Barcode Properties Glossary

Barcode Information | Tutorials | Examples

The chart below explains a variety of common properties for linear barcode types. Several of these barcode properties are also used for DataBar and 2D barcode types.

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  Barcode Properties
 Property NameProperty Description
 Application IdentifierAn Application Identifier (AI) defines the purpose of the data in the symbol and how it is to be used. An AI is commonly used in GS1 barcodes.
 Apply TildeWhen set to true in Code 128 Auto and 2D barcode types, the tilde character may be used to encode GS1 Application Identifiers or specific ASCII characters and several additional options are enabled.
 AztecAztec is a two-dimensional (2D) barcode type that uses square modules with a unique finder pattern in the middle of the symbol, which helps the barcode scanner determine cell locations to decode the symbol.
 Back ColorThe background color of the barcode canvas. This setting should be white or transparent to ensure the scanner can easily decode the symbol.
 Bar HeightThe height of the bars in the barcode, usually measured in centimeters (CM). 2.54 CM equals one inch.
Common values are:

1 CM = .4 inches
1.27 CM = .5 inches (commonly used for GS1-128)
1.905 CM = .75 inches
2.54 CM = 1 inch
3.175 CM = 1.25 inches
 Barcode Slot ReaderBarcode slot readers are devices that look similar to magnetic stripe readers but have the capability to read barcodes.
 Barcode VerifierA barcode verifier is a scanning device used to verify a barcode’s tolerance and readability on the printed widths of bars and spaces, and contrast between bars and spaces.
 Bearer BarsHorizontal and Vertical bearer bars are commonly used in Interleaved 2 of 5 and Code 39 to ensure the scanner does not misread if the scanner aiming beam falls off the barcode before it reaches the beginning or end of the symbol. This is measured as a multiple of the X Dimension. The default value of zero disables this option. Valid values are 0-10, with common values being 5 or 6.
 Bull’s eyeA bull’s eye is the center of a target of a Maxicode barcode.
 CaptionsWhen text appears in the caption property, it is displayed in the margin of the barcode. Using captions increases the barcode size and the space between the barcode image and the caption. When it is desired to have complete control over captions, IDAutomation suggests using a separate field.
 CCD Barcode ScannerCCD barcode scanners or readers are durable (because there are no moving parts), low power, maintenance free scanners that read barcodes by taking a linear picture that is quickly decoded.
 Character GroupingDetermines the number of characters between spaces in the human readable interpretation of the barcode to make text and numbers easier to read. Supported values are 0 (which disables grouping), 3, 4 and 5.
 Check CharacterAutomatically adds the check digit to the barcode when true. The check digit is required for all symbologies except Code 39, Interleaved 2 of 5 and Codabar. When using symbologies that do not require the check digit, the check digit may be disabled. The check digit for DataBar and Code 128 is required and therefore cannot be disabled.
 Check Character in TextIf the “Check Character in Text” or “Add Check Digit to Text” option is true, the check digit that is encoded in the barcode will be appended to the human readable text interpretation that is displayed. This option is not valid for DataBar and Code 128 because their check characters include non-printable values.
 Check ReaderCheck readers can read bank checks encoded with either E-13B fonts or CMC-7 fonts and have a magnetic stripe reader option.
 CodabarCodabar is a barcode symbology used for various numeric barcoding applications including libraries, blood banks and parcels.
 Codabar Start & Stop CharactersWithin Codabar, the start and stop characters are A, B, C or D letters. These letters may be used as application identifiers to identify the type of data being encoded.
 Code 128Code 128 is a very high-density barcode symbology. It can encode all 128 characters of ASCII.
 Code 128 SetThe set of characters to be used in Code 128. Valid values are: Auto, A, B or C. IDAutomation recommends using Auto. Characters in the sets may be viewed in the Code 128 Character Set Chart.
 Code 39Code 39 (Code 3 of 9) is the easiest of the alpha-numeric barcode types to use and only requires start/stop characters.
 Code 93Code 93 is a barcode symbology that creates a higher density barcode; it requires two checksums to be calculated.
 Columns (PDF Columns)In the PDF417 barcode type, controls the width or height by setting the number of data columns. When this is left at 0, the product will automatically adjust this setting. Normally, this value is between 5 and 15. The maximum value of 30 is difficult to read by most scanners.
 Combo ReaderCombo readers are devices that can read both barcode and magnetic stripe media.
 Composite DataIn DataBar products, this is the composite data to be encoded above the linear barcode. Not applicable when using PDF417 or MicroPDF417.
 Data MatrixData Matrix is a high-density, two-dimensional (2D) symbology that encodes text, numbers, files and actual data bytes.
 DataBarGS1 DataBar is a barcode type for space-constrained identification from GS1 (Formerly EAN International and the Uniform Code Council, Inc.)
 DataToEncodeThe data that is to be encoded in the barcode. The tilde character may be used in this property for Code 128 and 2D barcode types to encode GS1 Application Identifiers or perform specific functions. Additional data may be included in this property for UPC and EAN barcode types to create 2 and 5 digit add-ons. When using DataBar Expanded, AI’s must be entered manually as parentheses to ensure the proper encoding method. Within Maxicode, all data must be entered as one complete string.
 DPIDots per inch (DPI) is a measure of printing resolution.
 Dynamic Barcode Generator ServiceThe Dynamic Online Barcode Generator Service is an online service that is hosted and managed by IDAutomation. It dynamically creates high-quality images that are streamed to an application.
 EAN-13(European Article Number) renamed International Article Number is a 13 digit barcoding standard. It is used worldwide for marking products. It produces a 13 digit barcode.
 EAN-8European Article Numbering system EAN-8, which consists of eight (8) digits for small packages.
 EncodeEncode means to convert data into another form.
 Encoding ModeThe encoding mode determines how information is encoded in a 2D symbol.

