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MobileDemand's Guide to Barcodes

barcode-guide-bannerFrom retail to hospitals and field services to supply chain, barcodes have been used since 1974 to increase efficiency and engagement. They enhance data management and are becoming more dynamic in their usage. There are multiple types of barcodes, however, so how do you know which is the best option for your business? 

Registered vs Random 

First you need to establish if the barcode needs to be registered. If an item will only be used within an organization internally, it can be random. However, if an item with a barcode will be used outside of your organization it needs to be registered. GS1 is a globally accepted standard that enables unique barcodes to be designated to individual products preventing barcodes from getting crossed and unable to use. 

1D vs 2D 

Most commonly seen by consumers, 1D barcodes are a simple array of vertical black and white lines with varying thickness. Scanners use light or lasers to read the code from left to right, interpreting and conveying the stored data. A UPC is an easily recognizable type of 1D barcode. 2D barcodes are also popular, as they can increase customer engagement across multiple industries. Using a smart phone, people can scan a QR code and instantly be linked to a website or other promotion. 

Types of 1D Barcodes 

  • UPC: Universal Product Codes are used in retail to identify a particular item and track inventory from production to point-of-sale. This barcode has two variations: First, UPC-A encodes twelve numerical digits, and second, UPC-E encodes six. 
  • EAN: European Article Numbering System barcodes are setup just like UPCs, but are used for retail point-of-sale in Europe. Also with two variations, EAN-13 can encode large amounts of data from a small area, while EAN-8 is better for very small products. 
  • Code 39: Designed for character self-checking, Code 39 barcodes eliminate the requirement for check character calculations. This barcode is commonly used in the automotive and defense industries. 
  • Code 128: These barcodes use highly dense, alphanumeric symbology to aid in logistics and transportation industries. They are used for non-POS products, such as a container packed with multiple items, in supply chain operations. 
  • ITF: Interleaved 2 of 5 barcodes are used to label packaging materials, as they are ideal for printing on corrugated cardboard. This barcode only encodes numbers, and does not require a check digit. 

Types of 2D Barcodes 

  • QR Code: Commonly used for tracking in retail, entertainment, and advertising, QR codes are extremely versatile. The size is flexible and they have exceptional fault tolerance. They can be scanned on nearly any device with scanning abilities, like smartphones, but cannot be read by a laser. 

Creating Barcodes 

There are many options available to create unique barcodes, but many of these services come with a fee. At MobileDemand, we offer a free barcode generator so you can keep your business running as efficiently as possible. Simply put in your unique barcode number and fill out the boxes, and in no time you'll have your barcode generated. 

MobileDemand’s barcode generator is capable of making EAN-13/UPC-A, EAN-8, QR, ITF, Code 39, and Code 128 barcodes. We also have the option to make either barcode images that can be downloaded as a PNG, PDF, or GIF file. Or you can create multiple barcodes, even sheets of barcode labels, allowing you to print more barcodes faster. 

Use our barcode generator to create printable and scannable barcodes in a matter of seconds.