Barcodes standards explained

There are seven standard barcode labels and each one has a use that can be specific to an industry or a particular use. For example, code 39 is an alphanumeric code by which the width of the bars, colours and spacing make up a series of 43 characters, consisting of uppercase letters, A to Z numeric digits 0 to 9 and a number of special characters.

Code 128 is also an alphanumeric or numeric-only code but of a high density and it can encode all 128 characters of the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) and is used almost extensively for the shipping and packaging industries.

The code EAN8 is a code (European Article Number 8) which is derived from the EAN13 code but is a condensed a smaller version used for items which are in small packets such as cigarettes, confectionary, or smaller items.

Code EAN13 is the familiar one we see on everyday items on the grocery and other retail outlets and is the code which is are used worldwide for marking products often sold at retail tills or at the point of sale, the numbers encoded in EAN-13 bar codes are product identification numbers.

The Universal Product Code (UPC) is a specific type of code that is widely used in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand and in other countries for tracking items or goods in stores.

QR Codes are becoming more familiar to all of us and they can now be seen on advertising item, newspapers magazines and literature sent out by companies. These are used directing potential customers to websites or to give information such as telephone or email contacts and are scanned by the latest Smartphones.

The data matrix code looks in many ways similar to the QR code and is used to track items, and in the aerospace and electronic industries to identify components.

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