1D (linear) Barcodes

1D barcodes —1D barcodes, or one-dimensional barcodes are linear barcodes. They consist of vertical lines of varying widths with specific gaps resulting in a particular pattern.

Examples of 1D barcodes:

  • UPC-A
  • UPC-E
  • EAN 8
  • EAN 13
  • Industrial 2 of 5
  • Interleaved 2 of 5
  • Codabar
  • Code 11
  • Code 39
  • Code 93
  • Code 128
  • DataBar

UPC-A

What is it?

The UPC-A barcode was created by IBM in 1971. Nowadays it’s found on virtually every consumer goods packaging. This includes on the shelves of your local supermarket, as well as books, magazines, and newspapers.

UPC-A encodes 11 digits of product information data along with a trailing check digit, for a total of 12 digits of barcode data. The 11 product digits are further divided into three logical categories.

  • The first digit represents the information regarding the type of the product.
  • The next five digits contain information about the manufacturer of the product.
  • The last five digits contain information about the particular product being encoded.

An example of a typical UPC-A barcode is:

UPC-A

Where is it used?

The UPC-A barcode is widely used all over the world for scanning of trade items at the point of sale.

Industry

  • Retail
  • Warehousing

UPC-E

What is it?

The UPC-E is a variation of the UPC-A which allows for a more compact barcode by compressing out unnecessary zeros. This helps result in the UPC-E barcode being only about half the size of a UPC-A barcode. So, the UPC-E can generally be used in a very small space where a full UPC-A barcode couldn’t reasonably fit.

Original UPC-A Barcode:
UPC-A
Equivalent UPC-E Barcode:

UPC-A

As UPC barcodes, UPC-A and UPC-E contain only numerals. So, they should be used on simple and retail stores product that generally do not require complex information encoding.

Where is it used?

The UPC-E barcode is used in retail and warehousing, especially in the USA and Canada.

Industry

  • Retail
  • Warehousing

EAN 8

What is it?

An EAN-8 barcode is derived from the longer European Article Number (EAN-13) code. The main purpose of the EAN-8 barcode is to use as little space as possible.

An EAN-8 barcode includes a two or three-digit country code, four of five data digits (according to the length of the country code), and a checksum digit. The data digits in an EAN-8 symbol identify a specific product and manufacturer.

EAN-8

EAN-8 is encoded using the three EAN-13 character sets and also has a check digit that is calculated in the same manner as EAN-13. There is a limited number of EAN-8 barcodes available in each country. So, they are issued only for products with insufficient space for an EAN-13 symbol.

Where is it used?

You’ll find EAN-8 barcodes on products where only limited space is available, like small candies, cigarettes, pencils, and chewing gum packets.

Companies may also use EAN-8 barcodes to encode RCN-8s (8-digit Restricted Circulation Numbers) used to identify own-brand products sold only in their stores.

Industry

  • Retail

EAN 13

What is it?

The International Article Numbering Association (EAN) in Europe designed the EAN-13 barcode type. Most European countries are using this barcode type.

EAN-13 is a 13-digit (12 data and one check) barcoding standard which is a superset of the original 12-digit Universal Product Code (UPC) system. Therefore, any software or hardware capable of reading an EAN-13 symbol should automatically be able to read an UPC-A symbol.

The 13 digits in the EAN-13 barcode are grouped as follows:

  • 2 or 3 digits for number system or country code
  • 5 or 4 digits for manufacturer (company) code or prefix
  • 5 digits for product code
  • 1 digit for checksum

A typical EAN-13 barcode looks something like this:

EAN-13

Since 2005, all retail scanning systems in the USA have accepted the EAN-13 symbol as well as the standard UPC-A. So, it is recommended that all new designs implement EAN-13 rather than UPC-A. This will make your software/hardware appealing to the international community. It also eliminates the need for manufacturers who export goods to the US and Canada to double-label their products.

Where is it used?

