Image of PDF417 barcode PDF417 Encoder Barcode Plug-in for FileMaker Pro
(OS X and Windows)

Download plug-in demo

Purchasing Info


More info on PDF417

Scanner Sources
   Symbol Technologies

   Dietze Enterprises
   Specializing in
   conference lead

   System ID Warehouse

   Bartizan Data Systems
   Manufacturers of
   wired and wireless
   data management
   914/965-7746 (fax)





PDF Encoder 18.0.0 is now available. This update provides compatibility with FileMaker Pro 14-18, both 32 and 64 bit versions. There is no upgrade charge from version 17, but please see "A Note From the Developer" below.

  • Provides complete control over barcode dimensions and error correction, or let these parameters be chosen automatically
  • Barcode image can be generated at any size or orientation, flipped or inverted.
  • Micro-PDF barcodes may be produced when space is limited
  • Macro-PDF allows large amounts of data to span several barcodes
  • Automatic transcoding of FileMaker character set eliminates problems with international characters
  • Automatic conversion to Windows line endings eliminates hassles with Windows-centric barcode readers
  • Barcodes are generated as actual images (cross-platform TIFFs), and returned by a calculation directly into a container. No special fonts are needed!
  • Runs natively on Mac OS X and Windows, with FMP 8 through 18.
  • Ancient versions for FileMaker 4.2-13 are still available


PDF417 Encoder, a FileMaker plug-in, provides the ability to print PDF417 bar codes from any FileMaker database. Unlike other bar code plug-ins, PDF417 Encoder does NOT require the installation of any special fonts. Barcodes are generated as images native to the platform. PDF417 Encoder provides full control over the size, shape, orientation, and error correction of the bar codes. Multi-bar codes and micro-PDF can be generated. Automatic transcoding of FileMaker's character set eliminates problems scanning special characters.

The latest PDF417 Encoder is optimized for Windows 10/OS 10.13/FileMaker 18, 32 and 64 bit versions. It will work back to Win 98/OS 10.6/FileMaker 8. Earlier versions are still available for all releases of FileMaker back to v.4.2. The current version is backward compatible with FileMaker scripts written for previous versions.

About PDF417
PDF417 stands for "Portable Data File 4-17", a public-domain two-dimensional bar code symbology developed by Symbol Technologies. A single PDF417 barcode can carry 1100-2000 characters of machine-readable data in a space no larger than a standard bar code. Unlike traditional one-dimensional bar codes which depend on real-time links to records in a separate database, the PDF417 symbol contains the record itself.

PDF417 answers the need to print, transfer, and re-capture large amounts of data inexpensively. It can exchange complete data files (such as text, numerics or binary) and encode graphics, fingerprints, shipping manifests, electronic data interchange (EDI) messages, equipment calibration instructions, medical information, and much more. It is used to document and label assets, inventory, parts (engineering history), hazardous materials (safety data). It provides a powerful communications capability - without the need to access an external database. And, for virtually no incremental cost, you can add a PDF symbol to the documents and labels you are already printing.

Think of PDF as an independent database with complete freedom of movement, traveling together with a person or on an item, object, package, form, document, badge, card, or label. It does what wired networks can't: allows you to immediately access your data regardless of location. Encryption is available as an option when additional security is required.

Moreover, because PDF417 is a machine-readable method of transporting data, it eliminates time-consuming and error-prone manual data entry. It functions as a paper-based computer memory that can be written once and read over and over again. And, as a universal machine language, it communicates with all host operating systems. PDF417 encodes full ASCII, numeric or binary data and it uses sophisticated error correction algorithms to keep intact 100 percent of the data - even when as much as half the symbol is damaged. It's self-verifying, so data errors can be detected and data integrity maintained.

PDF417 is the de facto standard 2-D symbology. In addition to its performance capabilities and application value in a wide range of industries, PDF417 technology is in the public domain and it conforms to industry and international "open" standards. For all of these reasons, PDF417 is emerging as the standard 2-D symbology by leading standards-setting organizations.

