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 the 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, current price, modify the quantity on the database and apply for any existing sales or promotions.
Watch this brief video and discover what info is stored on a BARCODE:
One dimensional barcode 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 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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There are several types of 1D barcodes. These include the following.
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.
The ASCII characters of the 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.
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.
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.
Quick Response Code (QR Code) is a type of a 2D matrix barcode trademark. It was invented in Japan in 1994 for use in the automotive industry. Like a barcode, 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.
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.
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.
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.
The data keys contain redundancies or data duplications to ensure that QR codes can still be scanned and read even if they get damaged. Therefore, up to 30% of damages occurring to the QR code structure doesn’t affect the code’s readability.
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.
How is information stored in a QR code?
Use a QR code generator to create codes. 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.
Barcodes usually come in different sizes. 2D barcodes can be miniaturized to a very small quantity of about 0.125 inches. 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.
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.
QR codes find use in the following application areas:
Are you looking for a QR code reader or generator for your business? Contact us for more information.