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This topic covers options for using barcode values with your samples. Existing barcode values in your data can be represented in a text or integer field, or you can have LabKey generate unique barcode identifiers for you by using a UniqueID field. LabKey-generated barcodes are read-only and unique across the server.

Once a sample (or other entity) has either type of Barcode Field, you'll be able to search for it using these values.

Add UniqueID Field for LabKey-Managed Barcodes

To support barcodes generated and managed by LabKey, you will need a field of type "UniqueID" in your Sample Type. When you create a new Sample Type, you will be prompted to include this field.

To add a UniqueID field to an existing Sample Type, open it, then click Edit Type. In the Sample Type Properties section, you will see under Barcodes, a blue banner inviting you to create the field necessary. Click Yes, Add Unique ID Field.

By default, it will be named "Barcode". If you wish, you can click the Fields section to open it and edit the field name.

Click Save. Barcodes will be automatically generated for any existing samples of this type, as described in the next section.

Generate UniqueID Barcodes

When you add a UniqueID field to a Sample Type that already contains samples, as you finish updating the sample type, you will be prompted to confirm that adding this field will generate barcodes for existing samples.

Click Finish Updating Sample Type to confirm.

In addition, when any new samples are added to this Sample Type by any method, barcodes will be generated for them. You cannot provide values for a UniqueID field and will not see them in a single row insert panel or in the template for importing a spreadsheet. When entering multiple rows in a grid, you will see a grayed out column indicating that barcodes will be generated and cannot be provided.

UniqueID generated barcodes are 9+ digit text strings with leading zeros ending in an incrementing integer value. Ex: 000000001, 000000002, etc. When more than a billion samples are defined, the barcode will continue to increment to 10 digits without leading zeros.

Once generated by the system, barcodes in a UniqueID field cannot be edited and if data is imported into one of these fields, it will be ignored and an automatic barcode will be generated. If you need to provide your own barcode values or have the ability to edit them, do not use a UniqueID field.

Use Existing Barcode Values

If you are using either the Biologics or Sample Manager application, have barcodes in your sample data already, and do not want them generated or managed by LabKey, you can include a field for them in your Sample Type. Choose field type "Text" or "Integer", and check the Barcode Field box for "Search this field when scanning samples". Note that this option is only shown when creating or editing Sample Types through the Biologics or Sample Manager interface.

This field may be named "Barcode" if you like, but will not be managed by LabKey.

Users can locate samples by the values in this column, but must manage uniqueness and generate new barcode values for new samples outside of the application and provide them when creating (or editing) sample data.

Search by Barcode

Once your samples have a populated barcode column of either type, you can search for the value(s) to locate the sample(s). You can use the omnibox to search or filter a grid of samples, or use the global search bar in the header throughout LabKey Server.

To more easily find samples by barcode value in the LabKey Biologics and Sample Manager applications, you can use the Find Samples by Barcode option.

Enter values by typing or using a scanner, then click Find Samples to search for them.

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