Code 39 is a 1-dimensional barcode (1-D), which is used to represent the traditional recognized barcode style. 1-D barcodes have different widths and spaces of the lines, but are linear. Its name stems from the original character limit of 39.

Characteristics of Code 39 (3 of 9):

  • Encodes 43 characters

  • Alphanumeric

  • An asterisk represents the start/stop, but is optional in text

  • Commonly found in automotive and the United States Department of DefenseĀ 

CODE 128

Code 128 is also a 1-D barcode. Code 128 is useful in bigger industries for transportation and distribution with a non-point of sale (POS). Code 128 is a combination of 3 subsets (A, B, C) each allowing for different levels of density and character sets. This is represented in the beginning bars of the barcode.

Code 128:

  • Encodes 128 characters of American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII)

  • Alphanumeric or numeric characters

  • Contains large amounts of data in a small space

  • Commonly found in supply chain


Quick Response (QR) codes, which are commonly known as 2-dimensional (2-D) barcodes or matrix codes, are viewed both horizontally and vertically. 2-D codes are capable of holding more information. QR codes have the accessibility to be scanned using a laser scanner and are commonly viewed on a smartphone device.

QR code:

  • Alphanumeric or numeric characters (more than 100)

  • More flexibility

  • Email addresses, names, and other customer information

  • Commonly found in retail, entertainment, and advertising

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