Monday, March 27, 2017

Flashback to the Birth of Retail Barcodes

"Something was on the horizon in 1973 that would revolutionize the grocery shopping experience."

The Raleigh News & Observer has a look back to the 1970s, when barcodes on retail products were still just a twinkle in IBM's eye.

~ The News & Observer

Monday, September 26, 2016

Azalea Software and the New National Museum of African American History & Culture

Azalea's founder Jerry Whiting has always been a collector of fine photography and hard-to-find images from America's 20th century civil rights era.

In 2007/2008, the newly-approved Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture - still at the blueprints stage - put out a call for historically significant items to build its collection. Jerry was thrilled at the opportunity, and in addition to donations from his personal collection, gifted three stunning photos from his Azalea collection of Henri Cartier-Bresson work to the NMAAHC.

'Saint Francisville, Louisiana'

'Civil Rights Demonstration, Washington, DC'

And 'Easter Sunday, Harlem'

We are so very proud to be a small part of the NMAAHC. Take a moment to explore it: online, or if you're lucky, in person. It's beautiful, troubling, moving, and a vital piece of our shared American history.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Fun New Excel Macro With An Excellent How-To

flipText is a small Excel macro that easily reverses the order of text in a spreadsheet. While converting "stressed" to "desserts" is fun, Excel power users have more complicated project needs. Those needs are addressed in the comprehensive How-To that accompanies the flipText macro.

The How-To clearly explains, step-by-step, how to copy an Excel macro from one spreadsheet into another.

Most Excel users have never really worked with custom macros before, so the idea of copying a macro is beyond many people's comfort zone. The flipText macro is fun enough to get your attention, and from there we hope you'll find using macros less intimidating!

To help distribute this tutorial, we released flipText as open source software under a Creative Commons license.The flipText macro and its invaluable how-to can be downloaded from our website here:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Creative UPCs

There's no real reason to get creative with UPC barcodes on retail packaging.

Which makes it that much more delightful to see manufacturers doing silly, whimsical or just plain goofy stuff to their UPCs.

It's fun for the sake of fun!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Endangered Zebras' Barcodes May Help Save Them

Vicki Croke at The Animalist has an interesting piece up about the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust using zebras' individual 'barcodes' to identify and track Grevy's zebra populations in Kenya.

Photo: Vicki Croke

According to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, technology may soon make identification even easier: “software is being developed that will allow the stripes of a Grevy’s in a photograph to be read like a barcode and automatically identified.”

Technology is amazing.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

We Don't Have An Office But If We Did..

While this one is my favorite color, it's a touch on the broody side. And it's in St. Petersburg, Russia, which has 123 days of snow cover per year. No thank you.

This one's a little better, though it's somehow office parky.

This one now, this one I like. Sure it's tiny. But it's ADORABLE.

A few ferns out front, some wisteria climbing the wall, I'm so there.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Code 39 Barcodes in SAP Crystal Reports

Azalea has had a long and happy relationship with SAP/Business Objects Crystal Reports - years and years. We love talking to Crystal customers on the phone; they really know their stuff!

The Windows version of most of our software packages are compatible with Crystal, making it a super snap to build barcodes into reports.

Check out how to make Code 39 barcodes in Crystal (it really is SO easy):

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Grandfather of the Modern Barcode, Norman Joseph Woodland, Has Died

From lecturer in mechanical engineering at Drexel University to technical assistant on the Manhattan Project to inventor of the original concept of barcoding (inspired by Morse code), Norman Joseph Woodland led a very interesting life. He passed away on December 9th, 2012, at the age of 91.

DC Velocity has an interesting piece on the man whose ideas helped slingshot the manufacturing, distribution, shipping and retail industries directly into the future.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

QRs For the Socially Inept

Shy customers at Harry's Bar in Singapore have a new way to stalk strike up a convo with someone they have their eye on: QR code tags hung on beer bottles, of course!

Buy the target object of your affection a bottle of brew, hang your customized QR tag over the neck of the bottle and send it their way. Bing bang boom, you're headed to the nearest hotel together. It's SCIENCE.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pair An Orphaned CueCat With Nerd-Toy Arduino & What Do You Get? Barcodes!

Hack a Day has a user-generated how-to for mashing up a CueCat with an Arduino board and making barcode-scanning magic happen.
It's not practical, and it doesn't save time or money but some things are worth doing because they're just weirdly cool.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Barcodes and Beer, Hurray!

Tim Nudd at AdFreak has a great piece about Guinness beer's latest QR code shenanigans: a QR that only appears when your glass is full of the brewed brown goodness.

Fiendishly clever!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

How to Make UPC Barcodes in Excel

Needing a UPC barcode for your product/s really is a measure of success. It means you're working with established retailers or distributors who are fully engaged in the retail channel, upping the chances that your widget will be a winner. You're probably just days away from becoming a thousandaire! Hurray! Congratulations!

