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Clinical trials management on the internet — II. Using LaTeX, PostScript, and SAS to produce barcode label sheets

Paul A. Thompson


In clinical trials, it is often necessary to print labels with barcodes to identify samples. The availability of open-source tools for barcode management is still somewhat limited. Until recently, no LaTeX tools existed for the manipulation and encoding of barcodes. Using direct PostScript, barcode can be defined for strings to be printed on labels. Using LaTeX, the labels can be queued up into appropriate sizes for specific label sheets, and tnen converted into .pdf files. Using SAS, the label sheets can be ordered in a web environment, queued up into& appropriate files, and returned to users in a printable file.

Paul A. Thompson, Ph.D., is Research Associate Professor of Biostatistics at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. He participates in many collaborative clinical trials, and uses LaTeX as part of the toolset in the management of these trials. For this purpose, LaTeX is a very useful tool as it can be scripted and produce documents on the fly. He has used LaTeX for more than 25 years, since encountering it at the Ohio State University in 1983. He is the author of the class newlfm, which is a style for the production of letters, faxes, and memos. You can reach Paul at

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