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The 4 most commonly used barcode types:   

EAN-13        UPC-A        Code 128        QR Code

Code 128 Barcode

The Code 128 barcode was developed by COMPUTER IDENTICS in 1981. It is a variable-length, continuous alphanumeric barcode. It can encode all 128 ASCII characters.

Code 128 barcode consists of a blank area, a start mark, a data area, a check character and a terminator. It has three subsets, namely A, B and C, which can represent different character sets. It can also achieve multi-level encoding through the selection of starting characters, code set characters, and conversion characters.

It enables high-density and efficient data representation through multi-level encoding and can be used for automatic identification in any management system.

It is compatible with the EAN/UCC system and is used to represent the information of the storage and transportation unit or logistics unit of the commodity. In this case, it is called GS1-128.

It can encode all 128 ASCII characters, including numbers, letters, symbols and control characters, so it can represent all characters on the computer keyboard.

There are three subsets of Code 128 barcodes

Namely A code, B code and C code. Code 128 barcodes can represent 128 ASCII values by switching different subsets, and there is no theoretical limit to the code length.

Code 128 A code: can encode uppercase letters and control characters (such as TAB, CR/LF, etc.), but cannot encode lowercase letters.

Code 128 B code: can encode upper and lower case letters, but cannot encode control characters.

Code 128 C code: can only encode numbers 0-9, and each two numbers are represented by a barcode symbol. It is the most compact code set.

Code128 is a high-density barcode.

By using three versions of character sets (A, B, C) and selection of start characters, code set characters, and conversion characters, the most optimal barcode can be selected according to different data types and lengths. Appropriate encoding method. This can reduce the length of the barcode and improve coding efficiency.

In addition, Code128 also uses check characters and terminators, which can increase the reliability of barcodes and prevent misreading or missed reading.


UPC Barcode

The UPC-A barcode is a barcode symbol used to track items in stores and is only used in the United States and Canada. It consists of 12 digits and each product has a unique code.

It was formulated by the United States Uniform Code Council in 1973, jointly developed with IBM, and has been in use since 1974.

It was the first barcode system used in supermarket checkout, and the first item marked with a UPC-A barcode was scanned at the checkout counter at Troy¡¯s Marsh Supermarket.

The reason why UPC-A barcodes are used in supermarkets is that it can quickly, accurately and conveniently identify product information, such as price, inventory, sales volume, etc.

The UPC-A barcode consists of 12 digits, of which the first 6 digits represent the manufacturer code, the last 5 digits represent the product code, and the last digit is the check digit. In this way, as long as we scan the barcode at the supermarket checkout counter, we can quickly obtain the product price and inventory information, which greatly improves the work efficiency of supermarket salespeople.

What is the difference between EAN-13 barcode and UPC-A?

The EAN-13 barcode is developed by the International Article Numbering Center and is universally used. The code length is 13 digits, and the first two digits represent the country or region code.

The UPC-A barcode is produced by the United States Uniform Code Committee and is mainly used in the United States and Canada. The code length is 12 digits, and the first digit indicates the numeric system code.

The EAN-13 barcode and UPC-A barcode have the same structure and verification method, and both have grooves. EAN-13 barcode is a superset of UPC-A barcode and is compatible with UPC-A barcode.

The EAN-13 barcode has one more country/region code than the UPC-A barcode. In fact, the UPC-A barcode can be regarded as a special case of the EAN-13 barcode, that is, the first digit is set to 0. 13 barcodes.

How to convert UPC-A to EAN-13 barcode?

UPC-A barcodes can be converted to EAN-13 barcodes by adding a leading 0.

For example, the UPC-A barcode 012345678905 corresponds to the EAN-13 barcode 0012345678905.

There are two types of UPC barcodes: standard codes and shortened codes.

The standard code (UPC-A) contains 1 digit system character, 5 digits manufacturer code, 5 digits product code and 1 digit check code.