Once you've got your raw UPC numbers from GS1 (or from us!), you're ready to turn them into UPC barcodes. When you've got a lot of products, you'll have a lot of UPC numbers. And when you have a lot of UPC numbers the best place to manage them is in an Excel spreadsheet. And when your UPC numbers are in an Excel spreadsheet, UPCTools makes it easy, easy, easy to quickly turn them all into those lines and spaces we all know and love.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Azalea's Code 128 Software in Excel

When you've got a zillion Code 128 barcodes to create, you don't want to have to make them one at a time. That's one zillion opportunities for typos, transposed digits or fat-fingering your keyboard into barcodes that are wrong, wrong, wrong. And if it's wrong, what's the point? Barcodes are here to make our lives easier, like robot servants and indoor plumbing.

The best way to make a buncha' barcodes at once is to make 'em all at once in Excel. Following this week's theme of video tutorials, we've created an overview of how our Code 128 barcode software, C128Tools, functions within an Excel spreadsheet.

Monday, February 06, 2012

How to Copy Excel Macros

If you're anything like me, trying to use the advanced features in an Excel spreadsheet can be like trying to fly the space shuttle when you're used to riding a moped. Macros, user-defined functions, formulas, WHAT DO THEY ALL MEAN?!

A macro - a built-in call, action, or process - in an Excel spreadsheet is actually one of the most useful functions you can access. And there are a zillion macros out there already written for you! Azalea's barcode software can even be used within Excel, if you utilyze our easy macros.

This vid will get you started:

What Kind of Barcode Do I Need?!

Figuring out which barcode type (or 'symbology') to use for your data can be confusing.

Do you need a UPC barcode? A Code 128? An Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF), Code 39, POSTNET or Codabar or PDF417?

If this is all gobbledygook to you, check out our super handy video tutorial for tips and tricks on how to pinpoint which barcode you should use for which project.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Microsoft Finally Willing to Admit the Existence of QR Codes

More than that, actually. While the proprietary Microsoft Tag will continue to exist, our favorite Redmond behemoth has walked back their belief that the closed-system, not-free, Microsoft-created, MS-server-reliant should by rights will rule the 2D world.

Because 2012 Windows phones include NFC capability, their MS Tag now includes support for (free, open-source, non-proprietary) QR codes and the sweet future-tech du jour of NFC (near field communication).

From the horse's mouth.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Experts Agree: Don't Be Dumb About QR Codes

Mashable's got an urgent warning for scanners of QR codes- that code is infected! With a VIRUS!

And Kaspersky Lab would like you to know about the malicious malware being distributed via QRs.

My two cents: QRs themselves cannot be "infected"- they're a static pattern of black on white which contains a URL, plain text, a phonebook contact or other data expressed in letters, numbers and punctuation.

However, if you allow your phone to follow a link within a QR code, it can take you to a site on the internet where nasty viruses, malware, adware, bugs, bots, trojans or worms may lurk, ready to creep onto your phone and ruin your day. So be smart about it! Pay attention to the source of the QR. Don't visit questionable links. Don't approve weird downloads to your phone. Have fun out there.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Free 2012 Calendars With Visual Puns and Easter Eggs From Azalea Software, Inc.

Come to and get your 2012 calendars. This is the 10th year (who's counting?) we've done calendars and this year doesn't have a theme like years past. All Jerry wanted to do was have fun.

So, in honor of 2012 being a leap year this year's calendars have visual puns, not-so-hidden clues, and multiple mixed messages waiting for you to discover.

Don't take my word for it. There are press releases (so it's gotta be true): press release #1   press release #2

Monday, August 08, 2011

Where Did That Amazing Thrift Dress Come From? Scan It & Find Out!

Zachary Sniderman at reports on the Oxfam Curiosity Shop, a temporary shop within a London department store that benefitted Oxfam's charity efforts.

Find the perfect swanky item of clothing, scan the QR on the tag, and view a video of the celebrity donor's personal story about when and where they wore it. While the Curiosity Shop closed in April, hopefully we'll see more collaborations of cool clothes, cool technology, and an excellent cause.

Monday, July 11, 2011

QR Codes and Tattoos: Have I Died & Gone to Heaven?

A tattooed Frenchie named Marco got a marketing QR code inked on his chest. The QR is encoded with a URL, where an animated version of the tattoo sings.

HOW AWESOME IS THAT? I'm planning my next tattoo as we speak.

Friday, June 24, 2011

UPC Art : Form or Function?

An interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal has some really nice examples of gussied-up UPC barcodes. Which is more important- for a barcode to look pretty, or for it to function as it should, scanning accurately time after time? Clearly, done correctly, it can do both.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Gray Lady Hips to QR Codes

You're the Boss, the small business tips column in the New York Times online today has a fun read about Ayara, a Thai restaurant in LA incorporating QRs into their menu.

And they remembered to optimize their QR landing pages for mobile phones- hurray!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

QRdvark In the News

QRdvark, super-coolest free generator of perfect QR codes* and the awesomest QR-reading Android app in the universe** get an appreciative shoutout from Curtis Finch at Inc. Magazine this month.

QRs are finally hitting our shores, folks. QRdvark makes it easy to get your business into the palm of your customers' hands. Literally! If you've never heard of QR or think that apps belong on menus, grab your teenaged neighbor and ask them to bring you up to speed.

*this is 100% true. Also, the makers of QRdvark are very good-looking.

