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What Information Does a Barcode Hold?

To understand what information is stored on a barcode, you must first know what a barcode is and how barcodes work. A barcode is an encoded image, usually displayed with black and white lines of varying width that contains vital information easily readable by a machine.

Barcodes store information using symbols that can vary from lines to dots, such as in matrix barcoding. There are many types of barcodes, such as one-dimensional and two-dimensional barcodes, that determine the exact type of data that can be encoded unto it.

When the machine fails to read a barcode, the person can enter the barcode number and get the information required; this is seen frequently in supermarkets and stores.

Also, knowing what barcode information is stored on a specific code will depend on what type of object that barcode is printed on. A barcode found on a grocery item will contain different data than a barcode on your driver’s license for example.

Food barcode information typically houses a short product description that gets referenced to set pricing in many automated checkout systems. Most products that you come in contact with on a day-to-day basis will have encoded information that allows for the store’s checkout system to quickly and easily find and register the product being bought, and its current price, modify the quantity on the database and apply for any existing sales or promotions.

  1. What information is in a 1D barcode?
  2. What are the types of 1D barcodes?
  3. What information does a barcode contain (2D)?
  4. Finding the exact barcode information and doing a barcode information search
  5. How Do Barcodes Work and What Information is Stored on them – QR Codes
  6. Why Use QR Codes?
  7. The Structure of QR Codes
  8. How to Generate and Scan a QR Code
  9. What is the smallest size of a barcode?
  10. BarCode Types and Applications

Watch this brief video and discover what info is stored on a BARCODE:

What information is in a 1D barcode?

One-dimensional barcodes also referred to as linear barcodes, can only store information horizontally from left to right. They are the simplest types of codes that can be read by any barcode scanner rapidly.

The drawback is the limited amount of space available in 1D barcodes, which downsizes how much information a barcode can hold.

Linear barcodes can hold anywhere between 8-25 characters, but the more information that is stored the bigger the barcode gets. Imagine the size of a linear barcode if a person wishes to store even a paragraph’s worth of characters!

It is for this sole reason that many businesses settle within a range of 8-15 characters, which keeps the barcode at a respectable and printable size.

This set of 8-25 characters can be used to store product descriptions, customer or item identification, pricing, tracking barcode information, and more. Essentially, any type of data can be stored in a 1D barcode, excluding special characters. Remember that a single letter counts as one character and it is why many industries prefer the more modern 2D barcodes for data storage.

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What are the types of 1D barcodes?

There are several types of 1D barcodes. These include the following.

  • UPC (Universal Product Code) barcode is predominately used in America, the UK, New Zeeland, Australia, and a couple of other countries. There are two types of UPC barcodes, which are UPC-E and UPC-A. The UPC-E can encode only six digits, while UPC-A encodes twelve digits. The UPC barcode is mainly used in the retail industry.
  • EAN (European Article Number) barcode is predominately used in Europe. UPC barcodes are similar to the EAN barcode. Just like the UPC barcode, the EAN barcodes are of two major types. These types are EAN-8 and EAN-13. EAN-8 barcodes encode eight digits, while EAN-13 encodes thirteen digits. The EAN-13 is quite flexible as it can encode large chunks of data within a tiny space. EAN barcodes are mainly used in the retail industry.
  • There are other types of EAN barcodes, which are ISSN (International Standard Serial Number), ISBN (International Standard Book Number, and JAN (Japanese Article Number).
  • Code 39 barcodes are utilized in several industries in the US. The American defense and automotive industries significantly use this type of barcode. Code 39 barcodes are alphanumeric and can encode up to 39 characters. Newer versions encode 43 codes.

Code 39 barcode only encodes small-density data. It is unsuitable for use on small items. Code 30 barcode is commonly used because of its versatility as almost all barcode readers can read this type of barcode.

  • Code 128 barcode makes use of ASCII characters. It is a high-density barcode that is mainly used by the transportation and logistics industries. Code 128 is used primarily for non-POS items or processes, which may include the shipment of packages.

The ASCII characters of code 128 encode a wide variety of information. This characteristic of code 128 makes it ideal for use in high information-density applications. Packaged items are best managed using code 128 as it can encode extensive linear data within a compact framework.

  • The healthcare and logistics industries make use of Codabar barcodes. Many blood banks and shipping companies used this type of barcode. Codabar barcodes are easy to print. It allows for the storage of a maximum of 16 characters. FedEx is an example of a famous company that uses this type of barcode.
  • ITF-14 – This symbology combines the POS codes we discussed earlier and the logistics barcode Code 128. It’s also commonly used in trade but exclusively for things that don’t require POS contact. It’s a fantastic choice for printing barcodes on corrugated cardboard since it can handle high printing tolerances.
  • A 14-digit number is required per the symbology’s standards. The 14-digit constraint does not apply to the more general 2 out of 5 standards, utilizing symbology encoding.

