What Are Code 1 Barcodes?

What do you mean by Code 1 barcodes

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Barcodes have revolutionised data collection and have become a part of industries such as retail and the healthcare industry. Since its inception in 1974, barcode technology has enabled the retrieval of information from various items in seconds.

Introduced in 1991, Code 1 was the first 2-D matrix barcode available in the public domain. Code 1 is based on a matrix of square modules arranged in a rectangular pattern. These barcodes are utilised in both the recycling and healthcare industries.

One of the key advantages of Code 1 is its ability to encode a significant amount of information within a limited space. It can encode a maximum of 2218 alphanumeric characters or 3550 numerical digits.

Code 1 can encode various data types, including ASCII data, function characters, and binary data. This flexibility allows for the encoding of diverse information in the barcode.

In this blog post, we will delve into the features and benefits of Code 1 barcodes.

Join us as we unravel the potential of Code 1 barcodes.

What are Code 1 Barcodes?- A Detailed Explanation

What is a code 1 barcode

Code 1 is a two-dimensional matrix symbology invented by Ted Williams of Laserlight Systems, Inc. in 1992. It was the first matrix symbology that was released in the public domain. Refer to our article on barcode types to learn about different barcode symbologies. 

Code 1 is suitable for both large data file encoding and small item marking applications.

Code 1 has eight distinct versions, ranging from A to H. Each version offers different capacities for data storage, allowing users to choose the most suitable option based on their needs.

One notable feature of Code 1 is its flexibility in shape formatting. While many traditional barcodes are limited to a square or rectangular form, Code 1 can be designed in various shapes, such as L, U, or T. This flexibility in shape allows for adaptability in various applications.

Code 1 uses the Reed-Solomon algorithm for error correction. This helps recover the barcode system, even if partially damaged or distorted. The number of error correction characters is determined by the version used and cannot be changed by the user.  

Code 1 is capable of encoding ASCII data, error correction data, function characters, and binary data.

What is the Purpose of Code 1 Barcodes?

Two uses of Code 1 barcodes

Code 1 barcodes are designed to encode and represent data efficiently. It has found adoption in two distinct industries – healthcare and recycling. 


Code 1 barcodes are utilised in the healthcare industry for patient identification, medication management, and medical equipment tracking.


In the recycling industry, Code 1 barcodes facilitate the tracking and management of recyclable materials, streamlining the sorting processes.

Benefits of Code 1 Barcodes

Three advantages of Code 1 barcodes

Here are some benefits of using Code 1.

Data Storage

Code 1 barcodes are designed to store large amounts of data. They can encode a maximum of 2218 alphanumeric characters or 3550 numerical data digits.

Data Encoding

Code 1 can encode various types of information. This includes all 256 ASCII characters and 8-bit binary data. Code 1 barcodes are suitable for applications that require encoding complex information.

Versatile Size and Shape

Code 1 barcodes offer flexibility in size and shape. They can be generated in eight different sizes, ranging from A to H. Additionally, Code 1 barcodes can be designed in different shapes enabling adaptability to different types of packaging.

How To Recognise a Code 1 Barcode?

Identifying a Code 1 barcode is a relatively easy process.

Code 1 belongs to the category of two-dimensional matrix barcodes. It is characterised by a grid-like arrangement of dark square modules.

When identifying a Code 1, the first thing to look for is the finder pattern within the barcode. This finder pattern is represented by a series of horizontal and vertical bars that intersect in the middle of the symbol.

In addition, Code 1 offers the flexibility to design the barcode in various shapes. It can be designed in L, U, or T shapes. By observing these features, one can identify a Code 1.

List of three points on how to identify code 1 barcodes

Anatomy of a Code 1 Barcode

The Code 1 barcode is composed of the following elements.

  • Finder pattern
  • Data modules

Finder Pattern

The finder pattern is a crucial element of the barcode. This distinctive pattern helps the scanner identify the orientation and boundaries of the barcode. 

In Code 1, the finder pattern consists of horizontal and vertical bars that intersect in the middle of the symbol.

Data Modules

Code 1 is composed of dark and light square modules. These modules represent the encoded data within the barcode.

Versions of the Code 1 Barcode

List of Code 1 barcode versions

Code 1 has eight different versions: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H. Each of these versions has distinct sizes and data encoding capacities.

The table below displays the different amounts of data each version can accept.

Alphanumeric capacity
Numeric capacity
Code 1 ‘A’
Code 1 ‘B’
Code 1 ‘C’
Code 1 ‘D’
Code 1 ‘E’
Code 1 ‘F’
Code 1 ‘G’
Code 1 ‘H’

How to Get a Code 1 Barcode?

