Do you know how to make the vertical bars in this image more visible? Especially on the right side. I'd like to have the vertical bars more sharp and outstanding from the background)? I tried using the sharpening tool in photoshop, but that wasn't sufficient.

In the last resort, I am thinking to draw new vertical elements over the image. But that would be tedious and something I'd like to avoid.enter image description here

EDIT: This is the best result so far. Please note that the code does not match. enter image description here

  • 4
    Barcodes need to be scannable... so.... really redrawing them to be precise is best if you can't simply use an online barcode generator. And redrawing may result in a faulty code as well, even if you are careful to match each line width and each space -- they all actually mean something to the scanner.
    – Scott
    Jul 16, 2019 at 23:47
  • 2
    Hi Nadia, if you need it to be scannable I would definitely get the sku information (numbers) and use a generator. Otherwise, have you tried using levels in photoshop?
    – curious
    Jul 17, 2019 at 0:58
  • The contrast between the bars and the background must be black on white—even light-coloured backgrounds are discouraged. As for the bars/spaces they are both either one or two units wide and alternate, black, white, etc.
    – Stan
    Jul 17, 2019 at 0:59
  • Thanks for the replies. The issue is that I want to obtain the sku information from the image. I just tried levels in photoshop and that helped a lot. However, on the righ part t - where the two thick bars are - tend to glue with eachoter. I believe that makes it more difficult to read the image. Jul 17, 2019 at 8:00
  • Can I ask you to confirm that you are trying to recover the image for aesthetic purposes and not to make it (or similar ones) scannable? Your question leaves this open and many people assume you do want to correctly recover this 1 scan.
    – TafT
    Jul 18, 2019 at 6:40

4 Answers 4


This is a contrast issue more than a sharpness issue. Try

  • Cmd+Shift+Alt+L for Auto Contrast or Image → Auto Contrast.

  • or Image → Adjustments → Black & White to get specific control.

  • Thanks for the reply. The Auto Contrast definitely helped. It's true that it primairily is a contrast issue. However, I do believe that the right part of the image is somewhat blurry, and makes it impossible to retrieve the barcode for now. Jul 17, 2019 at 7:58

OK, I must be nuts but I redrew it. Now I get:


That is so similar to my other answer I have to think that the first answer (G10024577829) is probably right, and I simply didn't redraw it accurately enough)

enter image description here

  • Just an idea , but the original can be salvaged quite well with a vertical min filter.
    – joojaa
    Jul 17, 2019 at 11:37
  • Thanks mayersdesign. Due to your help, I made it work ! Jul 17, 2019 at 11:45
  • Your original answer was correct. If you looked at the Code 39 standard, you'd see that the original image, as well as this one, are both backwards. However, if you go and manually work out the code, you'll get the code starting with G, not 7 Jul 17, 2019 at 15:32

Using the work by mayersdesign, this was easy. This is Code 39. The image is backwards/upside-down. Once you turn the image 180 degrees, you can see the proper Code 39 headers. (The beginning is different from the end.) enter image description here

Code 39 barcode image


I cleaned it up to a degree using Perspective transform, Curves, Dust & Scratches (filter) and Unsharp mask. This useful website: https://online-barcode-reader.inliteresearch.com/ then read the code as:


No idea if that's right, but I tried another cleanup of the same image and it read the same, so I am quite confident.

enter image description here

The little graphic appears to indicate the whole image is being used...

enter image description here

  • Thanks for the effort, mayersdesign. I got the same number after some attempts on photoshop. However, this number doesn't read the right darker part of the image (the two thick bars) Jul 17, 2019 at 8:51
  • I just updated the image above. I manually separated those two black bars and it reads the same. I will add the screenshot which appears to show it is reading the whole code. I can't prove it IS of course. Jul 17, 2019 at 8:53
  • You can ofcourse generate the barcode (I just did it). Then, you easily notice they are unfortunately not the same. Jul 17, 2019 at 8:56
  • Hi Nadia, I tried that but I do not know the format of the barcode. What is it? Jul 17, 2019 at 8:57
  • 1
    I believe it is code39 Jul 17, 2019 at 9:00

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