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Barcoding in MS Word

Word erases the asterisks when printing Code 39 barcodes using TrueType Fonts…

By convention, Code 39 TrueType barcode fonts use the asterisk (*) as the start/stop character. When inserting a code 39 barcode into a text document it is common practice to type an asterisk, the data, and another asterisk, then highlight the text and change to a Code 39 font. For example:


In Microsoft Word, as you are typing the asterisks may suddenly disappear and the text change to bold leaving you with this:


If this text is converted to a Code 39 font, the barcode will not scan because there are no asterisks. The problem is that Microsoft Word is interpreting the asterisks as formatting commands. This unhelpful “feature” is turned on by default in Word, but it can be turned off.


In Microsoft Word go to the menu bar and click on Format and then on AutoFormat. On the pop-up window, click on the Options button and then select the AutoFormat tab. On this property page there is a check box labeled *bold* with real formatting. Un-check this box to turn off the “feature.”