I'll say it upfront: ZBar is a work in progress. I was genuinely surprised when I double clicked on the executable file, and nothing happened. But, unlike regular folk who confuse features with bugs, I checked the help file and found out that ZBar works in command line mode only. The developer says that an interface is the works though.
In any case, If you ever need to scan a barcode but the Internet is down, and you don't have access to one of those handy laser scanners either, ZBar is a viable alternative. Since ZBar is not characterized by a standard window with buttons, I guess I'll have to walk you through the process of scanning a barcode image.
First, you'll need to run Command Prompt. Just search your computer for "cmd, " and you'll find it. Then you'll need to familiarize yourself with the DOS commands. Don't worry. I'll wait.
Now that you know how to navigate the directory structure go to the ZBar\bin folder and run zbarimg.exe with the "-h" attribute (zbarimg.exe -h). This will launch the program and display the list of options. From here, everything you need to now, you can read from the console. To scan a barcode, you must input a full path to the image file. If you also add in the option -d, you'' also be able to see the image in a separate window. It will be shown desaturated and with green OCR marks in the area where ZBar identified and read the barcode. In the console, you'll see the barcode reading itself.
ZBar doesn't need a straight up barcode image. You can feed it a photo that includes a barcode as well. In case you have a webcam or some other video capture device attached to your rig, you can launch zbarcam.exe to capture a picture from the live camera feed.
- Optical recognition
- Cam mode scans in real time
- modular components (whatever that means)
In its current state, ZBar is, for all intents and purposes, not user-friendly. However, if you make sure the paths are short and easy to type, you can quickly make use of it. It can be a drag to use it if you need to scan a large number of barcodes, as there is no support for saving codes into a list. Copying text from Command Prompt is also cumbersome. So I can't recommend this program to a casual user.