Code 1 was the first 2-D barcode symbol available in the public domain. Being in the public domain allows anyone to create and use Code 1 barcodes without restrictions or licensing requirements.

To obtain a Code 1 barcode, you can follow these simple steps.

  • Select a barcode generator: Choose a reliable barcode generator software or online tool that supports the creation of Code 1 barcodes. Ensure that the generator you choose is compatible with your operating system and provides the necessary customisation options.
  • Enter the data: Enter the relevant data you want to encode into the barcode.
  • Select a Version: Select the appropriate version of Code 1, depending on your requirement.
  • Generate the barcode: Click the “Generate” or “Create Barcode” button to generate the Code 1 barcode.
  • Verify the barcode: It’s important to verify its readability before finalising the barcode. Use a barcode scanner or a barcode scanning app on your mobile device to scan the barcode and ensure that the encoded data is correctly captured.

How to Design a Code 1 Barcode?

How to design width and height of different versions of code 1 barcodes

To maximise the effectiveness of your barcodes and labels, it is crucial to understand the designing best practices. This knowledge will help you create error-free barcode designs, ensuring optimal performance.

All Eight Code 1 versions have different sizes based on the amount of data entered. Versions A through H of the Code 1 does not require quiet zones surrounding the barcode.

The following table shows the dimensions of various versions of Code 1. These dimensions are measured in the chosen X dimension. X dimension refers to the width of the narrowest element in a barcode.

Maximum width
Maximum height
Code 1 ‘A’
Code 1 ‘B’
Code 1 ‘C’
Code 1 ‘D’
Code 1 ‘E’
Code 1 ‘F’
Code 1 ‘G’
Code 1 ‘H’

How to Print Code 1 Barcodes? - Printing Best Practices

When working with Code 1 barcodes, it is important to choose a printer that is compatible with them. Initially, Code 1 was only used with certain Intermec printers. Intermec manufactured and supplied automated identification and data capture equipment, including barcode scanners and printers.

Honeywell acquired Intermec on September 17, 2013. This integration led to the merging of Intermec with Honeywell Scanning & Mobility, incorporating Intermec’s innovative products, solutions, and engineering expertise within the Honeywell portfolio. 

Explore our extensive collection of Honeywell products by visiting Triton’s Honeywell printer homepage and Triton’s Honeywell barcode scanner homepage.

Here are some printing best practices to consider.

  1. Set optimal printing parameters: Adjust the printer settings to achieve the desired print quality. Selecting the appropriate settings ensures clear barcode images.
  2. Maintain proper label positioning: Align the barcode label correctly on the printing media to avoid any skewing or distortion.
  3. Check for print defects: Regularly inspect printed barcodes for any printing defects or anomalies. Look for issues like smudging, fading, or misalignment. If any problems are detected, adjust the printer settings or replace the printing media as needed.

By following these printing best practices, you can produce high-quality Code 1 barcodes that are accurate and easily readable.

At Triton, we offer a wide range of thermal printers from top brands, such as  Zebra and TSC, at competitive prices. Our inventory includes dependable direct thermal printers, thermal transfer printers, barcode label printers, desktop printers and industrial printers, barcode printers, and top-notch label printers to fulfil your business requirements. 

We understand the importance of having high-quality printing solutions. That’s why we not only provide top-of-the-line thermal printers but also offer a wide range of thermal print consumables to complement them. 

Our thermal transfer ribbons, thermal labels, thermal carton labels, thermal carcase tags, and food-compliant thermal inserts have all been specifically designed to deliver unbeatable adhesion and long-lasting prints that won’t easily fade or smudge. Whether you need to print barcodes, product labels, or any other information, our thermal consumables will ensure you get the best possible results every time. 

Don’t settle for mediocre label printing solutions that can harm your business. Choose Triton’s renowned thermal printers and consumables, and say goodbye to your printing woes once and for all. Browse our impressive selection now and discover the perfect fit for your business needs.


Code 1 barcodes have played a key role in shaping the barcode landscape as one of the first matrix barcode symbologies available in the public domain.

Since their introduction, Code 1 barcodes have showcased versatility, finding applications in various industries. With their ample data storage capacity and ability to encode many data types, Code 1 barcodes have become an efficient data management and retrieval tool.

We hope this blog post has provided valuable insights into the features, applications, and notable benefits of Code 1 barcodes.

Thank you for joining us on this informative journey exploring the world of Code 1 barcodes!

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