Which barcode symbology should I use?

When trying to select a barcode symbology, first try to find out if your industry or application requires a particular symbology. For example, publishers are typically required to mark their books using ISBN barcodes while periodicals typically use ISSN barcodes. If you are marking your product for retail stores, UPC-A is the symbology used to identify products in the US, while EAN-13 is used in Europe and many other parts of the world. Japan uses JAN-13 which is a essentially an EAN-13 barcode.

If you intend to use barcodes for an in-house or general purpose, and therefore don't have restrictions from outside organizations, look for a barcode symbology that matches your needs. For example, if you are encoding a combination of text and numbers, select a barcode that has the ability to encode alpha-numeric data. Code 128 andCode 39 are good choices for general barcoding needs.

If you need to encode a large amount of data such as name and address information for an ID card, a 2D barcode such as DataMatrix or PDF417 is probably the best choice. 2D barcodes are much more powerful than 1D barcodes but the cost of 2D scanners is somewhat higher than 1D scanners.

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