Check Your Answers to our Quiz!

encryptedA couple of weeks ago we presented a fun quiz to test your knowledge of commonly used barcodes. If you haven’t taken our quiz yet, we present it again. See if you can identify all the barcode formats without looking at the answers!




A – Code 39

The first alpha-numeric symbology developed and is widely used in non-retail environments. Code 39 is a variable length, discrete barcode specification that defines 43 characters, consisting of uppercase letters (A through Z), numeric digits (0 through 9) and a number of special characters (-, ., $, /, +, %, and space). An additional character (denoted ‘*’) is used for both start and stop delimiters.

Code 39 is the standard bar code format used by the Department of Defense and the Health Industry Bar Code Council (HIBCC).

B – Aztec Code

Aztec barcodes are very efficient two-dimensional (2D) symbologies that use square modules with a unique finder pattern in the middle of the symbol. Characters, numbers, text and bytes of data may be encoded in an Aztec barcode. Aztec code has the potential to use less space than other matrix barcodes because it does not require a surrounding blank “quiet zone”.

The Aztec code is widely used in the transportation industry, and is used by airlines for the electronic boarding passes.

C- MaxiCode

MaxiCode is a public domain, machine-readable symbol system originally created and used by United Parcel Service in 1992. Suitable for tracking and managing the shipment of packages, it appears as a 1 inch square, with a bullseye in the middle, surrounded by a pattern of hexagonal dots. It can store about 93 characters of information, and up to 8 MaxiCode symbols can be chained together to convey more data. The centered symmetrical bullseye allows MaxiCode symbols to be scanned even on a package traveling rapidly though automated conveying systems.

D – Code 128

Code 128 is a very high-density linear symbology that encodes text, numbers, numerous functions and the entire 128 ASCII character set (from ASCII 0 to ASCII 128.)

Code 128 specifies a combination of 6 bars and spaces for each character except the Stop character, which uses 7. Thus, each character begins with a bar and ends with a space (with the exception of the stop character, which ends in a bar). The United States Postal Service (USPS) uses Code 128 barcodes for many special services such as delivery confirmation.

E – PDF417

PDF417 is a stacked linear barcode symbol format used in a variety of applications, primarily transportation, identification cards, and inventory management. The 417 signifies that each pattern in the code consists of 4 bars and spaces, and that each pattern is 17 units long.

PDF417 is one of the formats (along with Data Matrix) that can be used to print postage accepted by the United States Postal Service, by the airline industry for paper boarding passes, and by FedEx for package labels.

F – QR Code

QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode first designed for the automotive industry in Japan. The code consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square pattern on a white background. QR codes have become common in consumer advertising and smartphone users can read a code with an app and convert the code to a URL.

G –  High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB)

The HCCB or MS Tag is Microsoft’s technology of encoding data in a 2D barcode using clusters of colored triangles instead of the square pixels traditionally associated with 2D barcodes or QR codes. By using a palette of 4 or 8 colors in the triangles, the tag allows for greater data density.

The Microsoft Tag application gives people the ability to use a mobile phone’s on-board camera to take a picture of a tag, and then be directed to information in any form, such as text, vCard, URL,

H – Data Matrix

A Data Matrix code is a two-dimensional matrix barcode consisting of black and white “cells” or modules arranged in either a square or rectangular pattern. The most popular application for Data Matrix is marking small items, due to the code’s ability to encode fifty characters in a symbol that is readable at 2 or 3 mm  and the fact that the code can be read with only a 20% contrast ratio.

The Data Matrix is scalable, with commercial applications as small as 300 micrometres (laser etched on a 600 micrometre silicon device) and as large as a 1 metre (3 ft) square (painted on the roof of a boxcar).

The United States of America’s Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) recommends using Data Matrix for labeling small electronic components.

I – UPC Code

The  Universal Product Code (UPC) is widely used for tracking trade items in stores and is probably the most familiar. It consists of 12 numerical digits, that are uniquely assigned to each trade item. Along with the related EAN barcode, the UPC is the only barcode allowed for scanning trade items at the point of sale, per GS1 standards.

Each UPC barcode consists of a scannable strip of black bars and white spaces, above a sequence of 12 numerical digits. No letters, characters, or other content of any kind may appear on a standard UPC barcode.

J – GS1-128

GS1-128 is a subset of Code 128 and is used extensively worldwide in the shipping and packaging industries as a product identification code for the container and pallet levels in the supply chain. GS1-128 uses application identifiers to specify additional data, such as batch numbers, quantities, use-by dates, or other data needed by the user.

So how did you do on our quiz?



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