Barcode Formats

A barcode format describes how the data in a barcode is to be visually represented. There are many barcode formats available, many designed for a specific industry, each with its own specification and intended use cases, benefits and limitations. For example, the UPC is used in retail for inventory management and to streamline the checkout process while eliminating the opportunity of human error occurring.

Barcode Formats

Barcode Comparison Matrix

The following is a comparison of the commonly used barcode formats for Connected Things and other applications.

Barcode FormatDimensionsUsage
Aztec2DTicketing, transportation
Codabar1DTransportation, inventory systems
Code 321DPharmaceutical products
Code 391DNot commonly used
Code 931DNot commonly used
Code 1281DMost common 1D format
Data Matrix2DCommon 2D barcode format; often used instead of a QR Code
EAN-81DShorter version of EAN-13; GS1 GTIN-8
EAN-131DRetail labels; GS1 GTIN
GS1-1281DFood services
ITF-141DProduct packaging; GS1 GTIN-14
MaxiCode2DTransportation, inventory systems
Micro PDF4172DTransportation, inventory systems
PDF4172DTransportation, identity management, inventory systems
QR Code2DConsumer engagement
RSS-141DProduct packaging
RSS-Expanded1DProduct packaging
UPC1DCommon 1D format; retail labeling and checkout