The shortened code (UPC-E) is the result of removing or compressing some numbers in the standard code and can only represent 8 digits.


EAN Barcode

EAN, short for European Article Number, is a barcode protocol and standard used in supermarkets and other retail industries.

EAN-13 is established based on the UPC-A standard established by the United States to meet the needs of international applications.

EAN-13 consists of a prefix code, manufacturer identification code, product item code and check code, with a total of 13 digits. Its encoding follows the principle of uniqueness and can ensure that it is not repeated worldwide.

The EAN-13 barcode standard was formulated by the International Commodity Barcode Association. It is a world-wide commodity barcode system that is designed to facilitate the identification and circulation of commodities. The EAN-13 barcode standard specifies the barcode structure, encoding method, printing requirements, etc.

There are four types of EAN barcodes:

EAN-13: The original 13-digit format, suitable for countries around the world except the United States and Canada, which use UPC barcodes.

EAN-8: 8-bit compressed version suitable for small products.

EAN-5: A 5-digit extension appended to the EAN-13 or UPC-A barcode to indicate currency and price.

EAN-2: A 2-digit extension appended to the end of the EAN-13 or UPC-A barcode to indicate the issue number of magazines and newspapers.


QR Code - 2D Barcode

QR Code was invented in 1994 by a team led by Masahiro Harada of the Japanese company Denso Wave, based on its original use for marking car parts. It is a two-dimensional matrix barcode that can be used for a variety of purposes.

Later, the encoding and decoding rules of QR Code were formulated into multiple international standards, such as AIM International, JIS X 0510 and ISO/IEC 18004:2015.

The reason why QR Code is used instead of one-dimensional barcode in some situations is that QR Code has the following advantages:

QR Code can store more information because it uses a two-dimensional square matrix instead of one-dimensional lines. One-dimensional barcodes usually only store a few dozen characters, while QR Codes can store thousands of characters.

QR Code can be scanned and recognized faster because it has four positioning marks and can be scanned from any angle. One-dimensional barcodes usually need to be scanned from a specific direction.

QR Code can represent more data types, such as numbers, letters, binary, Chinese characters, etc. One-dimensional barcodes usually can only represent numbers or letters.

QR Code is more resistant to damage and interference because it has error correction capabilities that can recover partially lost or obscured data. One-dimensional barcodes generally do not have such functionality.

QR Code is not the only two-dimensional barcode

According to principles, QR codes can be divided into two categories: matrix type and stacked type.

Why are QR codes faster to scan?

The reason why QR codes scan faster is that they can express information in both the horizontal and vertical directions, while one-dimensional codes can only express information in the horizontal direction. QR codes also have some special geometric patterns, such as positioning patterns, alignment patterns and correction patterns, which can help the scanner quickly identify the position and direction of the QR code. QR codes also have certain error correction capabilities. Even if part of the QR code is blocked or damaged, the data can still be recovered.

The difference between QR code and one-dimensional barcode:

Mainly lies in the encoding method and information capacity. QR codes use a two-dimensional square matrix, which can store more information and represent more data types. One-dimensional barcodes use one-dimensional lines, which can only store a small amount of information and can only represent numbers or letters. There are other differences between QR codes and one-dimensional barcodes, such as scanning speed, error correction capabilities, compatibility, etc.

Common types of QR codes include: Data Matrix, MaxiCode, Aztec, QR Code, PDF417, Vericode, Ultracode, Code 49, Code 16K, etc.

They have different applications in different fields.

Why does mobile payment use QR Code?

The reasons are as follows:

QR Code can quickly and easily transmit payment information without entering a card number or password.

QR Code can save the cost of payment terminals and is suitable for merchants of various scenarios and sizes.

QR Code can reduce the risks of contact payments and improve payment security and hygiene.

QR Code can support a variety of payment methods, such as bank cards, e-wallets, third-party payment platforms, etc.

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