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1D and 2D Barcodes Advantages and Disadvantages

Linear Barcodes; Advantages and Disadvantages

  1. Linear and 2-D Barcodes
  2. Typical usage of barcodes
  3. Types of barcodes
  4. Linear Barcodes: Advantages and Disadvantages
  5. 2D Barcodes: Pros and Cons

Linear and 2-D Barcodes

In this new day and age technology, a barcode is a system that represents visual data that is readable by scanning machines. Barcodes, initially, was represented with a range of spaces and sizes of parallel lines.  Now there are 2D barcodes that are represented through matrix codes. The matric code is a combination of dots and shapes, a geometric pattern. There are no “bars” in 2D barcodes.

Barcodes can be described as optical morse codes. They are a series of linear or geometrical patterns that uniquely labels products, individually. These barcodes can be decoded through barcode scanners. These scanners emit a red light that reads the barcode and transmits the data stored in a system or a computer.

Barcodes have now become an essential part of almost every Brick and Mortar Company. You will rarely find a product without a barcode Tag. Different types of barcodes are used for different purposes in business sectors. There are several advantages of using barcodes as compared to manual data entry.

Typical usage of barcodes include:

  • Tracking sale and purchase of a large number of items in an inventory.
  • Barcodes are pasted sports tickets that allow one to enter a sports arena.
  • Barcodes are often placed on gift tokens that when decoded tells which gift that token corresponds.

There are several reasons to prefer Barcodes over manual data entry. Following are some of the advantages of barcodes over manual data entry:

  • Barcodes are extremely fast to generate and read.
  • Barcodes eliminate the possibility of human error in data entry.
  • A wide variety of barcodes exists which serve different purposes, they are extremely versatile.
  • Barcodes are inexpensive to print.
  • The inventory control through barcodes is very efficient.
  • Barcodes make obtaining data easy.
  • Barcodes are user-friendly, it saves up on employee training time.
  • Using barcodes eliminates human-errors.
  • Barcodes provide high-speed tracking systems.

Many retailers use barcodes for inventory control, it is essential to the success of the company. Through the retail barcode system, companies can manage their inventory cycle counts, point-of-sale checkouts, sales analysis, and purchases. The efficiency and methodology of barcodes help a business stay ahead of their game.

Types of barcodes

There are two major types of barcodes:

  • 2-D Barcodes

2D barcodes are a combination of patterns consisting of squares, dots, rectangles, etc. While appearing smaller physically, 2D barcodes have the capacity to hold a larger amount of data. This plays a key role in the advantages of 2D barcodes as it can hold up to 2000 characters.  However, this is also a setback because it makes scanning and reading of data all the more complex and difficult.

  • 1-D or Linear Barcodes

Linear barcodes are usually found on products or consumer goods. A series of lines are used to encode information when scanned. It is read horizontally. The advantages of linear barcodes are enjoyed by large retail sectors, as it saves time and increases inventory accuracy. The length of this type of bar code is directly proportionate to the amount of information it holds. This is one of the major disadvantages of linear barcodes, users are forced to put a limit of 8-15 characters in the barcodes.

Linear Barcodes: Advantages and Disadvantages

Linear barcodes are commonly referred to as first-generation barcodes. These barcodes consist of vertical lines at specific gaps resulting in a particular pattern.  Hardware scanners are used to scan these patterns and decode the information stored in those particular patterns. These barcodes are also commonly called discrete, one dimensional or UPC barcodes. The examples of linear barcodes are  Code 39, EAN-8, EAN-13, EAN 128, UPC-EUPC-A, ISBN, etc.

Advantages of Linear Barcodes

  • In linear barcodes, vertical lines are used to store data; hence data is generated in one direction which is easier to generate as compared to generating data in multi-dimensions.
  • Linear barcodes are easier to scan. Just like barcode generation, barcode decoding is also done in one direction which is easier to perform.
  • No special hardware or software is required to scan these barcodes and a simple and inexpensive scanner can be used to generate and scan linear barcodes.
  • The implementation of barcodes reduces labor costs. Setting up an entire data-collection system is way cheaper than employing someone for manual data entry.
  • It improves production management. Through barcodes, one can record, track, transmit, and manage their production of items with great ease.
  • The linear barcode scanner is inexpensive, it has larger range and good motion tolerance.

Disadvantages of Linear Barcodes

  • Linear barcodes can only store a small amount of data. In order to store a large amount of data in linear barcodes, it has to be stretched horizontally with additional vertical lines and spaces resulting in large barcodes.
  • Barcode, once distorted cannot be scanned correctly. Small damage, the line at the start or end of the barcode can modify or destroy the data stored in the barcode.
  • For decoding linear barcodes external database is required. This increases the tedious management and upgradations required for the logistics required for linear barcodes.

Companies utilize barcodes for efficiency in their business flow. It provides a system to store and track information about the goods and services provided. Barcodes give you the capacity to maintain individual data about a product that is manufactured in hundreds of millions. By and large, choosing a barcode depends on many factors. Your selection comes down to your industry’s regulations, requirements, and expectations.

Understanding the character set that will support your business needs. Linear barcodes have utilization in product-oriented industries. Where these products are sent to various destinations. They can be scanned online with a handheld scanner. Linear barcodes boost efficiency in the retail sector.

Whereas, 2D barcodes are helpful in tracking products. 2D barcodes can be scanned by various individuals through their own devices. It helps in quick identification of data. The Linear barcodes can be scanned by barcode readers, which is the marked optical scanner. 2D barcodes of the other hand can be read through application software on devices with an inbuilt camera, like mobile phones.

2D Barcodes: Pros and Cons

2D barcodes are more complex and store data in the form of a matrix or stack. Stacked 2D barcodes contain data in the form stacks of linear barcodes whereas matrix 2D barcodes store data in the form of hexagonal, square, or circular cells. They can store data in both vertical and horizontal directions.

Advantages of 2D barcodes

  • These barcodes can store a much larger amount of data ranging up to thousands of alphanumeric characters.
    • Error correction formula can be embedded into barcode which helps in the retrieval of data in case barcode is damaged up to 15 to 20%.
    • Variety of data can be embedded into these barcodes such as numeric, binary, text, and Unicode data.

Disadvantages of 2D barcodes

  • Specialized hardware and software scanners are required to generate and decode these barcodes which can be expensive.
    • Complex algorithm needs to be designed for 2D barcodes which make things much complex as compared to linear barcodes.

bytescout.com Barcode Generator and Barcode Reader SDK

If you want to take benefits from the capabilities if the barcode and want to generate linear and 2D barcodes, you should definitely check our BarCode Generator SDK. It contains amazing barcode generation capabilities both for linear and 2D barcodes. Similarly, if you want to scan and read barcodes from pictures, PDF, TIFF files or web camera – check our BarCode Reader SDK”


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