One-Dimensional (1D) Barcode Types
One-dimensional (or 1D) barcodes systematically represent data by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines. These include some of the most traditional and well-recognized barcode types, such as the UPC and EAN codes. 1D barcodes are also commonly referred to as linear barcodes.
1. Code 39
This is one of the oldest barcodes around and is a common symbology found in electronics, healthcare, and government. It is a lineal, 1D, alphanumeric code with the ability to include the entire 128 ASCII character set and extend to any length It takes up quite a bit of space, which makes it unsuitable for smaller objects. This was rectified with the introduction of Code 128.
2. Code 2/5 Interleaved
Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF) barcodes are two-width numeric codes that can encode information of any length, as long as there is an even number of digits in the code. Information is encoded based on the width of the bars and spaces, and exactly 2 out of every 5 bars are wide. Their predecessor, the Standard or Industrial 2 of 5 barcode, could encode information only in the width of the bars, but not the spaces. ITF barcodes are generally used for distribution and warehouse identification purposes. They are often used to identify cartons or crates which themselves contain items with their own UPC barcodes. Additionally, they are often used to label 135 film.
3. VIN Barcode
VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) barcodes use the Code 39 symbology with a very distinct set of specifications. They are used exclusively to distinguish individual motor vehicles and consist of 17 alphanumeric characters, sometimes preceded by an “I”, which stands for “import”. VINs come with or without the corresponding barcodes, but scanning a VIN barcode instead of manually recording the long series of characters reduces error rates significantly.
4. Code 93
As a more compact version of Code 39, Code 93 encodes the full ASCII character set while taking up less space. It is variable in length and requires two checksums.
5. Code 128
A big improvement over its predecessors, Code 128 can encode the entire ASCII character set and always includes a check digit. It comprises more data while taking up less space and is widely used in the transportation of goods.
The GS1 barcode is a substandard of Code 128 and was heavily adopted by the industry, since it connects the data structure (GS1) with a data carrier (Code 128), encoding things like order numbers, weights, manufacturing dates, expiration dates,
And storage location numbers.
7. EAN (European Article Number)
A barcode familiar to European readers, EAN is widely used in the retail sector. It can encode up to 12 digits and is used for the International Standard Book Number (ISBN). The UPC (Universal Product Code) can be thought of as an equivalent primarily used North America. Both EAN and UPC are defined as GS1 standards.
UPC, short for Universal Product Code, encodes 12 numeric characters constituting a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). Its European equivalent is the EAN code. The retail sector uses it in combination with databases to connect products with prices or quantities.
The main advantage of the Codabar code is that it is very easy to print accurately, even with inexpensive printers. It encodes up to 16 characters (the numbers 0 to 9 and some special symbols) plus 4 start and stop characters (A, B, C, D). Codabar is self-checking, which means that a failed scan will not result in inaccurate information, but in error.
ITF, or Interleaved 2 of 5 (also Standard Distribution Code), encodes numbers in pairs and uses both the black lines and the white space in between for higher information density. Its length is variable, but the number of numeric characters must be even due to the pairing feature.
11. MSI Plessey
This simple symbology only encodes the numerals 0 to 9, with no fixed length. MSI Plessey is a variant of the Plessey code. Others include Anker Plessey and Telxon Plessey, but MSI Plessey is more widely used today, especially in the US.
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