Bars & Stripes barcode label software is a unique application. It installs directly into Microsoft Word and operates within that application's Add-ins tab. Even the help guide opens in Word. This can be useful and convenient, particularly if you create a lot of barcodes, because you won't have to open a separate application. However, this also limits the features and benefits available from this application.

This barcode creator supports only a handful of barcode symbologies, or types of barcodes. This application is much more limited in the types of barcodes it creates than many similar barcode label applications. Although, some of the barcode symbologies you can create include EAN 8 and EAN13, Postal, UPC A and UPC E.

With this application you have some customization features to help you create the exact barcode you need. You can add text to your barcode labels and change barcode orientation and width, as well as the background color. You cannot change the color of the barcodes, however. This barcode creator also lacks a grid to help you place barcodes and elements.

Once the software is installed into Word, you can click on the small Bars & Stripes icon in the Add-ins tab and a control box will appear. It lets you change the barcode parameter settings, create sequentially numbered barcodes and use the current parameter settings. You can create barcodes by using data from an existing Word table, create a new Word document into which you can enter data, create labels and envelopes using more data and search for strings and replace them with barcodes.

To generate a barcode, you must highlight a string of characters in the Word document. You have to be sure that they are valid for the symbology you've selected. To utilize this application, you must know the correct characters to create barcodes. For example, Code 39, often used in the U.S. Department of Defense, lets you encode messages using capitalized alpha characters, numbers zero through nine and seven special characters. You have to be familiar with codes and know what you're doing to produce barcodes in Bars & Stripes.

Overall, if you enjoy working in Microsoft Word and are familiar with label application add-ons, Bars & Stripes is good barcode label software for you. However, it is basic software, and if you know little about barcodes, you will want to look for a more user-friendly application for beginners.