Types of Barcodes

Six types of barcodes and what they read
by Barry Barcode

If you’ve seen our blog post about testing your barcode scanners, which allows you to actually test your scanner directly onto our blog, right? Your company may only use a certain kind of barcode, but maybe you’re curious about what the difference is between the different types? I know I would be, if I didn’t already have an encyclopedic index of barcodes in the back on my mind at all times!

Here are the basics about many of the barcodes that you can use. With laser scanners, warehousing has become more productive by improving speed, increasing the accuracy of data, and by creating the ability to read at a larger range. Progressive barcode technology assures us that as we go forward, so will barcodes and we have even seen leaps and bounds through the last twenty five years. Barcodes started out with a limited amount of data that they could process. 1 dimensional barcodes, the solid vertical lined barcodes were the first barcodes, and they are becoming more accurate and efficient even today.

1. 1D Barcodes
They are the barcode that you are probably most familiar with, with the vertical lines and numbers underneath. This barcode reads 12345. many 1d barcodes can only read numeric values, and a limited set of them for that matter. They are useful when applied with UPCs on merchandise, that have number codes for what the merchandise is.
1d barcodes
2D Barcodes
2d barcodes can carry much more info compared to their 1d brothers, with much less space involved.. They can hold a lot of information, which includes a serial number, tons of info, and a timestamp to say the least. The following examples are all 2d barcodes, you’ll notice they look more complicated, more intricate aesthetically than the 1d barcode.

2. Data Matrix Barcodes
These barcodes are great for small items, as well as for the food industry. Holding 3000 number and 2000 letter characters, they are very useful in narrow applications like pallet racks, or anywhere else where space is very limited. They can be very tiny.
data matrix barcodes
3. PD417 Barcodes
Useful on pallet master labels which use them to encode id data such as shipping info pallet number, gross weight, item part number and serial number quantity. You may have also seen this type of barcode on your airfare ticket, as they have become very popular in airports.
pd417 barcodes
4. QR Barcodes
QR code is a new form of QR code that has become very popular recently. They can hold a lot of information in a limited amount of space, up to 7000 numbers or 4000 letter characters. They’re useful in advertising, automotive industry, and for serializing part IDs. including tracking, and shipping. Interesting fact, the part that you’re scanner reads is the outside, so you can add images in the middle of the barcode if you’d like to.
qr barcodes
5. Aztec Barcodes
3750 ASCII characters makes this little barcode pack a punch. Aztec barcodes are helping to increasing employee productivity by reducing the number of scans necessary for info
aztec barcodes
6. High Capacity Color Barcodes (HCCB)
Created by Microsoft in the last 2000s, this barcode uses colors as well as a grid to hold a wealth of information. Microsoft hopes that these barcodes will help consumer tag their own photos, as well as for commercial use on merchandise branding. It can hold up to 3500 individual characters per each square inch.
high capacity color barcodes HCCB

As you can see, barcodes vary in the way that they look, scan, and hold information. There are many more as well, but these are the most popular barcodes. To find out more about barcoding you can download our barcoding ebook, call MIDCOM at (800) 643-2664 or chat us up on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn!

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