  • ASCII is used to encode data that mainly contains ASCII characters (0-127).
  • Binary is used to encode binary data and bytes of data.
  • BASE256 is used to encode bytes of data or bits of data in 8 bit increments.
  • C40 is used to encode data that mainly contains numeric and upper case characters similar to the Code-39 character set.
  • TEXT is used to encode data that mainly contains numeric and lowercase characters.
  • MaxiCode modes 2-6 specify the carrier type and error correction level.
 Error Correction Level (EC)The Reed Solomon error correction level placed in the symbol. More error correction creates a larger symbol that can withstand more damage. Within PDF417, the error correction level should be increased with the amount of data encoded.
 Fit Control to BarcodeAutomatically sizes the control canvas to fit the barcode.
 FNC1FNC1 is the single character Function Code 1, which specifies that a Code 128 barcode is a GS1-128 code.
 FontUsed to change the font name and point size of the text interpretation or human readable text.
 Font EncoderA font encoder (tool) is an add-in, plug-in, or stand-alone tool designed to format data for a barcode. Data formatting may include adding start/stop characters and/or calculating a check character.
 Fore ColorThe color of the foreground text and bars in the barcode. The default of black should be used to ensure the scanner can easily decode the symbol.
 GS1-128GS1-128 (previously known as UCC-128 and EAN-128) is defined by GS1 and used to create several types of barcode symbols that include Application Identifiers.
 Human ReadableHuman Readable is the data representation of the barcode. It usually appears underneath the barcode.
 Include AI in TextIn DataBar products, determines if the implied GS1 Application Identifier (AI) is displayed in the human readable text. All DataBar barcodes contain an implied AI of (01) with the exception of DataBar Expanded.
 Include Linkage Flag in TextIn DataBar products, determines if the Linkage Flag for the barcode should be displayed in the human readable text. This linkage flag determines if there is a 2D composite barcode to accompany the linear DataBar barcode.
 Intelligent MailIntelligent Mail is a barcode type coined by the United Stated Postal Service (USPS) that is used to track and sort letters and flat packages.
 Interleaved 2 of 5Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF, I2of5) is a numeric only barcode used to encode pairs of numbers. Every two digits are interleaved with each other to create a single symbol
 Is CompositeIn DataBar products, determines if a composite symbol is linked to the linear DataBar barcode by changing the value of the linkage flag.
 ISBNISBN (International Standard Book Number) system is used to automate ordering and inventory systems for book publishers, distributors and retailers.
 ISBTISBT 128 barcode symbology is an international standard based on the Code 128 Barcode for the transfer of information associated with blood transfusion, cellular therapy and tissue transplantation
 Keyboard WedgeA keyboard wedge cable is a Y-cable PS/2 connection where both the scanner and computer keyboard can be used simultaneously while pulling power from the computer to run the scanner.
 Laser ScannerLaser barcode scanners (compared to CCD scanners) are capable of reading longer and smaller density barcodes, as well as increased scanning distances.
 Left MarginThis property adds space to the left margin and when necessary, also adds the same space to the right margin. This property is usually measured in centimeters (CM). Common values are 0.06, 0.1 and 0.2 CM.
 Macro PDF Macro PDF properties allow large amounts of data to be stored in multiple PDF-417 symbols.
 MaxicodeMaxicode is a 2D (two-dimensional) barcode that is currently used by UPS on shipping labels for world-wide addressing and package sortation.
 Micro PDFMicroPDF417 is a two-dimensional (2D), multi-row symbology, derived from PDF417 that encodes up to 150 bytes.
 MILSMILS is 1/1000 of an inch, usually used to determine the with of the narrow bars, also referred to as the X Dimension. To convert from CM, use the formula (Desired CM) * 393 = Mils and round up to a whole number. For example:
.025 CM = 10 MILS
0.03 CM = 12 MILS
.035 CM = 14 MILS
0.04 CM = 16 MILS
 Mod 10A Mod10 may be required when implementing GS1-128 barcodes for various specifications; the AI is usually not included in the MOD 10 calculation.
 Mod 103Mod 103 is a mandatory check digit for Code 128 barcodes. It is not displayed in human readable form because some of the values are high ASCII characters that cannot be entered from the keyboard.
 Mod 43Mod 43 is a checksum value produced by Code 39.
 MSRMagnetic stripe readers (also referred to as MSRs) read drivers licenses, credit cards and other information encoded in the magnetic strips contained in the card.
 Narrow Bar WidthThe X Dimension of the barcode symbol that determines the width of the narrowest bar.
 Narrow to Wide RatioAlso known as the N Dimension, it is the difference between narrow and wide bars of symbologies that only contain narrow and wide bars such as Code 39, Interleaved 2 of 5 and MSI. Common values are 2, 2.5, 2.75 and 3.
