 5%, 9%, 17%, 25%, 33%)

Set the ECI & DATA content for segment N, where N is 1 to 9. -d | --data must still be given, and counts as segment 0, its ECI given by --eci. Segments must be consecutive.


Set the height of row separator bars for stacked symbologies, where INTEGER is in integral multiples of the X-dimension. The default is zero.


Use small text for Human Readable Text (HRT).


For Data Matrix symbols, exclude rectangular sizes when considering automatic sizes.


Set Structured Append info, where I is the 1-based index, C is the total number of symbols in the sequence, and ID, which is optional, is the identifier that all symbols in the sequence share. Structured Append is supported by Aztec Code, Code One, Data Matrix, DotCode, Grid Matrix, MaxiCode, MicroPDF417, PDF417, QR Code and Ultracode.

-t,  --types

Display the table of barcode types (symbologies). The numbers or names can be used with -b | --barcode.


Set the symbol version (size, check digits, other options) to INTEGER. The meaning is symbol-specific.

For most matrix symbols, it specifies size:

Aztec Code      1 to 36 (1 to 4 compact)
Code One        1 to 10
Data Matrix     1 to 48 (31 to 48 DMRE)
Grid Matrix     1 to 13
Han Xin         1 to 84
Micro QR        1 to 4  (M1, M2, M3, M4)
QR Code         1 to 40
rMQR            1 to 38 (33 to 38 automatic width)

For a number of linear symbols, it specifies check character options (“hide” or “hidden” means don’t show in HRT, “visible” means do display in HRT):

C25IATA         1 or 2 (add visible or hidden check digit)
C25IND          ditto
C25INTER        ditto
C25LOGIC        ditto
C25STANDARD     ditto
Codabar         1 or 2 (add hidden or visible check digit)
Code 11         0 or 1 (no or 1 visible check digit only)
                       (default is 2 visible check digits)
Code 39         1      (add visible check digit)
Code 93         1      (hide the default check characters)
EXCODE39        1      (add visible check digit)
LOGMARS         1      (add visible check digit)
MSI Plessey     0 to 6 (none to various visible options)
                1, 2   (mod-10, mod-10 + mod-10)
                3, 4   (mod-11 IBM, mod-11 IBM + mod-10)
                5, 6   (mod-11 NCR, mod-11 NCR + mod-10)
                +10    (hide)

For a few other symbologies, it specifies other characteristics:

Channel Code    3 to 8    (no. of channels)
DAFT            50 to 900 (permille tracker ratio)
DPD             1         (relabel)
PZN             1         (PZN7 instead of default PZN8)
Ultracode       2         (revision 2)
VIN             1         (add international prefix)
-v,  --version

Display zint version.


Set the height of vertical whitespace above and below the barcode, where INTEGER is in integral multiples of the X-dimension.

-w,  --whitesp=INTEGER

Set the width of horizontal whitespace either side of the barcode, where INTEGER is in integral multiples of the X-dimension.


Convert all warnings into errors.

Exit Status


Success (including when given informational options -h | --help, -e | --ecinos, -t | --types, -v | --version).


Invalid option given but overridden by Zint (ZINT_WARN_INVALID_OPTION)


Automatic ECI inserted by Zint (ZINT_WARN_USES_ECI)


Symbol created not compliant with standards (ZINT_WARN_NONCOMPLIANT)


Input data wrong length (ZINT_ERROR_TOO_LONG)


Input data incorrect (ZINT_ERROR_INVALID_DATA)


Input check digit incorrect (ZINT_ERROR_INVALID_CHECK)


Incorrect option given (ZINT_ERROR_INVALID_OPTION)


Internal error (should not happen) (ZINT_ERROR_ENCODING_PROBLEM)


Error opening output file (ZINT_ERROR_FILE_ACCESS)


Memory allocation (malloc) failure (ZINT_ERROR_MEMORY)


Error writing to output file (ZINT_ERROR_FILE_WRITE)


Error counterpart of warning if --werror given (ZINT_ERROR_USES_ECI)


Error counterpart of warning if --werror given (ZINT_ERROR_NONCOMPLIANT)


Create “out.png” (or “out.gif” if zint built without PNG support) in the current directory, as a Code 128 symbol.

zint -d 'This Text'

Create “qr.svg” in the current directory, as a QR Code symbol.

zint -b QRCode -d 'This Text' -o 'qr.svg'

Use batch mode to read from an input file “ean_nos.txt” containing 13-digit GTINs, to create a series of EAN-13 barcodes, formatting the output filenames to “ean001.gif”, “ean002.gif” etc. using the special character “~”.

zint -b EANX --batch -i 'ean_nos.txt' -o 'ean~~~.gif'


Please send bug reports to https://sourceforge.net/p/zint/tickets/.

See Also

Full documention for zint (and the API libzint and the GUI zint-qt) is available from


and at


Conforming to

Zint is designed to be compliant with a number of international standards, including:

ISO/IEC 24778:2008, ANSI/AIM BC12-1998, EN 798:1996, AIM ISS-X-24 (1995), ISO/IEC 15417:2007, EN 12323:2005, ISO/IEC 16388:2007, ANSI/AIM BC6-2000, ANSI/AIM BC5-1995, AIM USS Code One (1994), ISO/IEC 16022:2006, ISO/IEC 21471:2019, ISO/IEC 15420:2009, AIMD014 (v 1.63) (2008), ISO/IEC 24723:2010, ISO/IEC 24724:2011, ISO/IEC 20830:2021, ISO/IEC 16390:2007, ISO/IEC 16023:2000, ISO/IEC 24728:2006, ISO/IEC 15438:2015, ISO/IEC 18004:2015, ISO/IEC 23941:2022, AIM ITS/04-023 (2022)


Robin Stuart <robin@zint.org.uk>


December 2022 Version 2.12.0