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 hexadecimal RRGGBB or RRGGBBAA format or in decimal C,M,Y,K percentages 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, use the standard ISO/IEC codeword placement for 144 x 144 (--vers=24) sized symbols, instead of the default “de facto” placement (which rotates the placement of ECC codewords).


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


Set the radius of the dots in dotty mode (--dotty). NUMBER is in X-dimensions, 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.


For vector output, embed the font in the file for portability. Currently only available for SVG output.


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)
\oNNN    (0oNNN)        Any 8-bit character where NNN is
                        octal (000-377)
\xNN     (0xNN)         Any 8-bit character where NN is
                        hexadecimal (00-FF)
\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

Process the special escape sequences \^A, \^B and \^C that allow manual switching of Code Sets (Code 128 only). The sequence \^^ can be used to encode data that contains special escape sequences.


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 hexadecimal RRGGBB or RRGGBBAA format or in decimal C,M,Y,K percentages 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 X-dimensions. NUMBER may be floating-point.


For EAN/UPC symbols, add quiet zone indicators "<" and/or ">" to HRT where applicable.


Set the height of the symbol in X-dimensions. 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. Specify a single hyphen (-) for FILE to read from stdin.


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). X may be zero in which case a symbology-specific default is used.

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. See also --dmre.


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.


Adjust the gap between the barcode and the Human Readable Text (HRT). NUMBER is in X-dimensions, and may be floating-point. Maximum is 10 and minimum is -5. The default is 1.


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)
        1   15x15     13  53x53     25  105x105
        2   19x19     14  57x57     26  109x109
        3   23x23     15  61x61     27  113x113
        4   27x27     16  67x67     28  117x117
        5   19x19     17  71x71     29  121x121
        6   23x23     18  75x75     30  125x125
        7   27x27     19  79x79     31  131x131
        8   31x31     20  83x83     32  135x135
        9   37x37     21  87x87     33  139x139
        10  41x41     22  91x91     34  143x143
        11  45x45     23  95x95     35  147x147
        12  49x49     24  101x101   36  151x151

Code One        1 to 10 (9 and 10 variable width) (WxH)
        1   16x18     6   70x76
        2   22x22     7   104x98
        3   28x28     8   148x134
        4   40x42     9   Wx8
        5   52x54     10  Wx16

Data Matrix     1 to 48 (31 to 48 DMRE) (HxW)
        1   10x10     17  72x72     33  8x80
        2   12x12     18  80x80     34  8x96
        3   14x14     19  88x88     35  8x120
        4   16x16     20  96x96     36  8x144
        5   18x18     21  104x104   37  12x64
        6   20x20     22  120x120   38  12x88
        7   22x22     23  132x132   39  16x64
        8   24x24     24  144x144   40  20x36
        9   26x26     25  8x18      41  20x44
        10  32x32     26  8x32      42  20x64
        11  36x36     28  12x26     43  22x48
        12  40x40     28  12x36     44  24x48
        13  44x44     29  16x36     45  24x64
        14  48x48     30  16x48     46  26x40
        15  52x52     31  8x48      47  26x48
        16  64x64     32  8x64      48  26x64

Grid Matrix     1 to 13
        1   18x18     6   78x78     11  138x138
        2   30x30     7   90x90     12  150x150
        3   42x42     8   102x102   13  162x162
        4   54x54     9   114x114
        5   66x66     10  126x126

Han Xin         1 to 84
        1   23x23     29  79x79     57  135x135
        2   25x25     30  81x81     58  137x137
        3   27x27     31  83x83     59  139x139
        4   29x29     32  85x85     60  141x141
        5   31x31     33  87x87     61  143x143
        6   33x33     34  89x89     62  145x145
        7   35x35     35  91x91     63  147x147
        8   37x37     36  93x93     64  149x149
        9   39x39     37  95x95     65  151x151
        10  41x41     38  97x97     66  153x153
        11  43x43     39  99x99     67  155x155
        12  45x45     40  101x101   68  157x157
        13  47x47     41  103x103   69  159x159
        14  49x49     42  105x105   70  161x161
        15  51x51     43  107x107   71  163x163
        16  53x53     44  109x109   72  165x165
        17  55x55     45  111x111   73  167x167
        18  57x57     46  113x113   74  169x169
        19  59x59     47  115x115   75  171x171
        20  61x61     48  117x117   76  173x173
        21  63x63     49  119x119   77  175x175
        22  65x65     50  121x121   78  177x177
        23  67x67     51  123x123   79  179x179
        24  69x69     52  125x125   80  181x181
        25  71x71     53  127x127   81  183x183
        26  73x73     54  129x129   82  185x185
        27  75x75     55  131x131   83  187x187
        28  77x77     56  133x133   84  189x189

Micro QR        1 to 4  (M1, M2, M3, M4)
        1   11x11     3   15x15
        2   13x13     4   17x17

QR Code         1 to 40
        1   21x21     15  77x77     29  133x133
        2   25x25     16  81x81     30  137x137
        3   29x29     17  85x85     31  141x141
        4   33x33     18  89x89     32  145x145
        5   37x37     19  93x93     33  149x149
        6   41x41     20  97x97     34  153x153
        7   45x45     21  101x101   35  157x157
        8   49x49     22  105x105   36  161x161
        9   53x53     23  109x109   37  165x165
        10  57x57     24  113x113   38  169x169
        11  61x61     25  117x117   39  173x173
        12  65x65     26  121x121   40  177x177
        13  69x69     27  125x125
        14  73x73     28  129x129

rMQR            1 to 38 (33 to 38 automatic width) (HxW)
        1   7x43      14  11x77     27  15x139
        2   7x59      15  11x99     28  17x43
        3   7x77      16  11x139    29  17x59
        4   7x99      17  13x27     30  17x77
        5   7x139     18  13x43     31  17x99
        6   9x43      19  13x59     32  17x139
        7   9x59      20  13x77     33  7xW
        8   9x77      21  13x99     34  9xW
        9   9x99      22  13x139    35  11xW
        10  9x139     23  15x43     36  13xW
        11  11x27     24  15x59     37  15xW
        12  11x43     25  15x77     38  17xW
        13  11x59     26  15x99

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 to 2 (2 visible check digits to none)
                0      (default 2 visible check digits)
                1      (1 visible check digit)
                2      (no check digits)
Code 39         1 or 2 (add visible or hidden check digit)
Code 93         1      (hide the default check characters)
EXCODE39        1 or 2 (add visible or hidden check digit)
LOGMARS         1 or 2 (add visible or hidden 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).


Human Readable Text was truncated (maximum 199 bytes) (ZINT_WARN_HRT_TRUNCATED)


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)


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


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 “ean13nos.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 'ean13nos.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\c


December 2023 Version 2.13.0