Barcode technology is one of the most efficient ways for businesses of all sizes to manage and track inventories. It is an ideal alternative to manual-based inventory and tracking because it eliminates costly errors. Businesses have the option of using free 1D or 2D barcode generators online or barcode generator software.
1D Barcode Types
EAN-13 and EAN-8: These numbered barcodes are used outside of the U.S. on consumer products scanned at points of sale (POS) such as groceries and clothing. The numbers 13 and 8 refer to the number of digits in the barcode.
UPC-A and UPC-E: Like EAN-13 and EAN-8 barcodes, these codes are number-based. They are used inside the United States but also in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
Code 128: This powerful code is a more recent invention. The number 128 refers to the fact that it can hold any ASCII-128 character set. It’s often used for logistics, distribution, and transportation for non-POS products. Although it is compact, it is also high density.
Code 39: Originally, this alphanumeric-based code could only encode 39 characters. However, a recent version boosted the number of characters to 43. While not as compact as Code 128, it has full ASCI support. The U.S. Department of Defense and automotive industry use Code 39 on a regular basis.
Code 93: Similar to Code 39, this code offers additional security inside the alphanumeric barcode. Its high-density, compact labels are also approximately 25% shorter than Code 29 barcodes. The Canadian Post uses Code 93 for supplementary information.
Codabar: Logistics and health care professionals use Codabar because it can be printed on any type of printer, and is even readable on dot matrix printers. Businesses can encode up to 16 characters and an additional 4 stop/start characters.
POSTNET: The United States Postal Service uses this numbers-based code to categorize mail. A full bar, or guard rail, appears at the beginning and end of the code.
Most people are familiar with 1D barcodes, some of which encode only numbers and others that encode any keyboard character. Here are some of the most common codes on 1D barcode generators:
2D Barcode Types
Businesses that need to store more information while taking up less space may prefer 2D barcodes, which require an image scanner to read. In 2D barcode types, two-dimensional codes represent data using two-dimensional symbols and shapes.
Datamatrix Code: This numbers-based code has a high fault tolerance and allows for fast readability. It’s use is to label small items and documents and is ideal for small products in logistics and operations.
PDF417: Also a numbers-based code, PDF417 is used for storing huge amounts of data because it can hold over 1.1 kilobytes. The government relies on the powerful PDF417 code for fingerprints, photographs, and signatures. Generating barcodes, whether with a free barcode generator or barcode label software, is a fast and effective way to ensure data accuracy. Once generated, barcodes can then by scanned with wired or wireless barcode scanners.