Codabar format is commonly used in libraries, blood banks, and the air parcel business. The start and stop characters of a Codabar message must be A, B, C, or D. The variable-length format allows encoding of the following 20 characters:

Code 25

Code 25, also known as "Code 2 of 5," is a discrete, variable-length numeric code format. Code 25 format consists of two thick bars in a total of five bars for each encoded character. It is used primarily for inventory handling, identification of photo-finishing envelopes, airline ticketing, and baggage and cargo handling.

Code 39

Code 39, also known as "Code 3 of 9," is the most popular format used in the non-retail market for inventory and tracking. The format consists of three thick elements, bars or spaces in a total of nine elements for each encoded character. This bar code is used extensively in manufacturing, military, and health applications. The discrete, variable-length format will accept the following 43 characters:
The asterisk (*) is used as the start/stop character and cannot be used in the body of the bar code.

You can also add a check digit that helps to ensure the security of the bar code. Code 39 supports Modulo 43 and xxx-nnnnnnn-c check digit formats used by US Customs for import/export shipping.

Code 128

Code 128 is a variable-length, high-density, alphanumeric format that is used in the shipping and labelling industry. This code has 106 bar and space patterns. Each pattern can have one of three meanings, depending on which of the three character sets is employed. One character set encodes all uppercase and ASCII control characters; another encodes all uppercase and lowercase characters; and the third set encodes the numeric digit pairs 00 through 99. The character set used is determined by the start character.

Code 128 also lets you encode the following four function codes:

A variation of Code 128 format is EAN-128. This symbol uses the same code set as Code 128; however the function codes FNC2 to FNC4 cannot be used, and FNC1 is used as part of the start code. An advanced option of Code 128 in Barcode wizard lets you enable or disable the EAN-128 format. Cod 128 is fully supported in ASCII text.


The European Article Numbering (EAN) system is the European version of the Universal Product Code (UPC). This code is now called the International Article Number; however, the EAN abbreviation remains. EAN codes are found on European retail items.

EAN-8 encodes eight numbers, consisting of two country-code digits, five data digits, and one check digit. An optional two or five digit number can be added to the main bar code. This number is designed for use on publications and periodicals, and appears as an additional bar code to the right of the main bar code.


EAN-13 is the European version of the Universal Product Code (UPC (A)). The difference between EAN-13 and UPC (A) is that EAN-13 encodes a 13th number into the left six number of a UPC (A) symbol. The 13th number, combined with the 12th number, represents a country code.

An optional two- or five-digit number may be added to the main bar code. This number is designed for use on publications and periodicals and appears as an additional bar code to the right of the main bar code.

ISBN (International Standard Book Number) codes are printed on books. This format is not a separate bar code type. ISBN codes have a specific structure and are encoded using EAN-13 bar codes. The bar code is formed by a fixed three-digit country code of 978, followed by the 10-digit ISBN number. The 10th digit or the check digit is discarded. Enter the digits using the x-xxxx-xxxx format. ISBN codes must be numeric.


UPC (Universal Product Code) symbols are used for retail applications in the United States and Canada. UPC(A) is a 12-digit format. The symbol consists of 11 digits of data and one check digit. The first digit usually represents the type of product being identified. The following five digits are a manufacturer's code, and the next five digits are used to identify a specific product. UPC(A) codes must be numeric.

Like UPC(A), UPC(E) is used for retail applications; however, since the bar code is smaller, it is better suited to smaller items. This format is also called "zero-suppressed," because UPC(E) compresses a 12-digit UPC(A) code into a six-digit code. UPC(E) suppresses the number-system digit, trailing digits in the manufacturer's code, and leading zeros in the product identification part of the code.

An optional two or five-digit number may be added to the main UPC(A) or UPC(E) bar code. This number is designed for use on publications and periodicals, and appears as an additional bar code to the right of the main bar code. UPC(E) codes must be numeric.

0Regular UPC codes
2Weight items marked at the store
3National Drug/Health-related code
4No format restrictions, in-store use on non-food items
7Regular UPC codes


PDF417 is a high-capacity two dimensional bar code developed by Symbol Technologies, Inc. A PDF417 symbol can hold approximately 2000 characters of information, whereas a traditional linear bar code has difficulty holding more than 30 characters.

PDF417 symbols are constructed from 4 bars and 4 spaces over 17 modules. The symbol size is from 3 to 90 rows. There is no specified minimum or maximum for X or Y dimension. With at least the recommended minimum level of error correction, the recommended Y dimension is 3X. With less than the minimum recommended level of error correction, the recommended Y dimension is 4X. A quiet zone of 2X is specified on each side of a symbol. Because of delta decode techniques the symbology is immune from uniform bar width growth.

The key characteristic of PDF417 is its large information capacity. This also explains its name. "" stands for Portable Data File. PDF417 is designed with enough capacity to contain an entire data file of information. With traditional linear bar codes, the bar code contains only a key or "license plate". The bar code is read to extract the key, and the key is used to look up the information about the object which has been marked. For example, you read the bar code on a can of peas, get a product number, and use this to look up the needed information, such as price and weight, in a database.

With PDF417, no external database access is needed, because the PDF417 symbol can hold all the information needed an entire portable data file. A box can be labelled, for example, with a single symbol detailing all the individual items in the box.

PDF417 is used today in a wide variety of applications, including logistics & transportation, retailing, health care, government, identification, and manufacturing.


MaxiCode is an error correcting two-dimensional matrix symbol developed by UPS. It is designed specifically for sorting and tracking applications. MaxiCode symbols are constructed of codewords represented by 6 elements that are hexagonal in shape. Generally the 6 elements are arranged in three rows of two elements. Each MaxiCode symbol is of a fixed size, having 866 hexagonal elements arranged in 33 rows around a central finder pattern. Each row has a maximum of 30 elements. Each MaxiCode symbol including quiet zones shall be 32X wide by 35Y. Each element is a hexagon measuring 0.035 inch (0.89 mm) vertically and 0.040 inch (1.02 mm). The size of a MaxiCode symbol is 1.1 inch (28.14 mm) by 1.05 inch (26.65 mm). A quiet zone of 1 X/Y is specified on each side of a symbol or isolated packet.