Scan, Use and Print Barcodes in Inventory 🧪
Scanning, formats, and browsers
You can read barcodes in RSpace, either generated by RSpace itself, or created by other systems.
The formats you can scan will depend on the browser and OS you are using. Results will also be affected by camera capabilities, barcode size, and light conditions.
The largest range of formats can be scanned using an Android device with camera, or the Chrome browser on a Mac computer with a webcam. These will be able to read 1D barcodes, QR codes, Matrix codes and many more. If you are using a different device/browser combination (e.g Safari on an iPhone), you will still be able to scan QR codes, but not other formats.
Barcodes and Items
Each Inventory item can be associated with one or more barcodes, and a barcode can be associated with one or more items (a "many to many" relationship).
If you are editing an existing item, you can save a barcode (generated anywhere) and associate it with the item in the Barcodes section.
Once a barcode has been scanned, you can use the value encoded in it to search items in RSpace (1-click "scan and search").
Scan an existing barcode
To scan an existing barcode:
- First click Edit at the top of the details panel of the item
- Scroll down to the Barcodes field, and click the "plus" icon to activate your device camera
- Position the item so that the camera can read the barcode. Alternatively, if the camera is struggling to detect the barcode or you've got a barcode scanner, you can enter the data encoded in the barcode manually.
- When the camera successfully reads the barcode, the content and format of the barcode will be displayed. Click Save to save that barcode. Note that you can associate more than one barcode with an item.
- You can edit the label for the newly scanned barcode. Click Save at the bottom of the details panel to save all changes and end the editing session.
Search items by barcode ("scan and search")
- Click on Barcode in the search filters:
- Your browser might ask for permission to use your camera, which you'll need to allow.
- Position the item so that the camera can read the barcode.
- The system will indicate when a barcode was successfully read. Click on Search to display all Inventory results that match your barcode.
QR codes generated by RSpace encode a direct link to an item, eg.
https://university.researchspace.com/inventory/subsample/1310785. Both the generated QR code or any type of barcode that you have associated with an item can be read by another RSpace user in order to access those items via "scan and search".
Note that you can use this approach to:
- read barcodes created by any type of barcode printer that you use in your lab (either currently or in the past) and associate those codes with RSpace items
- read and associate existing barcodes printed on the item by the manufacturer
In the example below, three barcodes are associated with an item, the first is a QR code generated by RSpace (which cannot be deleted) and two additional barcodes that were read directly from the item (which can be deleted if necessary). The two extra barcodes were originally 1D linear barcodes but RSpace converts and displays previews of those as QR codes which can then be printed. Currently RSpace cannot display or print 1D "traditional" barcodes that have been associated with an item.
- Select one or several items using the checkboxes. Then, click on the three dots menu to expand your actions, and select Print Barcode. Note that this will print out the QR codes generated by RSpace for each item.
- You can also scroll down to the Barcodes section of an item, and use the print icon to print one or all barcodes associated with an item. Note that all barcodes will be converted to QR codes for printing, even barcodes of a different format that were associated with the item.
- A print options panel will open, where you can customise the size and information on your label. A preview of what an individual label will look like is displayed on the right.
- Print mode has three options: basic prints just the QR code, standard prints QR code and description, and full prints QR code, description, type and name of the item, item location, and label creation time.
- Print size determines the size of the QR code: small, medium, or full.
- Printer type currently only supports generic printers, and we are working on a Zebra printer integration: we'd love to hear from you on how you use Zebra printers so we can support your workflows!
- After you click on Print Selected, your browser's print dialog will open and display all the barcodes that will be printed. You can make any final adjustments, such as paper size and margins, before clicking on Print.