Barcode Scanners for Spreadsheet Applications

Barcode Technology for Spreadsheets

Navigating through manual data entry tasks can indeed be a daunting prospect, particularly when it involves a wide range of goods and this is precisely where the integration of barcode technology can bring about a significant enhancement in your operational efficiency.

If you’re currently utilising spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to manage your business' stock information and find the manual keying in of data to be a laborious task, then the introduction of a simple low cost barcode scanner is something that you might want to consider.

In this post, we aim to illuminate the benefits of incorporating a barcode scanner with any type of spreadsheet stock management system. Furthermore, we will help to steer you towards the most practical and best priced barcode scanners available in the market that are perfectly suited for this task. So, please read on as we help to guide you on this worthwhile journey.

The Advantages of Integrating a Barcode Scanner with Spreadsheets

Barcode scanners can drastically accelerate data entry tasks and minimise errors. Instead of manually typing in long strings of data, a simple scan of a barcode automatically identifies the information and populates a cell within the spreadsheet with the relevant information. It works exactly like a keyboard but in a fraction of the time and without the human error. Once a barcode is scanned and sent to the host application it can then automatically move the focus on to the next cell below ready to populate fresh data and this feature is especially useful in situations where tracking a multitude of items is the norm.


Selecting the Ideal Barcode Scanner 

Selecting a barcode scanner to work with a spreadsheet involves considering several factors and these include the type of barcodes that need to be scanned (1D linear or 2D matrix codes) as some will only be capable decoding limited types; The way you want the hardware to operate (Handsfree or manually Trigger operated) can be important - why pull a trigger manually if it can auto scan individual items when it sees them?  Other considerations might be to estimate the amount of barcodes that will be needed to be scanned regularly, as it's unlikely that a low cost entry level device will last the course if thousands of items are required to be scanned regularly.

It's also worth assessing the type of environment that the hardware is going to be deployed in such as an outdoor area, or within areas subject to excessive temperatures then this is very likely to have an averse affect on the performance of some low level scanner models very quickly.

Equally the type of industry that the device is to be used within might have a bearing if it's needed for use within an ESD area for example then there are specific models that are available for this application.

You should also identify where you want the scanner to be used in relation to the PC/Workstation - either right next to it which is easy to cover with a short USB cable, or do you need the ability to work away from the PC using a cordless device with the ability to roam many metres away. We will explore this a little more in the next section.

Different Form Factors

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When choosing the best connection type to your PC then the default is a standard USB connection but note that there are varying cable lengths and types available that range from half metre straight to 3 or 5 metre coiled cables which are safer than the equivalent straight cables when used over longer lengths. 

A cordless scanner over Bluetooth (or similar) is a good option to consider when needing to take the barcode scanner away from the PC to the Goods rather than the other way round. Most cordless barcode scanner solutions still require a from of hard connection from the receiving cradle unit (via USB or RS232) but there some which can communicate directly over Bluetooth when paired with the host or can send data back via a USB dongle which helps to keep costs low in comparison with cradle kits.

For even longer ranges, another type of device to consider for recording multiple lines of data is to use a scanner that has the ability to store scans when out of range of the PC and to then send it back to the PC when back in range of a Bluetooth connection. These small pocket sized devices provide a very flexible data capture solution where wider areas are involved or if being used in buildings that don't have a reliable internal wireless network.

In Conclusion 

The combination of a barcode scanner with spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets is now so simple to set up and can greatly boost your data entry speed and precision.

The relatively low cost of investment required (from as little as £29.00 + VAT) will reap many benefits going forward and help you to concentrate on other tasks instead.

If you need further help or advice in choosing the most suitable barcode scanner for your needs then please contact us for help and guidance.

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Our Industry Partners

HUB Auto ID take pride in our industry partnerships with several top-tier manufacturers of barcode scanners. Here’s a brief introduction to each:
Zebra Technologies - Industry brand leader who are renowned for some of the most reliable and rugged barcode scanners in the market.
Newland ID- Barcode Scan Engine specialists and offer an extensive array of barcode scanners suitable for various industries.
Honeywell AIDC - Celebrated brand known for their innovative and high-quality scanning solutions.
Syble - Specialising in low cost and user-friendly barcode scanners for light industry.
Unitech - Offer a wide range of devices with a reputation for being reliable and affordable

Each manufacturer offers a diverse range of products catering to different needs and budgets. By referring to our product selector below you can hopefully pinpoint the ideal type of barcode scanner for your needs.

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