The short answer is "probably not" -- for
normal outgoing mail (i.e., not specially designed "business reply" or
"bulk" mail, or mail that is not specially pre-sorted). But see
There has been a lot of discussion over the
past few years on various Corel news groups, Compuserve forums, and
elsewhere about whether bar codes help speed individually
mailed letters (in contrast to bulk mail -- trays of business reply
mail and courtesy reply mail).
In any case, among other requirements it
seems bar-coded envelopes may need a Facing Identification Mark
(FIM) -- the vertical alignment marks you see on commercial return
envelopes at the top of the envelope near the postage stamp area.
Otherwise Post Office equipment may be "blind" to the user-entered bar
Update (05/19/12) -
From the United States Postal Service at http://pe.usps.com/businessmail101/misc/discountsBarcoded.htm
"Barcoding your mail may entitle
you to a lower postage rate, but ONLY if all the other requirements for
automation postage rates are met. A barcode alone will NOT qualify your
mail for automation rates.
In general, the Postal
Service recommends that, unless you are preparing a mailing for
automation rates, you should NOT put barcodes on the mailpieces. As long as the mailing address is correct, your mail will
still be processed efficiently without a barcode—and you won’t need to
worry about having the wrong barcode on your mail. A bad (incorrect)
barcode is much worse than no barcode at all. A bad barcode can cause
your mailpiece to travel to the wrong destination. ..."
If you still think you need them:
Update (08/24/05) -
Here's a quote from the United States
Postal Service Publication 25, March 2001, pp53-55 (http://pe.usps.gov/cpim/ftp/pubs/Pub25/pub25.pdf):
The facing identification mark (FIM) is a pattern of vertical bars
printed in the
upper right portion of a mailpiece, to the left of the postage area. A
is essentially a nine-bit code consisting of bars and no-bar
presence of a bar can be considered a binary "1" (one); the absence of
a bar, a
binary "0" (zero).
The FIM patterns currently used translate
into these binary codes:
FIM A: 110010011
FIM B: 101101101
FIM C: 110101011
FIM D: 111010111
Determine which FIM to use (see Exhibit 5-3) as follows:
FIM A is used for CRM [Courtesy Reply Mail] and MRM [Metered Reply
Mail] with a preprinted barcode.
FIM B is used for BRM [Business Reply Mail] without a preprinted BRM
FIM C is used for BRM with a preprinted BRM ZIP+4 barcode.
FIM D is used only with information based indicia (IBI) postage.
The FIM uses a code that tells automated processing equipment some of
needs to know to do its job. The FIM allows automatic facing
(orientation) of the
mail for cancellation (postmarking). The FIM also identifies reply mail
a preprinted barcode. Barcoded mail is then routed directly to a
barcode sorter, bypassing slower manual sorting or optical character
Make sure the FIM meets the following standards:
The FIM clear zone must contain no printing other than the FIM pattern.
Exhibit 5-4 shows the configuration of the clear zone and the correct
of the FIM.
The rightmost bar of the FIM must be 2 inches ± 1 /8 inch from the
right edge of
The FIM bars must be 5 /8 inch high ± 1 /8 inch and 1 /32 inch wide
The tops of the FIM bars must be no
lower than 1 /8 inch from the top edge of
each mailpiece. They may extend over the top edge to the flap.
The bottoms of the FIM bars should touch the bottom edge of the FIM
zone but must not be more than 1 /8 inch above or below that edge. [Italics mine. The non-printable area
for most printers -- which, for most lasers, is 1/4 inches -- means a
FIM that is added by your printer probably will be too low!] ...
And so forth and so on. Doesn't look too
useful for the average piece of personal or business mail, does it?
I've tested sending ordinary letters across
town and across country -- with bar codes and without (but not with a
FIM-A mark), and with codes placed above as well as below the mailing
address -- and haven't seen any significant difference. So I don't use
them -- but your experience may be different.
If you want to print a FIM-A mark, you could use the macro in the footnote
at the bottom of this web page.
Update (11/14/03) - Jack Waananen, Corel C_Tech, reports:
The barcode feature is useful if a
mailer delivers the envelopes to the USPS
already "faced" (oriented in one direction) in first-class trays or
bulk-mail bundles -- presorted by zip code.
For individual envelopes tossed into the mix with other mail, the
barcode without the FIM (Facing Identification Mark) is not useful.