What information does a barcode contain (2D)?

Two-dimensional barcodes are more complex than their counterparts, permitting users to accumulate anywhere between 1-2,000 characters of encoded data. 2D barcodes encrypt data horizontally and vertically, which allows for more versatile use.

In order to read these types of barcodes, however, no ordinary barcode reader can be used. It requires the use of an image scanner.

A great advantage of using 2D barcodes is the ability to use any keyboard character, including the ones that fall under a special category, giving the user an endless manner of referencing and cross-referencing encoded data.

Similar to the 1D barcodes, 2D barcodes have the same uses and more. Inventory tracking, sale registry, supply chain management, mobile marketing, and logistics are just a few other uses that can be given to these types of barcodes.

An added perk to 2D barcodes is the possibility of encoding images or links unto a barcode that can be uploaded or accessed via an image scanner, such as a smartphone’s camera.

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Generating QR Code

Finding the exact barcode information and doing a barcode information search

If you are determined in investigating the exact information that a particular barcode has stored, then you will need to do a bit of work.

The first step is finding out what type of barcode you are dealing with. Afterward, you can look for downloadable software or online websites that can decode (or read) that type of barcode. Once you have the software or converter set up, you will be able to find the encoded information.

An online search will result in thousands of possible locations to decode your barcode. It is wise to choose a safe and reliable source if you are going to upload sensitive data or download software to your electronic device.

Many modern-day barcodes can actually be read by your smartphone’s camera so checking to see if your phone is compatible with barcode reading technology can be a simple and easy way to decode any given barcode.

Another way of decoding the barcode in question is by buying an actual barcode or image scanner. This is only recommended if you will be reading numerous barcodes for a period of time because it can be costly in the long run. One dimensional barcode readers tend to be cheaper than 2D barcode scanners.

The data that is found can be further encoded according to the owner of the business’s discretion. For example, it may only be a list of numbers or letters that mean nothing to you but can be easily understood by the system that created it.

Therefore, it is a good idea to have a general understanding of how a barcode works and the types of barcodes that exist in order to further decipher the information.

How Do Barcodes Work and What Information is Stored on them – QR Codes

A Quick Response Code (QR Code) is a type of 2D matrix barcode trademark. It was invented in Japan in 1994 for use in the automotive industry. Like a barcode, a QR code is an optical label that contains information attached to it. They’re machine-readable.

The information stored in QR codes often points to a site or an app. The code stores locator, identifier, or tracker info in the form of various standardized encoding modes such as numeric, binary/byte, alphanumeric, and kanji. Extensions can also be used to hold barcode information efficiently.

The QR code system offers fast readability and great storage capacity. As a result, it increased in popularity and found use in other industries, unlike the standard UPC information barcodes. QR codes find use in time tracking, extracting product information by barcode tracking, document management, item identification, and overall marketing.

A QR code comprises of a white background with black squares organized in square grids. Imaging devices such as cameras and barcode readers use the Reed-Solomon error correction to interpret QR codes. Data stored in the vertical and horizontal elements are extracted from the QR code patterns.

Why Use QR Codes?

Unlike traditional barcodes, QR codes store up to a hundred times more data. Moreover, you can scan QR codes from any direction and at any angle up to 3600. Therefore, there’s a reduced risk of interference in the background and the QR code becomes easier to read.

QR codes are widely used to monitor information about items in a supply chain. They are frequently utilized in marketing, and advertising efforts since many smartphones have built-in QR scanners. More recently, they’ve been crucial in tracing coronavirus exposure and slowing the virus’s transmission.

QR codes are unique and interesting, making it easier to engage customers in marketing campaigns. You can download a free QR code reader to your smartphone. Use QR code generators to create QR codes.

What Information does a Barcode Contain – The Structure of QR Codes

What information is in a barcode?

Upon glancing at QR codes, the pixel patterns checkered black and white look like random small crossword puzzles. Take a close look, and you’ll spot specific structures on QR codes.

Wondering what information is stored on a barcode? Quick Response codes are square and feature the following elements for accurate reading with a scanner or QR code reader.

A barcode includes information about products such as their price and weight, production and expiration dates, manufacturer’s name, and so forth. A multinational organization set up, for this reason, assigns barcodes. Every product in the world does indeed have a unique barcode.

