zbarimg (1) - Linux Manuals

zbarimg: scan and decode bar codes from image file(s)


zbarimg - scan and decode bar codes from image file(s)


zbarimg [-qv] [--quiet] [--verbose[=n]]
{-dD | --display | --nodisplay | --xml | --noxml | -S[symbology.]config[=value] | --set [symbology.]config[=value] | image...}
zbarimg {-h | --help | --version}


For each specified image file zbarimg scans the image for bar codes and prints any decoded data to stdout. Images may optionally be displayed to the screen.

The underlying library currently supports EAN-13 (including UPC and ISBN subsets), EAN-8, DataBar, DataBar Expanded, Code 128, Code 93, Code 39, Codabar, Interleaved 2 of 5 and QR Code symbologies. The specific type of each detected symbol is printed with the decoded data.

Note that "image" in this context refers to any format supported by ImageMagick, including many vector formats such as PDF and PostScript. Keep in mind that vector formats are rasterized before scanning; manually rasterize vector images before scanning to avoid unintentionally corrupting embedded barcode bitmaps.


This program follows the usual GNU command line syntax. Single letter options may be bundled, long options start with two dashes (`-').

-h, --help

Print a short help message describing command line options to standard output and exit


Print program version information to standard output and exit

-v, --verbose[=n]

Increase debug output level. Multiple -v options create more spew. Alternatively specify n to set the debug level directly

-S[symbology.]config[=value], --set [symbology.]config[=value]

Set decoder configuration option config for symbology to value. value defaults to 1 if omitted. symbology is one of ean13, ean8, upca, upce, isbn13, isbn10, i25, codabar, code39, code93, code128, qrcode or the special value *. If symbology is omitted or *, the config will be set for all applicable symbologies. These are the currently recognized configs. Prefix a config with "no-" to negate it. Not all configs are appropriate for every symbology.


Control decoding/reporting of a symbology. For symbologies which are just subsets of ean13 (upca, upce, isbn13, isbn10), this config controls whether the subsets are detected and reported as such. These special cases are disabled by default, all other symbologies default to enabled


Antonym for enable


Control whether check digits are included in the decoded output. Enabled by default. This config does not apply for code128, which never returns the check digit. It also not apply for cases where the check digit is disabled (see add-check). Check digits are currently not implemented for i25 or code39


Enable decode and verification of a check digit for symbologies where it is optional: this will include code39 and i25, neither of which implements the check digit yet


Enable escape sequences that encode the full ASCII character set. This would apply to code39, except that it's not implemented either...


Enable collection of symbol position information. Enabled by default. Currently, the position information is unusable, so you can save a few cycles by disabling this.

min-length=n, max-length=n

Bound the number of decoded characters in a valid symbol. If a decode result is outside the configured min/max range (inclusive), it will not be reported. Set to 0 to disable the corresponding check. This setting applies to variable-length symbologies: i25, codabar, code39, code128 and pdf417. min-length defaults to 6 for i25 and 1 for code39 (per Code 39 autodiscrimination recommendation); all others default to 0

x-density=n, y-density=n

Adjust the density of the scanner passes. Lower values scan more of the image at the cost of decreased performance. Setting to 0 disables scanning along that axis. Defaults are both 1.

-q, --quiet

Quiet operation; only output decoded symbol data. specifically this disables the statistics line printed (to stderr) before exiting, as well as the warning message printed (also to stderr) when no barcodes are found in an image

-d, --display, -D, --nodisplay

Enable/disable display of subsequent image files, until next --display or --nodisplay is encountered. This option may appear multiple times to enable display of specific images. Image display is disabled by default

--xml, --noxml

Enable/disable result output using an XML format. This format wraps the raw data from the symbol with information about the scan (such as page indices) in an easy to parse format. The latest schema is available from m[blue]http://zbar.sourceforge.net/2008/barcode.xsdm[].


Enable raw symbol data output. This format prints symbol data separated by newlines without the additional symbology type information that is printed by default


Scan a PNG image of a UPC bar code symbol and pass resulting data to a script that searches for the code in a database and does something useful with it:

zbarimg product.png | upcrpc.py

The upcrpc.py example script included in the examples/ subdirectory of the distribution will make an XMLRPC call to a popular internet UPC database and print the product description if found.

Scan a JPEG image containing several barcodes and display the image in a window, also disabling recognition of Interleaved 2 of 5 codes to prevent confusion with other symbologies or background noise:

zbarimg --display -Si25.disable label.jpg

Look in a scanned document only for Code 39, using XML output format so the page numbers are available. To enable only Code 39, first all symbologies are disabled, then Code 39 is re-enabled:

zbarimg --xml -Sdisable -Scode39.enable scan.tiff


zbarimg returns an exit code to indicate the status of the program execution. Current exit codes are:


Barcodes successfully detected in all images. Warnings may have been generated, but no errors.


An error occurred while processing some image(s). This includes bad arguments, I/O errors and image handling errors from ImageMagick.


ImageMagick fatal error.


The user quit the program before all images were scanned. Only applies when running in interactive mode (with --display)


No barcode was detected in one or more of the images. No other errors occurred.


See m[blue]http://sf.net/tracker/?group_id=189236&atid=928515m[]


Jeff Brown <spadix [at] users.sourceforge.net>

Lead developer


Copyright © 2007-2010 Jeff Brown

All Rights Reserved