**scientifically proven in 1881 by Lloyd T. Rickenstacks, Certified QR-ologist and Town Barber/Veterinarian.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Free 2011 Calendar Download

SEATTLE-Once again, Azalea Software has release a series of four free calendars. The 2011 calendars are in PDF format and feature photographs with food visual puns. These free calendars can be downloaded from Azalea Software's website [ ] and printed on any inkjet or laser printer.

For almost 10 years, Azalea Software's founder and owner, Jerry Whiting, has designed calendars from family, friends, and business partners. All except the first year's have featured Whiting's photography. Every year's calendar has a distinct theme. Past calendars have highlighted graffiti, neon, orchids, and humorous signs.

"I've tried to quit making calendars a couple of times and my Mother and her friends insist otherwise. I'm not about to piss of my Mom and her friends." says Whiting. "Last year we stopped printing physical calendars due to rising costs. Instead we gave the calendars away online. Not only did we save money, we were able to share them with countless people around the world. The response was overwhelming!"

The 2011 calendars are one page, feature all the major holidays as well as the Azalea staff's birthdays, and offer humorous images throughout the year.

The calendars' names hint at their punchlines: key lime pi, nuts & bolts, diversity fish, and hot duck.

Download one or download them all. Link to them on your Facebook page. Give them away to strangers. Make your own if you think ours stink.

Azalea Software [Seattle WA], founded in 1992, sells barcode fonts and barcode software. They maintain The Barcode FAQ and have been known to mouth off in their blog,

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lasers, Waffles and QR Codes

These are a few of my favorite things.

New York superdorks NYC Resistor organized an edible QR code competition and waffle batter got the laser treatment. Other foodstuffs included crackers, Chiclets and jello.

Amazing video here.

story via

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Business FINALLY Discovering the Beauty of QR

Art galleries in Augusta, Georgia get into the QR act with window decals.

Italian cheeses- always delicious, and now smart phone-traceable!

Wine snobbery goes to a whole 'nother level with QRs on labels.

Seattle's Herbfarm restaurant QRs their menus.

Middle Tennessee Medical Center's new print ad is QR-tastic.

A New Jersey sign maker brilliantly hops on the QR wagon.

Beckley, West Virginia tourism gets a QR boost.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nintendo's Japanese 3DS Will Include QR Codes

Mii Studio characters can be converted into a QR code that users can print or post on a website to share their Mii's. Friends then scan the QR with their 3DS camera to retrieve the Mii.

via IGN
image via Duck Fluff

Monday, September 27, 2010

Online Retailer Gets QR Codes Really Right

Fashion retailer Bluefly and Bravo have teamed up to create a commercial QR experience that's both useful and savvy.

45-second commercials running on the cable network feature QR codes along the bottom of the screen that when scanned with a cellphone bring up online extras, full-length video and special Bluefly discounts.

This is how QR should be done!

via the New York Times

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Japanese Town Utilizes 2D Barcodes in Worst Way Ever

Sad, awful fourth-sign-of-the-apocalyse dating simulation game LovePlus+ and the resort town of Atami, Japan have joined forces to create the ne plus ultra creeptastic "romantic holiday" for terrible male humans.

2D barcodes are scattered at locations throughout the town where the men can have CGI-type pictures taken with their "virtual girlfriend".

At a dozen romantic locations in and around the town are three-dimensional barcodes which can be read by an iPhone. The barcode allows the love-struck visitors to have a computer generated photograph taken with their beloved through augmented reality technology. In the hotel, some beds have barcodes, so that photographing it reveals the virtual girlfriend lying there seductively.

The end is nigh, friends.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Print UPC & ISBN-13 Barcodes in Excel Spreadsheets (video)

A short video about printing UPC & ISBN-13 barcodes in your Excel spreadsheets using UPCTools. Use our free sample spreadsheets with macros that convert your data into a scannable UPC or ISBN-13 barcode.

Creating Code 128 Barcodes in Excel Video

A short video about printing Code 128 barcodes in your Excel spreadsheets using C128Tools. Use our free sample spreadsheets with macros that convert your data into a scannable Code 128 barcode.

Hurricane Exhibit Utilizes QR Codes

The Louisiana State Museum's new exhibit Living With Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond incorporates QR barcodes to link visitors to in-depth information via their smartphones.

Audrey, Betsy, Camille, Rita, KATRINA - names that evoke memories of fear, loss, destruction. Unheeded warnings that Louisiana is washing away. A city under water. The desperation of people on rooftops unable to escape rapidly rising flood waters. Ordinary heroes. Failed levees. Failed leadership. A city struggling to survive. The kindness of strangers. Resilience. Recovery. Hope.

These are the stories of Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond, a 6,700 square-foot interactive multimedia exhibition scheduled to open on the ground floor of the Presbytere in the fall of 2010. Living with Hurricanes will be the world's definitive hurricane exhibition. Combining authentic contemporary accounts, historical contexts, immersive environments, and in-depth scientific exploration, Living with Hurricanes will enable visitors to understand Katrina's impact on Louisiana, the Gulf Coast, and the nation.

via National Geographic Blog