The EAN-13 barcode is used worldwide for marking products often sold at retail stores and point of sales.

Industry

  • Retail

Industrial 2 of 5

What is it?

Industrial 2 of 5 is a low-density numeric symbol that has been with us since the 1960s. The barcode is called “2 of 5” due to the fact that digits are encoded with five bars, two of which are always wide (and the remaining three are narrow).

Industrial 2 of 5 is a very simple symbol in that all information is encoded in the width of the bars. The spaces in the barcode exist only to separate the bars themselves.

A typical Industrial 2 of 5 barcode looks like this:

Industrial 2 of 5

Where is it used?

Industrial 2 of 5 has been used in photofinishing, transport and warehouse sorting applications, as well as for sequentially numbering airline tickets.

Industry

  • Transport
  • Warehousing

Interleaved 2 of 5

What is it?

Interleaved 2 of 5 is a higher-density numeric symbol based upon the Industrial 2 of 5 symbol. It’s a more efficient implementation of Industrial 2 of 5. Interleaved 2 of 5 allows information to be encoded in both the bars and spaces, whereas (as previously explained) Industrial 2 of 5 only encodes information in the width of the bars.

Each data character consists of five elements, either five bars or five spaces. Of these five elements, two are wide and three are narrow. The symbol is termed “interleaved” because the first numeric data is encoded in the first five bars while the second numeric data is encoded in the first five spaces that separate the first five bars. Thus the first five bars and spaces actually encode two characters. This feature allows Interleaved 2 of 5 to achieve a relatively higher density, but users must always encode an even number of numeric values.

A typical Interleaved 2 of 5 barcode appears like this:

Interleaved 2 of 5

Note that the above barcode is physically smaller than Industrial 2 of 5.

Industrial 2 of 5

Where is it used?

Interleaved 2 of 5 is used primarily in applications such as label packaging, distribution and warehousing. Since the barcode can deal with high printing tolerances, it is good for printing on corrugated cardboard.

Industry

  • Packaging
  • Logistics

Codabar

What is it?

Codabar was developed in 1972 by Pitney Bowes, Inc. It and its variants are also referred to as Codeabar, Ames Code, NW-7, Monarch, Code 2 of 7, Rationalized Codabar, ANSI/AIM BC3-1995 or USD-4.

Codabar is a discrete, self-checking symbol that encodes up to 16 different characters with an additional four start/stop characters. Codabar can encode the digits zero through nine, six symbols (-:.$/+), and the start/stop characters A, B, C, D, E, *, N, or T. The start/stop characters must be used in matching pairs and may not appear elsewhere in the barcode. Since Codabar is self-checking, there is no established checksum digit.

A typical Codabar barcode looks like this:

Codabar

Although newer symbologies hold more data information in a smaller space, Codabar has a large installed base in libraries.

Where is it used?

Codabar barcodes are used by logistics and healthcare professionals, including U.S. blood banks, FedEx airbills, photo labs, libraries, etc.

Industry

  • Logistics
  • Healthcare
  • Education

Code 11

What is it?

Code 11, also referred to as USD-8, is a high-density discrete symbol produced by Intermec in 1977.

The symbology is numeric-only and is able to encode the numbers zero through nine, the dash symbol (-), and start/stop characters. One or two modulo-11 check digit(s) can be included. A typical Code 11 barcode appears as such:
Code 11

Each digit is made up of three bars and two spaces. The width of a digit will not be fixed. Of these five elements, there could be two wide and three narrow, or one wide and four narrow.

Code 11 is not immune to printing imperfections because they can easily convert one character into another valid character. So one, or sometimes two, check digits (named C and K) are used to improve data integrity; often if the length of the data is 10 characters or fewer, only the first check digit (C) will be used.

Where is it used?

It is used primarily in labeling telecommunications equipment.

Industry

  • Telecommunications

Code 39

What is it?

