What is an EAN barcode?
An EAN barcode is the most common type of barcode used for retail products. EAN codes consist of 13 numbers, and encodes a country code, a company code and a product code. EAN barcode can be used all over the world, except for the USA and Canada where UPC barcodes are used.
What is a UPC barcode?
A UPC barcode is the second most common type of retail barcode. The code consists of 12 numbers, and encodes a country code, company code, and product code. UPC barcodes are widely used in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries for tracking trade items in stores.
Where can I get a UPC number?
You need "GS1 Company Prefix" which should be unique to create UPC numbers. GS1 US organization can help you with this: https://www.gs1us.org/application_for_barcodes_authorized_by_gs1_us
What is a 1D or linear barcode? What is a 2D barcode?
A 1D or linear barcode is a combination of vertical bars. For some of them you can encode only numbers for other you can encode letters also. Most of barcode scanners can read them scanning just a line. 2D barcode encodes information in two dimensions and therefore can keep a way more information in it. And it is usually smaller than 1D one. More complex scanner is required to read this type of barcodes.
What are the types of barcodes?
There are many different barcode symbologies for different applications.
Most Popular 1D Barcodes:
UPC is a 12-digit one-dimensional barcode used primarily in the United States for retail and consumer products. You can found this barcode on any product. The code consists of 12 numbers, and encodes a country code, company code, and product code.
EAN is the European equivalent of UPC codes. The code differs from the UPC code in that the additional first digit identifies the country of origin code. There are also options such as ISBN and ISSN for more specific applications.
Code 39 - used in defense and automotive. Code 39, as the name suggests, can contain up to 39 characters in a barcode. Code 39 is the simplest of the alphanumeric codes, it is designed to self-test characters and is often used internally by small businesses.
Code 128 is used in transport and logistics, Code 128 is a high density ordering and distribution code. Code 128 encodes both numeric and alphanumeric text. Code 128 barcodes for use in the internal supply chain can store a variety of information.
Most popular 2D barcodes:
QR code is one of the most common 2D codes. QR codes are two-dimensional matrix codes intended for consumers and marketing. QR codes support numeric, alphanumeric, byte / binary codes and hieroglyphs. QR codes are free and publicly available.
DataMatrix Code - Popular for logistics and operations, these two-dimensional codes are tiny in size and are ideal for labeling small items such as electronic components. Codes have the advantage of being very robust and fast to read.
PDF417 - These codes can store huge amounts of data up to 1.1KB. Codes are ideal for government applications like driver's licenses because they can store photos, fingerprints, signatures, text, numbers, and graphics. The code is publicly available and free to use.