 Native EncoderNative Encoder means that the code or the tool used to format the data for the barcode is native to the application or environment. For example, Excel can use VBA code. The Native Encoder is written in VBA and can be imported directly into Excel.
 PCLPrinter Command Language (PCL) fonts are printer fonts that install on PCL compatible printers.
 Portable Memory ScannerPortable memory scanners are easy to carry portable units that can capture and store barcodes data and information.
 PostNetPostal Numeric Encoding Technique is a barcode symbology that is used by the USPS to assist in directing mail. It is generally encoded as the Zip Code, Zip +4, or Zip +4 along with the Delivery Point.
 PQAPrint quality assessment (PQA) is a unique feature in some scanners that verifies and grades several attributes of the barcode symbol.
 Preferred FormatWithin Data Matrix, set the preferred format as represented by a number. Valid values are (-1 for automatic) and from 0 (10X10) to 23 (144X144) and from 24 (8X18) to 29 (16X48). This will be automatically increased if the size of the symbol chosen is too small.
 Quiet ZoneA quiet zone is the blank area on either size of a barcode that is used to tell the barcode scanner where the barcode begins and ends. The linear quiet zone is 10x the narrowest bar and 2D is 1x one module.
 Reed SolomonReed Solomon is an error correction that allows the symbol to endure some damage without causing loss of data.
 ResolutionThe source that is used to determine the resolution the image is drawn to, which creates a more accurate barcode. Default is set to printer. If the custom option is selected, the number residing in the Resolution Custom DPI property will determine the resolution.
 Rotation AngleIndicates the orientation of the barcode. Valid values are 0, 90, 180 and 270.
 Rows (PDF417)The number of minimum rows in a PDF417 symbol. If this setting is 0, the product will automatically adjust this setting. This setting should be 0 because the number of rows should be automatically generated.
 RNC BarcodeRestricted Circulation Numbers (RNC), used for either internal use by companies or for assignment based on business needs by GS1 Member Organizations, are GS1 ID numbers used for special applications in restricted environments. RNC barcodes are created using the UPC/EAN Symbology.
 SC1500 Barcode ScannerIDAutomation Linear Barcode Scanner capable of scanning linear and DataBar barcodes.
 SC5 Barcode ScannerSee SC1500 Barcode Scanner.
 SC7 Barcode ScannerIDAutomation 2D Barcode Scanner capable of scanning Linear and 2D barcodes; it also has a PQA feature.
 SegmentsThe segments property applies only to DataBar Expanded and is changed to a low even number such as 4 or 6 to create a stacked symbol.
 Show TextWhen enabled, the human readable text interpretation will be displayed with the barcode.
 Show Text LocationDetermines if the human readable text is placed above or below the barcode.
 Supp SeparationThe distance between the end of the barcode and the beginning of the supplement for UPC-A, UPC-E, EAN-13 and EAN-8 symbologies.
 SymbologyA symbology is a protocol for arranging the bars and spaces that make up a particular kind of barcode, such as Code 128, Code 39, etc.
 Symbology IDThe symbology or barcode type to be used. To obtain more information about barcode types, visit the barcoding for beginners’ site.
 Text MarginSets the distance between the symbol and the human readable text interpretation, usually measured in centimeters.
 Top MarginThis property adds space to the top margin and when necessary, also adds the same space to the bottom margin. This property is usually measured in centimeters (CM). Common values are 0.03, 0.06 and 0.1 CM.
 TrueType FontTrueType is the most common font technology for everyday use.
 TruncatedIn PDF417, creates a truncated symbol according to the ISO specification.
 UFLUser function library (UFL) is a DLL that is integrated into Crystal Reports. The IDAutomation UFL is designed to encode data.
 Universal Barcode FontA Universal barcode font is a single barcode font that can create multiple barcode types. Its unique encoding allows cross-platform support between Unix, Linux, Macintosh and Windows® systems.
 UPCUniversal Product Code (UPC) is a barcode symbology that is widely used in the United States and Canada for tracking trade items in stores.
 UPC-E SystemThe encoding system to be used in UPC-E; valid values are 0, 1 and Auto.
 White Bar IncreaseA decimal percentage value that increases the white space between bars to improve readability for printers that print darker than normal. For example, a value of 0.20 increases the white space by 20%. Common values are .10, .15, .20 and .25. A decimal value must be entered to enable this feature.
 X DimensionThe X Dimension is the width of the smallest bar or module in the barcode symbol. This also determines the overall size. In many products, this is measured in centimeters (CM). X Dimension MILS is a similar property, which is specified in 1/1000 of an inch increments. The most common value is .03 CM or 12 MILS. The X dimension should be increased if the barcode scanner being used does not dependably decode the symbol. When X Dimension CM and X Dimension MILS are both present, setting one will override the value of the other property. When using USPS IMb, the X Dimension of .05 cm or 20 MILS should be used to achieve a width of between 22 and 24 bars per inch.

