Barcode Density

Barcode Density

The density of a barcode refers to how many characters can be encoded per inch. One factor controlling the density of a barcode is its symbology. Different symbologies require different numbers of bars and spaces to represent the same information. The density of a barcode is also affected by the thickness of the narrow and wide bars and spaces. The narrower the bars and spaces, the less room it takes to print out the barcode and the higher the density of the barcode in characters per inch.


As the character density of a barcode increases, the room required to print it decreases, allowing the barcode message to take up less space. While this seems desirable, if the density is increased too much, the readability of the barcodes can decrease due to the following factors:

  • The optics of the scanning device may not be precise enough to properly detect the skinny lines and spaces of the barcodes.

  • The printing tolerance of the printing device may not be precise enough to produce good bars at the higher density settings.