Everything you should know about Barcoding

A barcode is a visual, machine-readable representation of information; generally defines something about the object carrying the barcode. By varying the widths and spacing of parallel lines, traditional barcodes systematically represent data and can be referred to as linear or one-dimensional (1D). Later, two-dimensional (2D) versions were created using rectangles, dots, hexagons and other geometric patterns, known as matrix codes or 2D barcodes, although they do not use bars as such.

Whereas, barcode system is a hardware and software network that mainly consists of mobile computers, printers, handheld scanners, infrastructure, and software support. Barcode systems are used to automate data collection where hand recording is either timely or cost effective.

So how does the barcode work?

Here’s a simple method to see how barcodes function: consider them as a more technologically savvy approach to transfer a series of characters. They are essentially a license plate that is connected to data files. These character series can identify all kinds of data. Instead of writing and duplicating this data manually, it becomes encoded in barcode languages (symbologies) for rapid transfer to PC via a scanner. Each symbology pursues an algorithm to standardize these characters ‘ encoding and storage.

Types of barcodes

Barcode technology is constantly moving forward. For example, the latest rise of 2D barcode scanning has proven popular by letting you to scan directly from your cell phone for a wealth of data.

  1. Code 39

This is one of the oldest barcodes around and is a typical symbology found in the fields of electronics, medicine, and government. It is a linear, 1D, alphanumeric code with the potential to include the entire 128 ASCII character set and extend them to any length, restricted only by the label size.

  1. Code 128

This compact barcode is derived from the ASCII 128 character set (0-9, a-z, A-Z, and some unique characters) and is widely used in packaging and shipping applications worldwide.



  1. Interleaved 2 of 5

Generally found in warehouse, distribution, and manufacturing, Code I 2 of 5 is a numeric-only barcode used to encode sets of numbers. Every two digits are paired to create one symbol. The number of digits utilized must be even for this format to work, so a zero is commonly included at the end of an odd set of numbers.

  1. Universal Product Codes (UPC)

Found in almost every retail item, these barcodes were originally developed for supermarkets to quickly print receipts and track inventories. After verifying an UPC number, manufacture will receive a unique organization number to combine with their individual product numbers.

  1. International Article Number (EAN)

Considered a UPC superset, these barcodes are specifically used for book traceability by booksellers, libraries, universities, and wholesalers. These 13-digit codes are produced for each unique book tracked from the International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN). Like UPCs, these are standardized for unique publisher identification.

  1. PDF417

You can find this stacked, linear 2D barcode in different types of identification, such as your driver’s license. Because of its advanced capabilities, for example, encoding connects to more than one data file; it is also the chosen standard by the USPS and Homeland Security Department.

  1. Data Matrix

It turned out to be one of the most common 2D barcodes. It is a square in shape code and can encode large as in huge – the amount of information in a small space, that is why it is highly common in production electronics and healthcare. 2D codes involve advanced scanners such as cell phones to basically “snap a picture” and simultaneously translate the entire image at one time.

  1. Quick Response (QR) Codes

The latest trends in barcoding, QR Codes are gaining popularity as marketing tools to link to web-based information. Not as compact as Data Matrix, you’ll find them often used to advertise materials and storefronts, connecting to unique promotions or information about a particular product.


Why you need barcodes for your warehouse? – Benefits

Barcode technology can be applied to a variety of uses throughout your warehouse, from warehouse paperwork to individual employee identification to enabling inventory movement into and out the door. The following are the ways specifically that shows how barcodes save cash and boost your business efficiency.


Barcodes eliminate human error possibilities. The incidence of manually entered data errors is significantly higher than that of barcodes. A barcode scanning is quick and reliable, taking infinitely less time than manually entering information.


The barcode system has shown a payback period of six to 18 months, giving the highest level of reliability in a wide range of data collection applications. Barcode systems not only produce value by saving time but also by preventing costly mistakes.

    Time management

Barcodes are merely a more time-efficient way of giving data about your inventory to the rest of your business. Scanning a barcode requires just a few minutes, and a similar amount of time to pull that data back up on a PC when required.


Warehouses can be brutal environments. Some are subject to extreme temperatures, others are particularly dry or humid, and some hold on for prolonged periods of time to the inventory. The clarity of the labels attached to them can all be affected. Barcodes can be extremely resilient depending on how they are manufactured. Investing in your product’s barcode label is never a waste, particularly if you have used easy paper and pen to keep track of code numbers.


Barcoding has achieved an excellent job of getting in and figuring out how business can best function. It is the next step towards technology, now barcode scanning understands all our needs by providing us efficiency, accuracy, and connectivity well into the future.

ADC Barcode is involved in the supply of  barcode scanners, barcode label printers, barcode verifiers and label applicators. We also provide custom software, EPOS systems & hardware, RFID and wireless networking technology amongst other professional services. Get in touch now and obtain more information.

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