Conversion Formulas:  (round the result to practical number)

  • MILS to CM: (Desired MILS) / 393 = CM
  • MILS to MM: (Desired MILS) / 39.3 = MM
  • CM to MILS: (Desired CM) * 393 = Mils
  • MM to MILS: (Desired MM) * 39.3 = Mils
 Conversion Table:


 X to Y RatioThe height multiple of bars in a stacked barcode, which is usually 2 to 5 times the X Dimension. The default value of 3 is the most common.
 Outdated Properties
 Property NameProperty Description
 Resolution Printer to UseThe property was used to get the resolution for the images based on a specific printer in the printer list. This allows printing to a printer that is not the default. This property is no longer necessary when using the current method of printing. Invalid printer names passed into this function will be ignored. A developer may retrieve the list of valid printer name string values by checking the installed printer’s collection. The following C# code snippet loops through all installed printers on a machine and writes the names of the printers to the console:

foreach(string pkInstalledPrinters in PrinterSettings.InstalledPrinters)
{Console.Write("Installed printer name is " + pkInstalledPrinters + (char)10);}
 Verifying Barcodes
 Linear and DataBar barcodes may be read with the IDAutomation USB Barcode Scanner. 2D symbols may be read with a 2D Imager such as IDAutomation 2D Barcode Scanner with print quality assessment.