As the first alpha-numeric symbol developed in the year 1974 by Intermec, Code 39 is a variable length, discrete barcode symbology. Also, it is often known as Alpha39, Code 3 of 9, Code 3/9, Type 39, USS Code 39, or USD-3.

The name of code 39 comes from the fact that it could only encode 39 characters in total. However, in its most recent version, the character set has been increased to 43. They consist of uppercase letters (A through Z), numeric digits (zero through nine) and a number of special characters (-, ., $, /, +, %, and space). An additional character (denoted ‘*’) is used for both start and stop delimiters. A typical Code 39 barcode appears as such:

Code 39

The barcode itself does not include a check digit. But it is considered self-checking in that a single print defect cannot transpose one character into another valid character.

Code 39 is general purpose and one of the most widely used barcode types. It can be encoded and decoded by almost every barcode encoding/decoding equipment.

There are some drawbacks with Code 39. It has a low data density. It’s also not as compact as, for example, the Code 93 or Code 128 barcodes. That makes it not suitable for very small goods or items which require large amounts of information to be encoded.

Where is it used?

Born in 1974, Code 39 is still widely used, especially in non-retail environments. It is supposedly the standard barcode used by the United States Department of Defense and is also used by the Health Industry Bar Code Council (HIBCC).

Industry

  • Government
  • Manufacturing
  • Logistics
  • Postal
  • Medical
  • Automotive
  • Defense

Code 93

What is it?

Code 93 was made in 1982 by Intermec to complement and improve upon Code 39.

Code 93 is similar to Code 39 in that it can represent an alpha-numeric character set by using combinations of two characters. It differs in that Code 93 is a continuous symbol and produces denser code. It encodes 47 characters compared to Code 39’s 43 characters. Its high density and compact size makes its labels around 25 percent shorter than barcodes produced in Code 39.

Each Code 93 character is nine modules wide, and always has three bars and three spaces. A common Code 93 barcode looks like this:

Code 93

The Standard Mode (default implementation) of Code 93 can encode uppercase letters (A through Z), digits (zero through nine) and special characters like the *, -, $, %, (space), ., /, and + . The Full ASCII mode or extended version can encode all 128 ASCII characters. Code 93 enables additional security within the barcode itself.

Where is it used?

Code 93 barcodes are widely used in logistics to identify packages, in retail inventory, label electronic components, and reportedly even provide additional delivery information for the Canadian Post.

Industry

  • Postal
  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Logistics

Code 128

What is it?

Computer Identics, in 1981, designed Code 128, which is another linear barcode popular in industry and stores.

The Code 128 character set includes the digits zero through nine, the letters A-Z (upper and lower case), and all standard ASCII symbols and control codes. The codes are separated into three subsets A, B, and C. There are three separate start codes to indicate which subset will be used. In addition, each subset includes control characters to switch to another subset in the middle of a barcode. Subset A includes the standard ASCII symbols, digits, upper case letters, and control codes. Subset B includes standard ASCII symbols, digits, upper and lower case letters. Subset C compresses two numeric digits (the set of 100 digit pairs from 00 to 99) into each character, providing excellent density.

An example barcode of alphanumeric encoding in a single Code 128 barcode is:

Code 128

Code 128 is usually selected over Code 39 in new applications because of its excellent density and much larger selection of characters. It has been widely implemented in many applications where a relatively large amount of data has to be encoded in a very small space.

Where is it used?

Code 128 barcodes are compact, high-density codes used in logistics and transportation industries for ordering and distribution. They’re geared toward non-POS products, like supply chain applications needing label units with serial shipping container codes (SSCC).

Industry

  • Transport
  • Shipping
  • Tracking

DataBar

What is it?

DataBar is a family of linear symbologies used within the GS1 system barcodes. There are three types of GS1 DataBar symbols and seven DataBar variations.

For more information about all the different variations, please visit our DataBar introduction.

DataBar

Where is it used?

DataBar barcodes are typically found in grocery stores on fresh produce labels.

Industry

  • Retail