Barcode Comparison Chart

Learn about the different types of barcodes

This chart compares some of the most commonly used types of industrial barcodes with information on how they are used and what they look like. These are all bidirectional barcodes (can be scanned from either direction).

BarcodeTypeCharacter SetLengthChecksumApplications/Comments
Australia Postal Code
2-D Numbers Only 4 Required Includes error correction
Aztec Code
2-D Full ASCII; FNC1 and ESI control codes Variable Min 12 Max 3832 Required Includes error correction; minimum is 15x15 square, largest is 151x151
Codabar
Linear Numbers: 0-9; Symbols: - : . $ / + Start/Stop Characters: A, B, C, D, E, *, N, or T Variable None Older code; often used in libraries and blood banks. See also USD-4, NW-7, 2of7
Code 11
Linear Numbers Only Variable Required Recommend 2nd check digit
Code 128
Linear All ASCII characters and control codes Variable Required Widely used; excellent for many applications
Code 39
Linear Uppercase letters A-Z; Numbers 0-9; Space - . $ / + % Variable Optional In very wide use for many types of applications
Extended Code 39
Linear All ASCII characters and control codes Variable Optional Uses pairs of characters to encode non- standard symbols; wasteful of space
Code 93
Linear Uppercase letters A-Z; Numbers 0-9; Space - . $ / + % nbsp Optional A more compact cousin of Code 39, not as widely in use
Composite Code
2-D All ASCII characters Variable Required Code comprised of a PDF417 code stacked on top of a Code128; used in UCC/EAN standards
DataMatrix
2-D All ASCII characters Variable Required Includes error correction, up to 2335 ASCII characters
EAN-13
Linear Numbers Only 13 + check digit +2 optional +5 optional Required Retail product marking world-wide
EAN-8
Linear Numbers Only 7 + check digit Required Retail product marking world-wide; compressed code for products with limited label space
EAN Bookland
Linear Numbers Only 13 + check digit +2 optional +5 optional Required Special use of the EAN-13 symbol to encode ISBN number on books
Industrial 2 of 5
Linear Numbers Only Variable None Older type of code
Interleaved 2 of 5
Linear Numbers Only Variable Optional Very compact encodes digits in pairs so total length must be even number of digits
ITF-14
Linear Numbers Only 13 + check digit Required Special use of the Interleaved 2 of 5 code to mark shipping cartons containing UPC encoded products (see also SCC-14)
LOGMARS
Linear Uppercase letters A-Z; Numbers 0-9; Space - . $ / + % Variable Optional Same as Code 39; this is the US government specification
Maxicode
2-D All ASCII characters 93 Required Includes error correction, developed by the United Parcel Service for encoding destination information
MSI MSI Plessey
Linear Numbers Only Variable Required Grocery store shelf tags
OPC Optical Industry Assoc.
Linear Numbers Only 9 + check digit Required Special use of Interleaved 2 of 5 for marking retail optical products
PDF-417
2-D All ASCII characters Variable Required Includes error correction, up to about 1850 ASCII or 2725 numeric characters
Plessey
Linear Numbers Only Variable Required Grocery store shelf tags
Postnet
2-D* Numbers Only 5 + check digit +4 optional +6 optional Required USA postal code (ZIP code)
QR Code
2-D All ASCII characters Variable Required Includes error correction, up to about 1520 ASCII or 2509 numeric charcters
SCC-14 (UCC/EAN Ship Cont. Code)
Linear Numbers Only 13 + checksum Required Special use of Code 128 to mark shipping cartons containing UPC encoded products (see also ITF-14)
Standard 2 of 5
Linear Numbers Only Variable None Also called Industrial 2 of 5.
UCC/EAN-128
Linear All ASCII characters and control codes Variable Required Special ise of Code 128 which defines data formats for commerce
UCC/EAN Shipping Container Code (SCC-14)
Linear Numbers Only 13 +check digit Required Special use of Code 128 to mark shipping cartons containing UPC encoded products (see also ITF-14)
UPC Shipping Container Code (ITF-14)
Linear Numbers Only 13 + check digit Required Special use of the Interleaved 2 of 5 code to mark shipping cartons containing UPC encoded products (see also SCC-14)
UPC-A
Linear Numbers Only 11 + check digit +2 optional +5 optional Required Retail product marking in USA and Canada
UPC-E
Linear Numbers Only 7 + check digit Required Retail product in USA and Canada; compressed code for products with limited label space