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Tech Notes

Create the IMpb and Shipping Services File (SSF) for Parcel Mailings

Effective January 26, 2014, all commercial packages must include:

  • A unique Intelligent Mail® Package Barcode (IMpb®)*

  • Submission of electronic Shipping Services File v. 1.6 or higher** for each mailing.

The instructions below will guide you through successfully printing or exporting the Intelligent Mail Package Barcode, creating the Shipping Services File that needs to be electronically submitted to the USPS, and information on how to submit the Shipping Services File.

To successfully print the Intelligent Mail Package Barcode, you need to enter your Mailer ID into the IMpb section of the Intelligent Mail Setup window, and select a service type. In order to become IMpb Certified, you have to pass IMpb testing. The instructions below include helpful information allowing you to pass this test.

Section 1: Choose your IMpb Service Type in the Intelligent Mail Setup window

Launch AccuZIP6.

With or without a database open, pull down Additions to AccuTrace > Intelligent Mail Setup.

Scroll down to the IMpb section.

Make sure your Mailer ID is displayed in this section.

Double click on Service type. For the purpose of passing USPS testing, choose a service type of 748=Parcel Select Lightweight

Click OK, then click Yes to save the changes.
When you presort for marketing parcels or First Class parcels, you can change the service type. But in order to initially pass IMpb testing, the service type needs to be 748. 

Section 2: Presort your database

If you have validated your list already, then pull down the Sort menu to Presort Mail.

Make sure your presort settings are correct, then click Presort.
NOTE: for the purpose of testing the IMpb for IMpb certification, click on the piece size calculator and enter the following test dimensions: 9x9x3 and 8 ounces.

In Print Presort, click on Print Reports.

Check the Mailing Statement box. Uncheck the box beneath it. Click Continue.

In Mailing Statement Setup, create a new setting and name it IMpb Certification. 

Copy the Mailer ID and CRID information that is in the middle (mailing agent) column and paste that information into the first column (permit holder) and third column (Organization for which mailing is prepared)

Save the setting, then click Continue. 

In Print Presort, click on Print Labels.

  • If you're printing your addresses and barcodes directly out of AccuZIP6 and for the purpose of certifying the IMpb, read Section 5.
  • If you're exporting your presorted data out of AccuZIP6, skip to Section 6.

Section 5: Select your Label Template

From the Template pull-down menu in Print Settings, select the 5164 IMpb Certified.lbx template.

Check the Print Barcode box.

Check the Intelligent Mail box.

Skip to Section 7, below.

Section 6: Export the Intelligent Mail Package Barcode

From the Print Settings window, make sure the Output pull down menu is on Disk File, then click Continue.

In the Export Setup window, select your export map or choose the fields you'd like to export.

To Export the barcode, create a new line that is at least 60-characters wide. In the name column, type: IMpb. In the expression box, use this expression:


To export the human-readable string below that, create a new line that is at least 60-characters wide. In the Name column, type hr_impb or give it whatever name you'd like (up to 10 characters) and enter this expression into that row's expression box:


Re-save your export map. Choose your export format, and you're ready to export.

For the export format, do not choose CSV. The data resulting in the export of the impb might contain commas, and this will force the barcode to be split into multiple fields. Export this file as tab delimited text or another format other than csv.

Using these two expressions, you'll get the IMpb and the IMpb Human Readable Line. The barcode will look like this in a resulting text file:


When assigning a font to the IMPB, use IDAutomationC128L, Regular, Size 15.

Section 7: Electronically submit the Shipping Services File (SSF)

When you click Print or Continue from the Print Settings window, a file with a .manifest extension will be created in your presort folder (more on this, below). This is your Shipping Services File (SSF version 1.7) that needs to be submitted electronically to the USPS. You can quickly access your presort folder from the Print Presort window by clicking on the Presort Path link.

Before you can submit Shipping Services files to USPS, you must first register with the National Customer Support Center (NCSC).

To register, contact the USPS National Customer Support Center Confirmation Services. You can reach NCSC at 1-877-264-9693, Option 6.

Let them know you want to register for:

Computer access for the submission of electronic Shipping Services File Version 1.7 for use with the Intelligent Mail Package barcode. Let them know you need to register for Tracking Only and not register for eVS (Electronic Verification Systems).

The NCSC will provide you with the information you need to get started. You will receive a test kit, and will need to provide a sample Shipping Services file (the .manifest file that's in your presort folder) to go through an approval process. The NCSC may also require you to provide sample IMpb barcodes to demonstrate that you are able to produce these correctly.

The .manifest file (a.k.a., Shipping Services File) created inside your presort folder will be named similar to: 20140220_93750201109000005410287912_.manifest. Before uploading the *.manifest file, add the “Username” the NCSC provides to you for uploading your files immediately before the .manifest extension in the file name, e.g., 20140220_93750201109000005410287912_xxxx.manifest

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