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What Is a 2D Barcode?: The Basics, Explained

Barcodes have a long history, going all the way back to a grocery store in 1974

Since their creation, barcodes have evolved several times over. And they’re no longer only used in grocery stores either! Most smartphones even have barcode scanners built into them now. 

While barcodes started as linear symbols, they’ve since evolved into 2D barcodes. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about a 2D barcode!

What Is a 2D Barcode?

There are two main types of barcode formats: one-dimensional (1D or linear) and two-dimensional (2D). Both formats are simple representations of complex information which is stored in a database. 

When it comes to a 2D vs 1D barcode, the main difference is the amount of information they represent. Because their layouts are so different, the label formats need different types of technology to read them. One of the most common applications of barcodes is on labels in stores. 

This means companies have to commit to using either 1D or 2D barcode labels and use them consistently. A 2D barcode label can only be read by imagers, whereas 1D barcodes can be read by traditional laser scanners. 

How Do 2D Barcodes Work?

1D barcodes represent information using vertical lines and spaces of varying thicknesses. This creates a string of seemingly random lines and spaces, but when scanned directly translates to simple information. 

2D barcodes use this concept but incorporate horizontal lines too. This means instead of vertical lines only, the barcode becomes a grid or matrix made up of varying sizes of blocks and spaces. 

Benefits of 2D Barcodes

2D barcodes store a lot more information than linear barcodes. The quality of this information is also more complex, so these barcodes can be used effectively in a wider variety of settings. 

A 2D barcode is excellent for inventory management because of this complex information. Instead of simply including a price and an item name in the code, extra information like dates or locations can be included too. 

Another bonus of 2D barcodes is their use in marketing. One of the most popular types of 2D barcodes is a QR code. These are often connected to websites or specific web pages. 

Using them in marketing means you can attach extra information to posters, making the poster itself more eye-catching. They’re also an indicator that a company is tech-savvy, which can be helpful in remaining relevant in the current media landscape. 

If you’re operating a store or business that requires a lot of information on labels, it might be time to upgrade to 2D barcodes. Check out these barcode label printers to get started. 

Using a 2D Barcode

A 2D barcode is an evolutionary way to represent data and makes storing information much easier. There are several benefits of using 2D barcodes instead of linear ones. 

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