  • Positioning Markings – these markings showcase the direction of the printed code.
  • Alignment Markings – these markings help orientate large QR codes.
  • Time Pattern – the lines help determine the size of the data matrix.
  • Version Barcode Information – provides a specific version of the QR code in use. Although QR codes are available in up to 40 versions, only the first 7 versions are in use.
  • Format Information – the patterns store format information on the data mask pattern, and the error tolerance makes it easier to use a scanner to read the QR code.
  • Keys for Error and Data Correction – this is where the actual data is stored in the QR code.
  • Quiet Zone – the spacing the scanner uses to differentiate the QR code from its surrounding environment.

What information is not stored on a barcode?

Barcodes contain details about a product such as the size, type, and manufacturer. However, it doesn’t contain price information, which is often stored in a database. Point of Sale (POS) software or machine helps to match product information on a barcode with the stored price of the product.

What happens if a QR Code is damaged?

The data keys contain redundancies or data duplications to ensure that QR codes can still be scanned and read even if they get damaged.

QR Codes, also known as error correction codes, may withstand up to 30% structural damage and still work. The pixelated bits of a QR Code are multiplied so that if one is broken, the others compensate, and the data is still transmitted to the scanner.

Therefore, up to 30% of damages occurring to the QR code structure doesn’t affect the code’s readability.

How much information can be stored in a QR Code?

Are you wondering what type of information is stored in a QR code?

A QR code can store characters, digits, special characters, and punctuations such as colons. Phrases and words such as web addresses can also be stored in the codes. The structural complexity and size of the quick response code are directly proportional to the amount of information it holds.

QR codes may carry up to 3 kilobytes of data. Multiple rows and columns make up QR codes, and a grid of modules is created by combining these rows and columns (squares). The maximum number of rows and columns is 177, which means the highest number of components is 31,329.

How much info can a QR code hold?  As mentioned, 4296 characters and 7089 digits.

How to Generate a QR Code

How is information stored in a QR code?

Use a QR code generator to create codes using any web browser. Put the URL of the website you want visitors to go to when they scan the QR code. Optionally, you may modify your QR code by choosing a frame, changing the form and color, or adding a logo.

Whether you use an app or a web-based code generator, select the code type you want to generate and enter the data you want to store in the code. When done, click on “Create QR Code” to generate the code. Finally, choose an appropriate QR code format and download the code.

What is the smallest size of a barcode?

Barcodes usually come in different sizes. 2D barcodes can be miniaturized to a very small quantity of about 0.125 inches. The bar code measures 1.175 inches broad by 0.816 inches high at this magnification. A bar code may be as tiny as this and yet be scanned. Below this size, it is challenging to produce a pattern that an image scanner can read correctly. The lower the size of the barcode, the less the number of characters it can encode. Furthermore, a barcode printer with a good resolution is required to print a barcode that an image scanner can read.

How to Scan a QR Code – How to Get Product Information from a Barcode

Install a QR code scanner app on your phone or barcode reader, start the solution, and run your smartphone camera over the code to scan it. The scanner then auto extracts the encoded barcode info such as action or address from the code if it’s readable.

Types of QR Codes

  • Model 1 and 2 QR Codes
  • Micro QR Code
  • IQR Code
  • SQRC
  • Frame QR
  • HCC2D

QR Codes Application

QR codes find use in the following application areas:

  • Augmented reality to help determine object position in 3D spaces.
  • Mobile operating systems with built-in QR code readers. Phones with such OS don’t require an external app to read QR codes. They support URL redirection that enables metadata to be transmitted to existing device apps. QR code scanning apps work in the same way.
  • Redirecting URLs from smartphones for instant access.
  • Virtual stores allow users to scan the QR codes of products from home or in retail stores to access information such as coupons.
  • QR code payment in countries such as China and India. The codes are used to store credit card or bank account information to facilitate payments. Cryptographic currencies such as Bitcoin use QR codes to store transaction information, payment addresses, and cryptographic keys to share with digital wallets and support payments.
  • Verified smartphones are used to scan QR codes on websites or computer login screens. The smartphone contacts the server to perform authentication.
  • Smartphones are used to scan QR codes for Wi-Fi networks to extract encryption type, static SSID, and passphrase or passwords to log into networks.
  • Funerary used to give access to virtual tombstones in Japan and Uruguay.
  • Scanning TOTP secrets to create time-sensitive one-time passwords.
  • Encrypted QR codes as in the Japanese immigration system on the landing passports permission stamps.
  • QR codes are also used in video games and loyalty programs.

Are you looking for a QR code reader or generator for your business? Contact us for more information.


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