Bar Code Types

The GS1 System provides several types of bar code for use by GS1 members depending on the application. The reasons for this vary but because different bar code types have different strengths and weaknesses, GS1 selects the bar code that best fits the application the best. The bar codes used by GS1 include EAN/UPC, GS1 DataBar, GS1-128, ITF-14, GS1 DataMatrix, GS1 QR Code and Composite Component.

Our Bar Code Gallery shows a sample of all GS1 bar code symbols

Key Concepts

EAN/UPC

  • EAN/UPC: example bar codeAre specified for retail Point-of-Sale (POS) because they are designed for the high volume scanning environment
  • Used at POS and in logistics must be printed larger than the "target" size to accommodate logistics scanning
  • Limited to carrying GS1 Keys and special identifiers for restricted applications like variable measure trade items and internal numbering
  • See examples

GS1 DataBar

  • RSS: example bar codeA family of symbols that can be scanned at retail point-of-sale (POS), are smaller than EAN/UPC and can carry additional information such as serial numbers, lot numbers of expiry dates.
  • A subset of GS1 DataBar bar codes designed for use at POS are being considered by a GS1 Board Task Force for future adoption because GS1 DataBar can carry all GS1 Keys and attributes and do so in a smaller space than EAN/UPC
  • GS1 DataBar symbols are already approved for global use on healthcare items that do not cross POS
  • See examples
  • Find out more about GS1 DataBar

GS1-128 (previously referred to as UCC/EAN-128 or EAN-128)

  • GS1-128: example bar codeGS1-128 (UCC/EAN-128) bar codes can carry all GS1 Keys and attributes but cannot be used to identify items crossing POS
  • See examples

ITF-14

  • ITF-14: example bar codeITF-14 bar codes can only carry GTINs, can be printed directly on corrugated cartons, but cannot be used to identify items crossing POS
  • See examples

 

GS1 DataMatrix

  • Data Matrix: example bar codeGS1 DataMatrix is a "2D Matrix" symbol and is becoming increasingly the symbol of choice for many in healthcare 
  • Because GS1 DataMatrix requires camera based scanners it is currently specified for healthcare items not crossing POS and direct part marking
  • See examples
  • Download GS1 DataMatrix Brochure

 

GS1 QR Code

  • GS1 QR Code is a "2D Matrix" symbol
  • Data Matrix: example bar codeBecause GS1 QR Code requires camera based scanners it is currently restricted for use with applications that will involve imaging scanners within mobile devices and not for Point Of Sale (POS) processing
  • See examples

 

Composite Component

  • Composite Component is the only "2D linear" symbol specified by GS1
  • It is called a component because it is only used with a linear bar code like GS1-128 or RSS
  • See examples

Key Questions

 

Bar Code Gallery


 

EAN/UPC  
UPC-A: example bar code
  • UPC-A Version
  • 12 Numeric
  • GTIN-12 and Select Applications
  • Omnidirectional (for Point-of-Sale)
EAN-13: example bar code
  • EAN-13 Version
  • 13 Numeric
  • GTIN-13 and Select Applications
  • Omnidirectional (for Point-of-Sale)
UPC-E: example bar code
  • UPC-E Version
  • 12 Numeric, zeros suppress according to rules
  • GTIN-12 with lead "0" and Select Applications
  • Omnidirectional (for Point-of-Sale)
EAN-8: example bar code
  • EAN-8 Version
  • 8 Numeric
  • GTIN-8 and Select Applications
  • Omnidirectional (for Point-of-Sale)
GS1 DataBar  
RSS-14: example bar code
  • GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional
  • 14 Numeric
  • GTIN - 8,12, 13, 14
  • Omnidirectional
RSS-14 Stacked: example bar code
  • GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional
  • 14 Numeric
  • GTIN - 8,12,13,14
  • Omnidirectional
RSS-14 Stacked: example bar code
  • GS1 DataBar Expanded
  • Maximum 74 Numeric/ 41 Alphanumeric
  • All GS1 keys and Application Identifiers
  • Omnidirectional
RSS-14 Stacked: example bar code
  • GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked
  • Maximum 74 Numeric/ 41 Alphanumeric
  • All GS1 keys and Application Identifiers
  • Omnidirectional
RSS Limited: example bar code
  • GS1 DataBar Limited
  • 14 Numeric
  • GTIN - 8, -12, -13, and -14
  • Lead digit 0 or 1
  • Not Omnidirectional
RSS-14 Truncated: example bar code
  • GS1 DataBar Truncated
  • 14 Numeric
  • GTIN - 8,12,13,14
  • Not Omnidirectional
RSS-14 Stacked: example bar code
  • GS1 DataBar Stacked
  • 14 Numeric
  • GTIN - 8,12,13,14
  • Not Omnidirectional
GS1-128  
GS1-128: example bar code
  • GS1-128
  • 48 Alphanumeric capacity
  • Carries Application Identifiers
  • Unique GS1 Identifier
  • Not Omnidirectional
ITF-14  
ITF-14: example bar code
  • ITF-14
  • Interleaved 2 of 5
  • 14 Numeric
  • GTIN - 12,v -13, -14
  • Not Omnidirectional
GS1 DataMatrix  
Data Matrix: example bar code
  • GS1 DataMatrix (version ECC 200)
  • 3116 Numeric capacity
  • 2335 Alphanumerics capacity
  • Carries Application Identifiers
  • Unique GS1 Identifier
  • Camera-based (imaging) scanners only
GS1 QR Code  
QR Code: example bar code
  • GS1 QR Code is a subset of ISO/IEC QR Code 2005
  • 7089 Numeric capacity
  • 4296 Alphanumeric capacity
  • 2953 Bytes capacity
  • Carries Application Identifiers
  • Camera-based (imaging) scanners only
Composite Component  
Composite Component: example bar code