Update (04/04/02) - For more information see the US Postal Service site at http://www.usps.com/ (enter
"Publications" in the Search field) or get Publication 25, "Designing
Letter and Reply Mail," a 4MB (PDF) file directly downloadable from the
USPS site at http://pe.usps.gov/cpim/ftp/pubs/Pub25/pub25.pdf.
It contains information on automation, POSTNET bar codes, FIM marks,
Update (1/21/00) - From the Bizfonts
site: "... The FIM (Facing Identification Mark) font is a special font
used by the US Post Office to separate Business Reply Mail from other
mail. The FIM font consists of four unique bar codes;
each bar code represents a unique reply mail classification as defined
in the graphic image above.... "
Here's a snippet from a page from Corel's Knowledge Base relating to
WPWin6 but should apply to all versions of WPWin:
"POSTNET Barcode And WordPerfect Software
Revision Date: 2/29/96 3:03:06 PM
The information in this document applies
WordPerfect® 6.0 for Windows®
...POSTNET barcodes are one of the
requirements for postal discounts....There are a number of factors
beyond the certified software and printers that are required to gain
postal discounts. The Bulk Mail Entry Unit is the department at the
post office where mail is taken that qualifies for any bulk mail
discounts. Again, contact your local postal representative for details.
service will not use the POSTNET barcode to route the postal piece if
it does not have a Facing Identification Mark (FIM). [Italics mine.] A FIM is a set of graphics lines located to
the left of the postage stamp. Common postal pieces that use FIMs are
business reply cards. (FIMs are used on other postal pieces as well.)
If the postal equipment finds a FIM (with stamped mail), the postal
piece is routed through cancellation equipment, then sent to a POSTNET
barcode reader. If no FIM is found, the postal piece is routed to an
Optical Character Reader (OCR) where the address block is read from the
bottom up. Postal equipment sprays a POSTNET bar code in the lower
right corner of the postal piece. (This is why a postal piece may have
two POSTNET bar codes.)
Metered letters do not go through
cancellation equipment. The meter date is considered a cancellation.
All metered letters (unless mail is entered at the Bulk Mail Entry
Unit) is put on the OCR for processing.
The POSTNET barcode can be placed in three
different locations. The preferred location is in the lower right
corner of the envelope. The second best position is above the address
block, and the third option is below the address block. If no FIM is
found on the envelope and a POSTNET barcode is used, it should be
placed above the address block. The OCR reader reads the address from
the bottom up. If the mail piece does go to the OCR and another barcode
needs to be sprayed on the mail piece, it will be placed in the lower
The POSTNET barcode should be 11 digits.
(Check with your Postal Representative for information about how to
identify the last two digits. Basically, they are the last two numbers
of the primary street address, such as 55 for 1555 Technology Way.) The
ZIP Code in the address block should be the ZIP or ZIP+4. The tenth and
eleventh digits should not be included in the address block. These last
two digits must be entered manually since WordPerfect software does not
identify and automatically add the last two numbers of the primary
street address in the barcode field. It is recommended to use one field
for the ZIP+4 and another for the 11 digit POSTNET barcode when using a
WordPerfect Data Merge file or a DataPerfect database.
The address block should:
Print within a certain area (defined as the OCR read area on Notice 67
1. Use a readable font for the optical reader (San Serif fonts, see
Publication 25, Table 2, page 25)
2. Be all uppercase
3. Have no punctuation (A hyphen "-" is not considered punctuation and
therefore can be part of the address block where appropriate.)
4. Use standard abbreviations (see Publication 28, Appendix F, pages
Those who are interested in specific
information should contact their local postal representative.
Publications 25 and 28 are free items....
Here is a snippet from a public message on a
"...Most of the time unbundled mail (i.e.
first class mail not already in trays) goes through the machinery to
add the postnet codes anyway, even if already on the envelope.
Envelopes with FIMs are rerouted but those without are not. The
operator, who has his headphones cranked up and is working by
autopilot, will key in the barcode information automatically, even if
the envelope already has it.
So, my understanding is that it is not worth the effort to barcode
letters if (1) they do not have FIMs and (2) they are not in trays
(minimum 200 pieces)."
And another from a Corel newsgroup:
"... Also note that bar codes are really
only useful on faced mail in first-class trays (i.e. mail placed in the
USPS trays all facing the same direction) that can bypass the encoding
process OR on unfaced (random envelopes) that have facing marks -- the
vertical lines to the left of the stamp that you see, for example, on
your utility company return envelopes.
In other words, bar codes on random
envelopes without facing marks are not useful. Mail one to yourself and
you will see that the USPS has added their own bar code at the