How Much Data Can Be Stored in a Barcode?

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Barcode labels are available in a variety of styles with different exclusive designs. Barcodes use symbols that range from lines to dots to store the information. In addition, the type of object on which a barcode is printed will determine what information is recorded on that barcode. There are different types of barcodes, but, it's essential to consider the differences between them, and how much data can be stored on a single label.

Why is Barcode so essential?

Nowadays, Barcodes are very essential in various sectors such as healthcare, post offices, retail stores, airways, manufacturing industries, etc. There are some following reasons that indicate why barcode is essential to your business-

  • ✅ It tracks and maintains the products and services.
  • ✅ It improves the productivity and efficiency of a business organization.
  • ✅ It reduces the amount of time, required to record the data
  • ✅ It eliminates the possibility of human data input errors.

Representation of Barcode

barcode representation

A barcode is a method of encoding data into black bars and white spaces that can be read by a barcode scanner. The bars present on the barcodes represent the numbers and characters. The thickness of the black bars usually represents the digits 0 or 1, but the order in which they appear represents a number between 0 and 9. The barcode scanner will read these black bars and white spaces and converted them into the information that your computer system can recognize.

How much Data can a Barcode Store?

Barcode contains a lot of details about the product such as name, size, price, weight, manufacturing and expiry details, etc. How much information a barcode will store depends on what type it is. Generally, there are two types of barcodes, linear barcodes, and 2d barcodes where 2D barcodes can store more information than linear barcodes. First, we will talk about the linear barcodes-

Data Storage Capacity in Linear Barcodes


The information stored in the linear barcode is horizontally from left to right. They are the most basic codes and any barcode scanner can read them quickly. There is only a limited amount of space available in the linear barcodes which decreases their capacity to store the information.

Universal Product Code (UPC)

These codes are used to track retail products across the globe. It is a barcode with a GTIN-12 number under it.

Barcode UPC Length 11 digits
Check Digit 1 check digit Character Set numeric [0..9]
Applications Used to boost the checkout process and keep track of stock counts in warehouses, grocery stores, and other retail locations.
European Article Number (EAN)

These barcodes are similar to the UPC barcodes. The key feature of EAN barcodes is their flexibility.

Barcode EAN Length 12 digits
Check Digit 1 check digit Character Set numeric [0..9]
Applications Widely used by manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers to identify and mark the products. These codes are recognized worldwide.
Code 39

These are one of the oldest barcodes that are used to label large-sized products due to their low density.

Barcode Code 39 Length variable
Check Digit optional (Mod. 43) Character Set [A-Z] [0-9] [-.$/+%]
Applications Used by U.S. Defense Department, Healthcare Industries, and automobile manufacturers to check automotive parts.
Code 128

These high-density barcodes are capable to store a wide range of information in a small amount of space.

Barcode Code 128 Length variable
Check Digit Mod 103 Character Set ASCII (128 characters)
Applications Used in supply chain management, inventory control, membership cards, distribution system, and asset labels.

These barcodes have the benefit of being easy to scan and self-checking, which avoids errors while entering the code

Barcode Codabar Length variable
Check Digit optional (Mod. 16) Character Set [0-9] [-$:/.+]
Applications Used by healthcare, delivery service, airbills, bookstores, and other applications to encode huge amounts of information more effectively.

Data Storage Capacity in 2D Barcodes


2D Barcodes encrypt data both vertically and horizontally, making them more flexible in use. It can represent more data than linear barcodes. 2D barcodes are created to keep data secure and scannable even if they are scratched or damaged. These high-density barcodes can hold up to 7089 characters per label.

PDF 417

These barcodes are used in signatures, fingerprints, and photographs to store large volumes of data.

Barcode PDF 417 Length 1108 bytes, 1850 alphanumeric or 2710 numeric
Check Digit Error Correction Character Set ASCII
Applications Used in transportation networks, logistics systems, document management, and identification cards.
Data Matrix

These codes are designed to label small electronic equipment. They have great error detection and are quickly readable.

Barcode Data Matrix Length 1556 bytes, 2335 alphanumeric or 3116 numeric
Check Digit Error Correction Character Set ASCII
Applications Used in laser marking, postal services, logistical operations, automotive engineering, and medical centers.
QR Code

These codes are used in monitoring and marketing purposes like ad campaigns, magazines, letterheads, etc.

Barcode QR Code Length 2953 bytes, 4296 alphanumeric or 7089 numeric
Check Digit Error Correction Character Set ASCII
Applications Used on packaging products, quick cashless payments, item tracking, gift messages, suitcase tags, and social media links.
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