SwiftDecoder Barcode Decoding Software

Achieving a successful barcode implementation depends on the ability to capture barcodes quickly and accurately.  Projects that measure return on investment will study the impact of non-reads and mis-decodes on the business. In many cases, poor quality barcodes can limit the ability to read codes, which leads to a higher rate of keypad entry, lower productivity, and a higher error frequency.


Ideally, every symbol in circulation would be printed in adherence to the barcode encoding rules. Unfortunately, these efforts are thwarted when a third party is feeding imperfect symbols into your environment, or when a printer is out of adjustment. Common problems include low contrast printing, bar growth, insufficient quiet zone (the blank area around the barcode), or printing on challenging surfaces that may be curved, textured or glossy. Moreover, packages come in a variety of shapes and sizes, suppliers don’t always verify the barcodes they print for compliance, and symbols can be damaged during shipping and handling. In these situations, many printed barcodes can be seemingly unusable. This application note will review several types of poor barcode conditions that can occur, including:

I. Damage or Distortion
II. Poor Contrast
III. Challenging Package Shapes and Materials


Honeywell SwiftDecoder™ Barcode Decoding Software’s robust algorithms find and decode barcodes under many adverse conditions to successfully deliver return on investment in real-world situations. All of the barcodes in this application note have been successfully tested by Honeywell.

Optimised Productivity with Scan Modes:
  • Windowing: Program a specifically sized window to help users aim and scan quickly. The scanner captures only the barcode that is entirely within the window.

  • Targeting: Gives users an optical target to aim and scan quickly. The scanner captures only the barcode targeted, increasing user speed and accuracy.

  • Batch Scan: Gather all the information you need with one scan. Allows users to scan and read many barcodes at the same time by capturing all the barcodes within the window of view.

  • Preview and Select: Artificial Reality (AR) enabled scanning automatically selects the correct barcode among many in view. Enables fast and accurate scanning the first time.

  • Custom Scan: Program the scanner to read-only codes of a certain size, symbology or content. Helps streamline user scanning process by choosing the right information with a single scan.

  • Continuous Scan: Enables users to set an automatic mode to read barcodes continuously and quickly. High-speed scanning captures the correct information within tens of milliseconds, with the industry-leading snappiness and motion tolerance.


Vending Machines

Smart Phones




Mail Sorting Machines

Document Scanning


Smart Appliances

Damage or Distortion

As barcodes can be exposed to many types of environmental conditions, they naturally degrade over time. Damage to barcodes may occur during their movement through the operations process and distortion may occur due to production area temperature changes. Any kind of damage to a barcode, such as scuffs, marks, scratches, stains, blotches, or poor ink distribution (often a common printing defect) affects readability and can
result in a non-read, or worse, a mis-decode, all impacting profitability.


The Solution
For more than 25 years, companies have been using Honeywell solutions
in their mission-critical scanning applications. They have pushed us to solve their toughest barcode reading challenges. In many cases, our customers do not print their barcodes, and they cannot control the condition of the barcode throughout its journey to the point of reading. They have come to rely on Honeywell’s robust algorithms to find and decode damaged and distorted barcodes. 


Poor Contrast

Barcode reading technology is fundamentally based upon the ability
to detect both light and dark barcode elements. If dark barcodes are printed on a dark substrate or light barcodes are printed on a light substrate, the scanner has difficulty discerning the barcode from the background, which typically results in a non-read. Readability is also affected if the barcode is placed onto a busy background, or if lighting conditions cause a reflective or shadowed condition.


The Solution

SwiftDecoder™ Barcode Decoding was designed and built from the ground up to work much the way the human eye is able to detect small changes in light and to tolerate bright reflections. SwiftDecoder reads low contrast barcodes with enhanced speed and better accuracy than most other solutions

Challenging Package Shapes and Materials

Barcodes are typically easy to read if they are on paper or are perfectly presented to the imager. However, most barcodes are placed onto packages that come in many shapes and sizes or are made of many different types of materials, which can often make readability difficult or impossible for typical barcode readers.


The Solution

Whether it is a barcode symbol that wraps around a curved object, or a 2D barcode on a driver’s license that has become warped over time, SwiftDecoder’s algorithms are more tolerant of curvature and other distortions.

Image by Mike Walter