It is a bar-code symbol that is widely used in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and in other countries for tracking trade items in stores. It is contains form 12 digits.
It is also has a variation:
To allow the use of UPC bar-codes on smaller packages, where a full 12-digit bar-code may not fit, a 'zero-suppressed' version of UPC was developed, called UPC-E, in which the number system digit, all trailing zeros in the manufacturer code, and all leading zeros in the product code, are suppressed (omitted). This symbology differs from UPC-A in that it only uses a 6-digit code, does not use M (middle) guard pattern, and the E (end) guard pattern is formed as space-bar-space-bar-space-bar, i.e. UPC-E bar-code follows the pattern SDDDDDDE. The way, in which a 6-digit UPC-E relates to a 12-digit UPC-A, is determined by UPC-E numerical pattern and UPC-E parity pattern. It can only correspond to UPC-A number system 0 or 1, the value of which, along with the UPC-A check digit, determines the UPC-E parity pattern of the encoding
The EAN-13 was developed as a superset of UPC-A, adding an extra digit to the beginning of every UPC-A number. This expanded the number of unique values theoretically possible by ten times to 1 trillion. EAN-13 bar-codes also indicate the country in which the company that sells the product is based (which may or may not be the same as the country in which the good is manufactured). The three leading digits of the code determine this, according to the GS1 country codes. Every UPC-A code can be easily converted to the equivalent EAN-13 code by prepending 0 digit to the UPC-A code. This does not change the check digit. All point-of-sale systems can now understand both equally.
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