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Standard Barcode Formats

Barcodes offer users a quick system for storage and retrieval of data, which can be transformed into useful information. It presents data in the form of a pattern or a design rather than actual written information. As a result, encrypted information can be quickly decoded using a simple barcode reader. In general, there are several types of barcodes in existence. The type of barcode a user decides to use may depend on the function to be carried out.

Types of Barcodes

Commonly used forms of barcodes are 1-dimensional (1D) barcodes. These barcodes have a simple alternating black and white pattern of equal length and varying width. In recent years, 2-dimensional (2D) barcodes have become quite popular as they are easy to scan and store more data than 1-dimensional barcodes. There are tens of barcodes that have been developed. Each barcode is slightly different from another. The most commonly used barcodes are discussed below.

1. Code 39

Code 39 is a 1D barcode, which is amongst the first types of barcodes to be created. This barcode is widely used across government, healthcare institutions, and electronic companies. Code 39 is considered as linear and can store the complete 128 ASCII set. Therefore, the amount of data that can be stored depends on the length of the barcode and available space.

2. Code 128

The Code 128 barcode is developed based on the characters of 128 ASCII. However, unlike code 39, this barcode only uses some of the characters. Therefore, this 1D barcode is suitable for use if space is an issue. Moreover, it has a feature that allows for barcode optimization. The code 128 barcode is commonly used by shipping and packaging companies all around the globe.

3. UPC (Universal Product Code)

This barcode is the most popular 1D barcode used in retail stores. It is convenient for use in cases where inventory management or receipt creation is required. UPC is issued to manufacturers by a central management institution. Therefore, each manufacturer receives a unique UPC for their products.

4. International Article Number

This barcode is an advanced version of UPC. It is mostly used in academic publications, book production, and libraries. This code consists of 13 codes, which conforms with ISBN (International Standard Book Numbers). Each publisher gets a unique identity for tracking.

5. PDF417

The PDF417 barcode is a 2D linear barcode, which is mostly used by government institutions for the validation of documents. Most driver's license around the world uses this type of barcode for validation. Additionally, it is favored by security institutions because of its advanced options. Also, the PDF417 barcode has the advantage of storing significantly more information than other forms of 2D barcodes.

6. QR (Quick Response) Codes

The QR codes are currently considered as the most preferred types of barcodes. It's popular because it can be easily read by the cameras of smartphones. As a 2D barcode, it can store a significant amount of information. As a result, it is preferred for use in advertisements and promotions.

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