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 Bar Code Standards

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High Tech Aid offers Knowledge about AIDC technologies such as RFID and barcode as well as NFC and Internet of ThingsIn the barcode arena, AIM has long been the traditional source of the technology standards. The most used of the AIM standards have now been adopted by ISO and can be obtained from the ISO organization.

The ISO bar code standards are:



ISO/IEC 15417 Bar code symbology specification - Code 128
ISO/IEC 15420 Bar code symbology specification - EAN/UPC
ISO/IEC 15424 Data carrier identifiers (including symbology identifiers)
ISO/IEC 15424 Bar code symbology specification - PDF417
ISO/IEC 16022 Bar code symbology specification - Data Matrix
ISO/IEC 16023 Bar code symbology specification - Maxicode
ISO/IEC 16388 Bar code symbology specifications - Code 39
ISO/IEC 16390 Bar code symbology specifications - Interleaved 2-of-5
ISO/IEC 18004 Bar code symbology QR Code
ISO/IEC 24723 EAN.UCC Composite bar code symbology specification
ISO/IEC 24724 Reduced Space Symbology (RSS) bar code symbology specification
ISO/IEC 24728 MicroPDF417 bar code symbology specification
ISO/IEC 24778 Aztec Code bar code symbology specification

Current status

For those bar code symbologies that are not published as ISO standards, you can visit AIM (http://www.aimglobal.org) to find the specification.

Linear Matrix Stacked/Packet Composite
Code 128 Aztec Code Code 16K EAN.UCC Composite
Code 39 QR Code Code 49 Aztec Mesas
Code 93 Code One Codablock F   
Code 93i  Data Matrix  SuperCode   
Codabar  Dot Code  A Micro PDF 417   
Channel Code MaxiCode PDF 417   
Interleaved 2 of 5       
Reduced Space Symbology        

Symbology standards are also available from other organizations. For example, the U.P.C. and EAN symbologies are available from UCC and EAN. Most proprietary symbologies are only available from their respective inventors.

What is a Symbology Standard?

A symbology specifications give all the details necessary to print or scan a barcode. The documents range from 8 pages to 120 pages, so you can see that there is a lot of information needed to create a barcode.

Looking at a standard from a very simplistic level, it must contain:

  • A definition of the width of the bars and the spaces.

  • A method to define each character that is encodable (whether numeric only or full ASCII).

  • The start and stop characters

  • Any check character support built in

  • Any free space needed around the symbology to allow for a clean decode

From these basic definitions, it then gets to be complicated as error correction becomes a factor and as we start to talk about non-linear symbologies. With some of the two dimensional symbologies allowing the encodation of several kilobytes of data, on a symbol that may be several square inches in size, it become important to fully define the "rules" for a symbology.

Need to know more about ISO Standards?

What are Standards?
Learn how ISO works
Learn about ISO/IEC SC31 standards