One-dimensional(1D) codes and two-dimensional(2D) codes have gradually become indispensable elements of life in the development of our society. Most of the one-dimensional barcodes that exist on product packaging, and the two-dimensional codes that integrate links to facilitate our browsing of a website.
So, do you really know the difference between a 1D barcode and a 2D barcode?
They are quite different in the following ways:
More Dimensions of Data
A 1D barcode is simply a series of black and white stripes that encode information linearly. A one-dimensional barcode only expresses information in one direction (generally the horizontal direction), but does not express any information in the vertical direction, and its certain height is usually to facilitate the alignment of the reader. The familiar 1-D barcode has been used for Universal Product Codes (UPCs) at retailers’ point of sale for over 50 years.
However, a 2D barcode looks like a barcode that stores information in a two-dimensional space in the horizontal and vertical directions. A 2D barcode can store more data than a barcode because it has another layer of information capacity. It can directly display English, Chinese, numbers, symbols, graphics and so on.
As an example, a two-dimensional code, Data Matrix, can store 2,335 alphanumeric characters, while a one-dimensional code can only store 8-25 characters.
This ability to store more data enables data-rich 2D technology to encode more complex information in less space, making it ideal for inventory management.
Y-Axis Redundancy Ensures Accuracy
One-dimensional and two-dimensional barcodes are encoded differently. With 1D codes, the data is only encoded in one direction – this means errors can occur when reading the data, or if anything gets corrupted during reading.
A QR code uses two axes to encode data which allows it to contain more information. This feature makes them better for managing inventory because it allows more information to be added to each barcode.
Y-axis redundancy allows multiple scans per product to ensure accuracy by stacking redundant lines on top of each other.
More Types of Data are Encoded
Currently, barcodes can encode two types of data. The first is one-dimensional (or linear), including numeric or alphanumeric characters. For example, such information may include product identifier codes such as UPC, EAN, GTIN, ISBN, and ISSN.
Second, the types of data encoded in 2D barcodes go beyond alphanumeric characters. This flexibility of data types is one of the key things that makes them so powerful for inventory management.
Most 2D barcodes can store a lot of useful information such as: names, business cards, addresses, website URLs, product details, dates and other binary data.
Where and How They are Used
1D tends to be used in scenarios where the data is subject to change — for instance, contents of a container or pricing.
On the other hand, 2D barcodes are often utilized where space is limited, where there may not be database connectivity available, and when larger amounts of data are needed.
Special Scanning Technology is Required
To read 2D barcodes, special scanning techniques are required. This makes sense — data encoded in multiple dimensions needs to be interpreted in multiple dimensions to be useful.
This is why scanners that can only recognize one-dimensional barcodes cannot extract the data information in two-dimensional codes.
But the technology is becoming more common as it’s built into devices like smartphones and tablets. Devices capable of reading QR codes are gradually becoming more diversified.
Poor Contrast Can Affect Scans
One thing to consider when working with 2D barcodes is the contrast between the code and its background. If there is not enough contrast, it may be difficult for the scanning device to interpret the information correctly.
That’s why DPM code scanners exist.
The difference between a 1D code and a 2D code is generally expressed as the above content. If you know other differences, let’s discuss it in the comments!