Barcode Symbology

What is Barcode Symbology?

Barcode Symbology is the protocol that defines a standard for arranging the bars and spaces that comprise a particular type of barcode, such as UPC-A, EAN, Code 128.

There are over 24 bar code symbologies, but only about 5 are in common usage. Other than the ones listed below, there are 5-7 new symbologies that are attempting to replace the ones in use today. These new codes are good symbologies and will take their place in the business world, but it will take some time for them to become common in usage. These are the 2 and 3 dimensional symbologies that are being used for specific applications in the courier and transportation industries.

This is the barcode you see in the grocery and retail stores. It is only used for POS in retail applications. The UPC bar code consists of 4 parts. The 1st number is the system identifier; next 5 digits are the manufacturer's assigned number; next 5 digits are the manufacturer's own assigned product number and the last digit is the check digit.

The manufacturer's assigned number has to be issued from The Uniform Code Council in the USA, or the Product Code Council of Canada. The assigned number is for use anywhere in North America.

UCC/EAN- Code 128
Symbology is used to identify products on shipping containers. There is a standard format for shipping container labels. The shipping Container Code also uses Code I 2/5 symbology for printing on corrugated containers.

Code 39 or Code 3 of 9
This is the most common symbology for printing bar codes for other uses than retail. Code 39 and Code 128 are both alpha/numeric and very flexible.

This is still used by most libraries today but some are changing to C39. This is due to history rather than design. Codabar was the first symbology to be used by any group and libraries started using bar codes before the retail industry.

TRAFFIC? Supported Barcode Types

  • UPC-A
  • UPC-E
  • EAN-13 (JAN-13)
  • EAN-128 (UCC-128, SCC-14, SCC-18)
  • ISBN
  • POSTNET (5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12)
  • CODE-39 (Code 3 of 9)
  • CODE-39 FULL ASCII (Code 3 of 9 Extended)
  • CODE 49
  • CODE-128 (Code A, B, C)
  • 2/5 INDUSTRIAL (Standard 2 OF 5)
  • CODABAR (2, 128)
  • PDF 417
  • MaxiCode
  • DataMatrix

Height / Quiet Zone

For the most effective and reliable scanning, follow the specific guidelines for the dimensions of code height and quiet zones.

39, 128 gt; 0.25 in. OR 15% Length gt; 0.25 in. OR 10 "x"
UPC/EAN 1.02 in. 0.117 in.