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Generating the Intelligent Mail ® Barcode Getting Started STEP 1: Talk with mail service providers & vendors STEP 2: Apply for Mailer ID (MID) STEP 3: Download software to translate your intelligent data into the Intelligent Mail barcode STEP 4: Populate barcode fields

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getting started
Getting Started

STEP 1: Talk with mail service providers & vendors

STEP 2: Apply for Mailer ID (MID)

STEP 3: Download software to translate your intelligent data into the Intelligent Mail barcode

STEP 4: Populate barcode fields

STEP 5: Generate correct barcodes

step 1 of 5
Step 1 of 5

Talk with mail service providers and vendors

Determine whether you would like to implement Intelligent Mail yourself or through a provider/vendor.


Step 2 of 5

  • Apply for Mailer ID
    • Contact your local Mailpiece Design Analyst (MDA):
      • Online tool
        • Click “Mailpiece Design”
        • Click “Lookup Tool” under heading “Mailpiece Design Analyst”
      • Survey will be completed and 6 or 9-digit MID assigned based on mail volume

Step 3 of 5

  • Download Intelligent Mail software

Intelligent Mail Data


Encoder software Converts intelligent data into printing instructions

Font software

Converts printing instructions into barcode


download software

To download fonts/encoders, request a user ID and password at

Download Software

Or contact the National Customer Support Center at(877) 640-0724

free encoders
Free Encoders

Three new encoders coming online this year:

Mac OS, HP/UX, and Solaris


Free Fonts

New shorter-height fonts (close to the minimum 0.125”) being developed and tested.


Step 4 of 5

Populate the IM™ Barcode Fields

  • Barcode ID defines the presort makeup in conjunction with an Optional Endorsement Line (OEL).
  • Service Type ID defines the mail class and any services requested (e.g., OneCode Confirm, OneCode ACS).
    • Do not use “000”
  • Mailer IDis a 6-digit or 9-digit number that uniquely identifies the mail owner or mailing agent.
  • Serial Number uniquely (not always!) identifies the mailpiece or mailing.
  • Routing Code is used to encode the destination ZIP Code of the mailpiece.
    • Never pad ZIP Code with zeroes, spaces or any other digits that are not part of the ZIP Code; same as POSTNET
    • IM Barcode does not require CHECK DIGIT

Step 5 of 5

Put Everything Together and Generate the Barcodes

  • Apply IM barcode to pieces:
    • Put all the data fields together to form the digit string
    • Pass the digit string to the encoder
    • Apply the font to the encoded 65 bar string
    • Note: the IM barcode is ALWAYS 65 bars
  • Create Intelligent Mail Tray Labels
  • Create Intelligent Mail Container Placards

Step 5 of 5

To create Intelligent Mail Tray labels:

  • Current specification uses largest label stock sizes and holders
  • Obtain and follow the specifications available on the Rapid Information Bulletin Board System: to create and print labels
  • Proposed Changes - add text area to the right of the 24 digit barcode and accommodate smaller label stock heights; test in March 2008
  • Plan - Update specifications and DMM changes to allow use of the 10/24 digit Tray Label
step 5 of 5
Step 5 of 5

To create Intelligent Mail Container Barcodes:

  • Go to the Rapid Information Bulletin Board System: for the Intelligent Mail Container Barcode specifications
  • Plan - DMM update to allow the use of new layout and instructions for the (pallet/placard) labels

IM BarcodeSpecification Tolerances

  • Same as POSTNET, except:
    • 2.667 – 3.225 inches in length (3 bars longer)
    • 0.125 – 0.165 inch in height (vs. 0.115 – 0.135)
    • 0.028 vertical barcode clearance (vs. 0.040)

Clearance between barcode and text lines same as clearance between text lines!


Tilt and Skew Tolerances

Same as POSTNET, except that instead of baseline, you need to look for the centerline!

Bar Rotation

Barcode Skew


Void Specification

Maximum dot matrix spacing increased from 0.005 to 0.010 inch.


Increase in the allowed space between dots (voids).


Placement Configurations

  • Placement on letters
    • Address block OR
    • Barcode clear zone
  • Placement on flats
    • On address side AND
    • At least 1/8 inch from any edge of the piece
  • To avoid ambiguity, only one IM barcode can be placed in the same area.
  • Placement configurations of the IM barcode on a letter-size and flat-size mail are defined in the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM™), sections 202 and 302.

Validating IM Barcodes

  • Manual Tools
    • Visual Inspection
    • Plastic Templates
    • Optical Comparator
  • Software Tools
    • Online Encoder/Decoder
    • Scanners and Verifiers

Plastic Template

Automation Barcode Gauge Template (Item #04A)

Great tool available from local BSN or MDA


Using Optical Comparator

Optical Comparator 6X (Eye Gage)

by Gageline Technology

Complements Item 04A with ability to measure exact heights/widths and to assess barcode jitter (~centerline shift).


Scanners and Verifiers

  • Scanners and Verifiers
    • The Culver Group – HHP4600 scanner
    • Videk – Model 2030 scanner, IMB Verifier
    • BÖWE BELL + HOWELL – Mail Verifier Plus (MVP)
    • Motorola / Symbol
      • Scanners – DS3408, DS3478 and DS6707
      • Mobile computers – MC50, MC70, MC3000, MC9000

Key Takeaways

  • Converting to the IM barcode
    • Your Vendors and USPS MDA are valuable resources
    • Obtaining a Mailer ID is free
    • Encoders and fonts available for free; however, integrating an encoder into existing software may require IT involvement
    • Applying the IM barcode on mailpieces is the same as POSTNET

Your Resources

  • Rapid Information Bulletin Board
    • Intelligent Mail Barcode for letters and flats
      • Encoder Software, Fonts and Online Tools
      • Intelligent Mail Barcode Specifications
      • Technical Resource Guide
      • Mailer ID Guidelines
      • OneCode Confirm and OneCode ACS Technical Guides
    • Intelligent Mail Tray Label Specifications
    • Intelligent Mail Container Barcode Specifications
  • Domestic Mail Manual
  • USPS Publications
  • Mailpiece Design Analyst