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Linear or 1D Barcode Symbologies
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Barcodes in their most familiar format — a series of varying-width parallel bars and spaces — have been with us for over 25 years. These linear, or 1D (one dimensional as opposed to two dimensional bar codes) symbologies continue to be the most widely used optical recognition technology. Well over 100 encodation schemes or symbologies have been invented over the years, with roughly 20 reaching international standardization.

Further information about the common uses of these symbologies is provided in the Industry Applications Table.

The most common 1D (linear) symbologies are:  

 Code 128, a very high-density barcode symbology, is currently used extensively world wide in shipping and packaging industries. The symbol can be as long as necessary to store the encoded data. It is designed to encode all 128 ASCII characters, and will use the least amount of space for data of 6 characters or more of any 1-D symbology.
 The Universal Product Code or UPC barcode was the first bar code symbology widely adopted. Its birth is usually set at April 3, 1973, when the grocery industry formally established UPC as the standard bar code symbology for product marking. Foreign interest in UPC led to the adoption of the EAN code format, similar to UPC, in December 1976.
 Code 39, pioneered by the defense and automotive industries, is an alphanumeric barcode. The symbol can be as long as necessary to store the encoded data. It is designed to encode 26 uppercase letters, 10 digits and 7 special characters. It can be extended to code all 128 ASCII characters by using a two character coding scheme.

 Interleaved 2-of-5 (ITF), an all numeric code, was once used in the package delivery industry but replaced by Code 128. The symbol can be as long as necessary to store the encoded data. The code is a high density code that can hold up to 18 digits per inch when printed using a 7.5 mil X dimension. A check digit is optional.

 Codabar can encode the digits 0 through 9, six symbols (-:.$/+), and the start/stop characters A, B, C, D, E, *, N, or T. Codabar is used in libraries, blood banks, the overnight package delivery industry, and a variety of other information processing applications.

 Code 93 offers higher information density for alphanumeric data than either Code 39 or Code 128. Code 93 is used primarily by Canada Post to encode supplementary delivery information. Every symbol includes two check characters.

 Channel Code is a family of linear (one-dimensional) bar code symbols designed for encoding strings of 2 to 7 digits in the least symbol length possible.

 Telepen is a bar code symbology designed in 1972 in the UK to express all 128 ASCII characters without using shift characters for code switching, unlike Code 128, while only using two different widths for bars and spaces. Unlike most linear bar codes that specify the encodings for each representable character, Telepen only defines four basic bar-space modules:

 GS1 DataBar [formerly Reduced Space Symbology (RSS)] is a family of linear components of composite symbols. GS1 DataBar is widely used in the healthcare industry for both pharmaceuticals and medical/surgical products. GS1 DataBar has been identified to solve problems in the grocery industry where there had previously been no machine readable marking or there was inadequate information encoded.

 PosiCode is a "position" based symbology, while most single width symbologies are presence/absence symbologies. Two variations of this code are allowed: PosiCode A, and PosiCode B.

 PosiCode A is optimal for applications where: 1) the mark width approaches the resolution of the reader, or 2) the accuracy of mark placement cannot be well controlled.

 PosiCode B is optimal for applications where the mark width must be larger than the G dimension (between 1G and 2G), due to limitations of the marking technology.

 Have more questions? Contact us today to learn more!

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