Equally important, any business, government agency or service organization must be assured of a low-risk, long-term return on its technology investment. Symbol's PDF417 scanning equipment can also read all conventional one-dimensional bar codes, assuring compatibility with your installed bar code systems.

Not only is PDF417 technology hard at work in a wide range of important applications, it has also been proven in independent testing. In reliability testing by the Ohio University Center for Automatic Identification, 32 million PDF417 characters were read without an error. Tests at the University of Pittsburgh proved PDF417 compatibility in high-speed overhead scanning and its readability even when symbols were damaged.

Unlike some new technologies, PDF417 doesn't require users to learn different procedures, abandon existing hardware or software, or commit to costly reinvestment in facilities or systems. A PDF417 solution can often be added with little change to current applications and it can make use of existing printers and other equipment.

It's compatible with all the same printers used to print 1-D bar codes, including laser, thermal direct, thermal transfer, ink jet and others - and all are widely available today. You can print on a wide variety of materials-paper, cards, labels, plastics, metals and others. You can even fax PDF417 symbols.

Because PDF417 can be printed in various shapes, users can create custom layouts for the requirements of specific applications. Symbols may also be printed at various densities depending on printing technology, scanner type, and application requirement.


You can download a working demo here, with complete documentation.

Please tell us who you are so we can see who is downloading the plug-in. This information will be seen only by the plug-in author. If you choose to leave your email we will use it only to notify you of major upgrades, about one time a year. All fields are optional, but you do need to confirm that you are not a web robot by checking the box below.






PDF417 Encoder Single User, Mac or Windows $99 USD
PDF417 Encoder Universal Unlimited Single Site License $199 USD
Upgrade from v. 16 and earlier (June-2018) $35 USD
Upgrade for v. 17 Free; use your v. 17 code.
Developer distribution license/Developer link libraries contact us for pricing

To use PDF417 Encoder with FileMaker 4, 5, 6, and 7, please contact us to get a previous version.

US customers please purchase at our store in Square Market (linked below). Select the PDF417 Encoder license according to single vs. site and Mac vs. Windows.
Clear Solutions Software Store

Non-US buyers, please send payment by PayPal to clearsolutions at oo7 dot net. Include a note stating the name to use for registration (company or individual name), and whether Mac, Windows, or site license.

(Updated July 5, 2019.)


A Note from the Developer

Dear valued customer,

There is no charge for this update to FMP 18, but I will need to charge a fee for the next one. The issue is that my cost of development has become greater than the combined income generated by sales and upgrades to QRCode and PDF417 Encoder. The cause is incompatibilities due to technically unnecessary changes to development systems, OS APIs, and FileMaker requirements.

Mac OS is particularly problematic. This year I had to upgrade Mac OS merely in order to install FileMaker and Xcode. The recent OS installer refused to install because I had a non-Apple SSD, one that has worked perfectly for years with previous Mac OS versions. I did finally manage to install Mac OS after a full day of research and experimentation, by physically swapping drives into an external enclosure. Since Mac OS does function in the end with my laptop and Samsung SSD, this can only be seen as a strategy by Apple to force customers to buy their proprietary hardware.

Within a few years, I anticipate that FileMaker will (arbitrarily) require a version of Mac OS that (arbitrarily) cannot be installed on my hardware by any workaround. This is an inevitable result of a single corporation exercising control over FileMaker, the OS, the proprietary hardware, and for many other developers, the software distribution system; then using that control to drive profits. When that day comes, I will likely rent time on a remote Mac for development and add the higher development costs to the Mac upgrade fee. To avoid these potential extra costs, you could consider switching to Windows or Linux.

I am grateful for your continued use and support of PDF417 Encoder, and will strive to keep it working well.

Best Regards,
Doug McLean
Clear Solutions Software