Posted on 2005-04-25
Last Modified: 2013-11-18

Are these the main barcode standards ?
- Interleaved 2 of 5
- Code 39
- Code 128-A/B/C

Which are is the best ? or the easiest to print/read ? or the most common ? What is the benefits and difference between each standard ?

If customer asks me which one to recommend, which one should i pick ? :)
Question by:Fiacre
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    I would say CODE 3 of 9.

    It's what UPS uses.

    It just depends how much data you want to throw into the barcode.

    Alphanumeric (a-z,0-9) 3 of 9 (Code 39) works great.

    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    BILJAX > (a-z,0-9) is 36 characters.... what are the other three ?
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    oh, sorry.

    it's actually 43 characters if you must know.


    You then have to wrap the string in * depending on what scanner you use.
    LVL 6

    Accepted Solution

    - Code 39 Spec:
    - Interleaved 2 of 5:
    - Code 128-A/B/C:

    Makes for some fun reading.
    LVL 6

    Assisted Solution

    It depends on what the implementation requires. If your items are going to retail outlets, a UPC barcode may be in order. For general information, Code 3 of 9 lets you encode full alpha-numeric strings. Extended code 3 of 9 gives you more symbols and differentiates between upper and lowercase information. For long strings, however, code 3 of 9 can quickly become unmanageable.

    More exotic solutions include 2d options such as the PDF417 barcode and UPS's Maxicode. Check out, or google, for a quick list of common codes and their applications. In total, there are well over 100 different symbologies that have been standardized.

    Some significant factors for your solution will include:
    What type of scanner will you be using? They are not all created equal.
    How will your barcode printing be used in practice? There are lots of logistical issues to address.
    Cost? Some solutions may be significantly more expensive.
    What is the specific goal of this implementation? Are you going to reduce typing errors? Speed up shipping? Automate filling out forms? Log transactions electronically?
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    Exactly, we require just a smidge more detail in order to help.
    LVL 5

    Assisted Solution

    It may not matter which one you pick since most barcode scanners will read all the formats and send the data ASCII via USB or serial or keyboard wedge to your PC.

    I use lots of serial barcode scanners with Code 39. Seems to be simple enough for me.
    If you have a lot fo data... i'd consider 2D barcodes.  There's lots of software to print them, and the scanners aren't too much more $.  They are all easy to print and read.  Of course... no one really reads barcodes... the ascii representation under the barcode or above it is optional and for humans ;-)  So, it can be done in any easy to read font... the data format is up to you... what does your data look like?  What do you want on the barcode?

    I use a programming component called systools for Delphi that allows me to create barcodes in the programs I develop.

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