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How to Choose a Type of Bar code

There are many different bar codes types, so it is really important to understand which one to use for your specific application or goal. The best bar code maker software let you to create multiple bar code types, one- and two-dimensional among them. Choosing the type to be used requires information about the common usage of each symbology, and how this symbology is fitting a different need.

The most popular bar code types include:

UPC-A Code: Is used in the retail industry to send goods around the world. This type uses a 12-digit number on the barcode. Consists of 12 numerical digits, that are uniquely assigned to each trade item. Along with the related EAN code, the UPC is the bar code mainly used for scanning of trade items at the point of sales. UPC-A Barcodes are effectively a subset of EAN-13 Barcodes. The EAN-13 number with the leading zero (‘0’), will be identical to the UPC-A (without the leading ‘0’) with the same remaining data string.

EAN-13: Is standard describing a bar code symbology and numbering system used in global trade to identify a specific retail product type, in a specific packaging configuration, from a specific manufacturer. EAN codes are used worldwide for lookup at retail point of sale, but can also be used as numbers for other purposes such as wholesale ordering or accounting. The symbol encodes 13 characters: the first two or three are a country code which identify the country in which the manufacturer is registered (not necessarily where the product is actually made).  The country code is followed by 9 or 10 data digits (depending on the length of the country code) and a single digit checksum. 2-digit and 5-digit supplementals may be added for a total of 14 or 17 data digits.

ISBN: Is an International Standard Book Number. ISBNs were 10 digits in length up to the end of December 2006, but since 1 January 2007 they now always consist of 13 digits. ISBNs are calculated using a specific mathematical formula and include a check digit to validate the number. An ISBN uniquely identifies your book, and facilitates the sale of your book to bookstores (physical and digital) and libraries. Using ISBNs allows you to better manage your book's metadata, and ensure maximum discoverability of your book.

Code 39: Uses both numbers and characters and allows you to ship goods globally. Is widely used in many industries and is the standard for many government barcode specifications, including the U.S. Department of Defense. Code 39 is defined in American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard

Code 128: is a very high-density barcode symbology. These are very compact barcodes used for ordering and distribution. Often selected over Code 39 in new applications because of its density and because it offers a much larger selection of characters. The Code 128 standard is maintained by AIM (Automatic Identification Manufacturers). This symbology has been widely implemented in many applications where a relatively large amount of data must be encoded in a relatively small amount of space. It's specific structure also allows numeric data to be encoded at, effectively, double-density.

GS1-128, EAN-128: Is a special form of the Code 128. It's used for goods and palettes in commerce and industry. The name GS1-128 replaces the old name EAN/UCC 128. There can be coded more than one data field inside one barcode. For example a food palette gets a barcode with the product number (e.g. the EAN 13 number) and additional the weight and the pull date.

GS1 DataBar: DataBar barcodes are often used to label fresh foods. These barcodes can hold information like an item's batch number or expiry date, in addition to other attributes used at the point-of-sale such the item weight. DataBar barcodes are often used in retail, and can be read by laser scanners.

ITF-14: Is used to create the Shipping Container Symbol, to mark cartons, cases, or pallets that contain products which have a UPC or EAN product identification number. The container symbols are used by manufacturers and distributors to take inventory or tally shipments quickly and accurately.

QR Code:: You will often see this 2D barcode on flyers, advertisements and other marketing items because they encode mass text or data in only one code. These codes can be read by mobile devices and Often used for Mobile-Tagging with cell phones. Was designed for the automotive industry in Japan. A barcode is a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached. The QR Code system became popular outside the automotive industry due to its fast readability and greater storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes. Applications include product tracking, item identification, time tracking, document management, and general marketing.

Data Matrix: : is a 2D barcode that can store up to 2,335 alphanumeric characters, and is mainly used in Europe and in the United States. The mail application areas are direct part and laser marking - both especially in the aerospace, electronic, and automotive industry. In addition Data Matrix is used for general logistic purposes, document management applications, postal services (digital stamps), and medical / health industry related applications, and mobile marketing.

PostNet : This code us used to improve the speed of sorting and delivering of mail. This barcode symbology is used by the United States Postal Service to assist in directing mail.

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