Barcode Scanners

Okay, we believe that scanners will make our data entry easier! Now, how do we get started?

Getting started with a commercial hand held scanner is not difficult. They can be easily found and purchased on the Internet. Prices run about $100 - $300. While there are standalone versions that communicate with a server, you'll find that you will be buying a handheld barcode scanner that is compatible with your windows or apple computer. You can get one with a USB connector or a wireless one, but the latter will cost more. Set up is simple. Just plug it in. You don't need a special software driver for it as it appears as a keyboard to the computer.

The tricky part of the project is this: to actually get input into your computer, you need some text that has been barcoded. In the Managing Field Data page, we explain how to set up a field data entry system. For a review of such a system, watch the video on this page.

To create the walk lists, you'll need to get a barcode font. If you don't receive one with your barcode scanner, you can find some free ones on the web by searching "free barcode font". You download it and install it with the other fonts on your machine. You will use the font like any other font, that is, you change the font of the text to the barcode font and its appearance will be changed. For maximum readability, it should be printed at a minimum of 200 dpi. A laser printer works best, but you can also use an inkjet printer, just make sure that the ink doesn't bleed.

There is a lot information and manufacturers of handheld barcode scanners available on the web. Here are some links to get you started.

Some Manufacturers of handheld barcode scanners:

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Risa, IT associate with ALLERT, explains how to scan in voter contact information with a barcode scanner

Risa Brown explains how ALLERT uses a barcode scanner to quickly input voter outreach data.