The Difference Between 1D and 2D Barcode Scanning

The Difference Between 1D and 2D Barcode Scanning

2021-10-12 By UNIWA

Do you know the difference between 1D And 2D barcode scanning? Many customers know little about it in detail when they first start looking at label and date code verification. Here’s our short guide explaining the main differences between the two. Please keep reading on.

1D Barcode

A 1D barcode (also known as a linear code) is a visual black and white pattern, using variable-width lines and spaces for encoding information. That information- such as numbers or other keyboard characteristics- is encoded horizontally from left to right.

1D barcodes hold a limited number of characters, typically 20-25. In order to add more numbers, the barcode must be longer. The most familiar 1D barcodes are those common UPC codes found on grocery and consumer items.

A 1D barcode depends on database connectivity in order to be meaningful; after a scanner reads the numbers in the code, they must be linked back to product or pricing data, or other information.

2D Barcode

A 2D (two-dimensional) barcode is a graphical image that stores information both horizontally, as one-dimensional barcodes do, and vertically. As a result of that construction, 2D barcodes can store up to 7,089 characters, significantly greater storage than is possible with the 20-character capacity of a unidimensional barcode.

2D barcodes are also known as quick response codes because they enable fast data access. 2D barcodes are often used in conjunction with smartphones. The user simply photographs a 2D barcode with the camera on a phone equipped with a barcode reader.

The reader interprets the encoded URL, which directs the browser to the relevant information on a Web site. This capability has made 2D barcodes useful for mobile marketing. Some 2D barcode systems also deliver information in a message for users without Web access.


Main differences between 1D and 2D barcode 

Item 1D Barcode 2D Barcode
Amount of Data Stored 20-25 Characters 7,089+ characters
Error Correction Cannot be damaged Can be damaged and restored with error correction
Shape Horizontal & rectangular Square, rectangular or circular
Popular Industries Retail, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Logistics, Transportation Marketing, Advertising, Food Services, Electronics, Automotive, Engineering, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Warehousing, Aerospace, Telecommunications
Read data Horizontally Vertically and Horizontally
Scan Position Upright Any

Although there is a difference between 1D and 2D barcode scanning, both 1D and 2D barcodes can be valuable tools in the enterprise. The kind of barcode (or combination of barcodes) you select will depend on the specific requirements of your application, including the type and amount of data you need to encode, the size of the asset/item, and how and where the code will be scanned.

If you are interested in barcode scanners and want to see our products in action, please click here to know more information about our barcode scanners. For all other inquiries about our products and services, click here to Contact Us. We are confident that, together, we can help increase your company’s productivity and lower your costs!


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