What is barcode symbology’s?

There are more than 100 different barcode symbology’s. No single barcode can do it all and no barcode has a universal business application. That’s why users must find the symbology that works best for their specific applications. Listed below are some of the more commonly used Barcode Symbology’s.
The specification of a symbology includes the encoding of the single digits/characters of the message, as well as the start and stop markers into bars and space; the size of the “quiet zone” before and after the barcode; and the computation of a checksum.

Code 39 – Lineal – 1D Barcode

Symbology Code39
A commonly used barcode type used for various labels such as name badges, inventory and industrial applications.
The symbology of the Code 39 character set consists of barcode symbols representing numbers 0-9, upper-case letters A-Z, the space character and the following symbols: – . $ / + %.

NOTE: The Code 39 barcode is not recommended for small labels where large amount of data must be encoded. A Code 128 barcode would be preferable this case.

Code 128

symbology 128
Code 128 is a very effective, high-density symbology which permits the encoding of alphanumeric data. It includes verification protection both via a checksum digit and byte parity checking.
This symbology has been widely implemented in many applications where a relatively large amount of data must be encoded in a relatively small amount of space. Its specific structure also allows numeric data to be encoded at, effectively, double-density.
NOTE: Alphanumeric is data that may have a combination of both alpha characters and numeric characters.

Interleaved 2 of 5

symbology interleaved 2 of 5
Commonly found in warehouse, distribution, and manufacturing, Code Interleaved 2 of 5 is a numeric-only barcode used to encode pairs of numbers. Every two digits are paired to create one symbol.
The number of digits used must be even for this format to work, so a zero is commonly added at the end of an odd set of numbers.

Universal Product Codes (UPC)

symbology upc
Although there are several different types of bar codes, the UPC symbol appears on nearly every retail product in the United States, making it the most versatile and recognizable type of product code in this part of the world.
It consists of a bar code with a GTIN-12 number beneath. GTIN stands for Global Trade Identification Number, the coding structure that identifies a product. Individual companies cannot create their own UPC codes. In order to have a UPC barcode that will scan at a Point of Sale, you must have a Company Prefix number assigned to you by GS1.
For companies wondering how to create UPC codes – the answer is that you cannot do so on your own. All UPC barcodes must be purchased through GS1.

International Article Number (EAN)

EAN stands for European Article Number (AKA: GTIN-13 / EAN-13) and is the type of bar code that is used internationally to identify unique products at the point of sale. Similar to a UPC, EAN’s are a series of numbers set against a bar line graphic; in fact, the two types of bar codes are almost identical.
Unlike UPC codes, which have 12 digits, EAN codes have 13 digits. The first 3 digits are the “Country Code” aka: GS1 Prefix, and indicate the GS1 Member Organization where the manufacturer registered the bar codes. This is somewhat related to the region in which the manufacturer operates. The digits after the “country code” prefix are the unique number that is issued to each company. The EAN code closes with the last digit, the Check Digit, which is used to ensure that a bar code has been correctly scanned.
For companies wondering how to create EAN codes – the answer is that you cannot do so on your own. All EAN barcodes must be purchased through GS1.


symbology pdf 417

PDF417 is a 2D barcode (stacked symbology) used in a variety of applications, primarily transport, identification cards, and inventory management. PDF stands for Portable Data File and was developed by Symbol Technologies. PDF417 uses built-in error correction to ensure better readability.

A single PDF417 symbol can be imagined as multiple linear bar-codes (called “rows”) stacked above each other. This is the reason why the PDF417 symbology is sometimes called a “stacked linear symbology”. The overall shape of a PDF417 is rectangular.

For companies wondering how to create EAN codes – the answer is that you cannot do so on your own. All EAN barcodes must be purchased through GS1.

Data Matrix

Symbology Data Matrix
Data Matrix is one of the smallest and most dependable barcode symbology’s. Compared to other barcode types, Data Matrix is approximately 30 times smaller than a Code 39 barcode representing the same data.

The 2D Data Matrix barcode is also the recommended choice when sending barcodes over faxed documents because the symbol can withstand many poor resolution and scanning issues. The required Reed-Solomon error correction built into Data Matrix ECC200 is able to reconstruct and verify the data scanned for improved accuracy.

Data Matrix has become one of the most common barcodes, gaining popularity in electronics manufacturing and healthcare.

Quick Response (QR) Codes

symbology qr
QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can be read by many cell phones and smartphones. The codes, which are small squares with black and white patterns, appear in a variety of places, such as magazine and newspaper ads. A QR code is used to encode some sort of information, such as text or a URL.
QR Codes are gaining popularity as marketing tools. Not as compact as Data Matrix, you will find them often used on advertising materials and storefronts, linking to special promotions or details about a certain product.
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