Companies that do any sort of industrial barcode labeling need to be certain that they have equipment that puts either dots or slash strokes inside of each zero they print. This is especially true for those who have alphanumeric barcodes that could potentially include the letter O as well as the number zero. Whenever these labels get moved over as a result of space or place shifting, they could cause quite a shock to those running the equipment if they don’t have any way of telling the two figures apart.
Barcode scanners feature laser beams that won’t get trapped by this sort of confusion, but human operators still need some way to tell them apart. Copyright information and other data could get easily mixed up otherwise. Slashed zero fonts help those engaged in industrial barcode labeling tackle this issue without sacrificing anything in the way of legibility.
Fixed-pitch typefaces have long been the most effective in this respect, but there are many in the industry who feel that they don’t look very good. Some fixed-pitch typefaces were designed for mechanical equipment, which isn’t used by today’s efficient inkjet label printers. That’s why a number of fonts have come around that instead use proportional figure spacing while still offering others their choice of zero.
Some tech-savvy operators of industrial barcode labeling equipment have even elected to select different Unicode characters as a way to get this feature regardless of what kind of font they’re using. Strong inkjet machines won’t know the difference.