DesignMerge USPS Intelligent Mail bar code support

This article provides information about the USPS Intelligent Mail Bar Code support provided by DesignMerge Software, including detailed information about data requirements, as well as step-by-step instructions for creating the mailing bar code in your variable data jobs. Additional information is also provided about where to obtain the Intelligent Mail Bar Code font.


DesignMerge® Pro is a powerful suite of variable-data printing and data publishing software for Adobe InDesign, that includes the ability to automatically produce variable USPS Intelligent Mail Bar Codes.

In addition, DesignMerge can also be extended to produce variable 2D Bar Codes (QR Codes, PDF417, and Data Matrix) and other types of Linear Bar Codes (Code 128, UPC, Code 39, etc.). DesignMerge is great for creating personalized publications such as invitations, business cards, certificates, custom catalogs, etc.

Other major features of DesignMerge include automatic copy-fitting, advanced conditional programming (Rules), and multi-up imposition support. DesignMerge supports all of the major variable data output formats, including PostScript, PPML, PDF/VT, and Creo VPS and is compatible with printers from every major vendor.

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Before you create an Intelligent Mail bar code with DesignMerge, you need to download and install the correct font. For information about acquiring the Intelligent Mail barcode font, please see the Where do I find the USPS Intelligent Mail Bar Code font? Knowledgebase Article.


When processing a data file for a mailing, the most common case is that the database already contains a data field for USPS Intelligent Mail Bar Code data. Typically this data has been converted by a CASS Certification or other pre-sorting process. However, in some cases the data may contain non-converted data (the data that you wish the barcode to represent). The latter case is not very common, however, the good news is that DesignMerge software supports both scenarios!

Converted Data

If your data has already been converted to the Intelligent Mail barcode format, it will consist of only alphabetical characters, like the example below:


If you have previously CASS Certified or otherwise pre-processed your mailing list, then it is very likely that a data field containing the encoded Intelligent Mail Barcode data (all capital letters, as described above) has already been created for you. In this case, the solution is very straightforward. Just assign in your document a DesignMerge Variable Link that points to the USPS IM data field in your database. This will create a standard text link that will import the converted data into the document. All that is left to do is apply the USPS Intelligent Mail font, and you are ready to go! You can skip the rest of this document.

Non-Converted Data

Data that has not yet been converted to the Intelligent Mail barcode format will consist of only numeric characters, like the example shown below:


This is a far less common example. In this case, the data must be converted before it is merged into the document. DesignMerge provides a special Keyword Link for this process ( _BARCODE_USPS_IM_ ). When you create a Variable Link of this name, and point it to the raw data to be converted, DesignMerge will convert this data on-the-fly while merging. The Intelligent Mail Bar Code Keyword Link is a standard feature of DesignMerge. 

Data Format

According to the USPS specification, the data that should be in the field that you assign to the _BARCODE_USPS_IM_ Keyword Variable Link must contain a minimum of 20 digits, and a maximum of 31 digits. Additionally, the data must be organized as follows: Barcode ID (2 digits), Service Type (3 digits), Mailer ID (6 or 9 digits), Zip+4+DP (0. 5, 9, or 11 digits). This means the numeric data for an Intelligent Mail barcode should contain either 20, 25, 29, or 31 digits.

The data layout described here is for general information. Please visit the USPS resources for more complete details regarding the data requirements for Intelligent Mail bar codes.

Creating a USPS Intelligent Mail Link

The following steps will show you how to create a DesignMerge Variable Link that will be used to convert the raw USPS IM data as read from your data file.

  1. Open the document where you wish to create the bar code.
  2. Run through the initial DesignMerge setup for this document (if you have not already done so).
  3. Open the Variable Links window (DesignMerge > Setup > Variable Links).
  4. On the Variable Links window, click the New button.
  5. On the New Variable Link window, open the Keyword Links popup menu, select _BARCODE_USPS_IM_, and then click OK.
  6. Confirm the new _BARCODE_USPS_IM_ Variable Link is selected in the list on the left side of the Variable Links window.
  7. On the right side of the Variable Links window, select the Field that contains the unconverted bar code data.
  8. Click the OK button to close the Variable Links window.
  9. You may now assign this _BARCODE_USPS_IM_ Link to placeholder text in your document, indicating where you wish to display this barcode.
  10. Finally, assign the appropriate USPS Intelligent Mail barcode font to this linked text.

Again, remember that you also need to use the correct bar code font. For information about acquiring the Intelligent Mail barcode font, please see the Where do I find the USPS Intelligent Mail Bar Code font? Knowledgebase Article. 


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