A barcode is a pattern of variable-width bars and spaces which represents numeric or alphanumeric data in machine-readable form. The general format of a barcode symbol consists of a leading margin, start character, data or message character, check character (if any), stop character, and trailing margin. Within this framework, each recognizable symbology uses its own unique format.
What types of barcodes are there?
There are over thirty types of barcodes in existence and the common ones you see include 1D Linear, 2D Data Matrix, 2D Quick Response (QR) and UPC Code.
Barcodes are divided into two main types: one dimensional (1D) and two-dimensional (2D).
1D barcodes are the oldest and most widely adopted of the two, are comprised of vertical lines and spaces that encode data in a machine-readable “font”. These barcodes are commonly used, but due to the encoding methodology, it takes more space to encode more data.
2D barcodes store information vertically and horizontally so more data can be encoded in a much smaller space for better error correction along with supporting much higher amounts of data. Barcodes can be further divided into symbologies, or barcode languages, which support different types and amounts of data.