What Are GS1 Databar Barcodes?

What are GS1 Databar Barcodes

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Advancements in barcode technology have revolutionised industries that rely on tracking and managing inventory. One of the most notable and widely used barcodes today is the GS1 DataBar barcode. 

GS1 DataBar is an industry-standard barcode symbology developed by GS1 that encodes item identification numbers and supplementary data in a compact format. First Introduced in 1999, the GS1 DataBar barcode serves as a replacement for the EAN/UCC composite symbology, offering a more efficient and versatile solution to inventory management. 

Read on to learn more about how GS1 DataBar codes work, their benefits for businesses, and some best practices for implementation.

What is a GS1 DataBar Barcode? - A Deep Insight

GS1 Databar Barcode

The GS1 DataBar was formerly known as Reduced Space Symbology (RSS). It was officially renamed in 2010 to avoid confusion with the already popular Really Simple Syndication (RSS) XML Feed technology.

The GS1 DataBar barcode has become increasingly popular since its official launch in 2011 when it became an industry-established standard for coupons in U.S. retail stores.

GS1 DataBar is intended to bridge the gap between traditional barcodes and RFID technology, which allows for even more detailed information about a product’s identity and location.

The development of GS1 DataBar has made tracking items throughout the supply chain easier than ever by encoding extra information such as lot numbers, expiration dates, weight and other data points into each barcode symbol. 

GS1 Databar has the ability to store more information in less space than other traditional barcode formats. This makes GS1 Databar barcode symbology ideal for applications that require small items, such as those found in fresh foods, retail, healthcare and pharmaceutical markets. 

The GS1 DataBar barcode supports variable-length data content and does not require quiet zones around the symbol. To ensure accuracy and reliability, the GS1 DataBar uses an implicit checksum based on Modulus 79. 

Overall, the GS1 DataBar is a barcode standard that offers many advantages over its predecessors.

Why Do We Need GS1 DataBar Codes?

Six uses and benefits of GS1 Databar Codes

The GS1 DataBar barcode is an important tool for businesses in the modern age. This barcode is used to provide information at the point of sale.

DataBar barcodes are much more compact than traditional codes like UPC or EAN barcodes, making them suitable for use on smaller items. The amount of data that can be encoded in a DataBar symbol is also significantly more than its predecessors allowing it to store more information, such as an item’s expiry date or batch number. 

The benefits of using GS1 DataBar are summarised below. 

  • GS1 DataBar can encode the entire 14-digit GTIN, eliminating the need to use UPC and EAN symbols.
  • The standard GS1 DataBar barcode is smaller in size than UPC-A & EAN-13 barcodes.
  • Quicker scanning than UPC and EAN codes.
  • Less chance of scan errors than an EAN and UPC barcode because of the advanced modulus 79.

Types of GS1 DataBar Barcode

The GS1 DataBar series includes seven variations; four are used at the point of sale, and three are for specific, non-retail applications. 

The different variations of GS1 DataBar are. 

  • GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional barcode
  • GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional barcode
  • GS1 DataBar Expanded barcode 
  • GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked barcode
  • GS1 DataBar Limited barcode
  • GS1 DataBar Stacked barcode
  • GS1 DataBar Truncated barcode
 

Let us take a deep look into each GS1 Databar barcode type. 

GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional Barcode

Six points on GS1 Databar Omnidirectional

GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional is a 14-digit barcode symbol that can encode Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) such as GTIN-8, GTIN-12, GTIN-13, and GTIN-14. It also supports the encoding of the Global Coupon Number (GCN).

GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional barcode is designed for use in retail point-of-sale applications and, as the name suggests, can be read omnidirectionally. GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional contains a check digit that uses the modulo 79 algorithm. 

GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional Barcode

Six points about GS1 Databar Stacked Omnidirectional

GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional is a type of GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional barcode. 

GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional is a symbol that is split into two lines by a separator pattern. It is designed for use in retail point-of-sale. 

GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional barcode supports encoding 14-digit numeric data streams and encoding of Global Coupon Numbers (GCNs) and Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs).

GS1 DataBar Expanded Barcode

Seven points about GS1 Databar Expanded

GS1 DataBar Expanded is a type of barcode symbology used to encode supplementary data in addition to Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN) and Global Coupon Numbers (GCN). Despite not having ‘omnidirectional’ included in the name of the barcode, the GS1 DataBar Expanded can be read omnidirectionally. 

GS1 DataBar Expanded symbols can encode up to 74 numeric or 41 alphanumeric characters, including special characters such as exclamation points, question marks, colons, hyphens, semi-colons, asterisks and more. Additionally, this barcode symbol includes a check digit using the modulo 211 algorithm for error correction.

The GS1 DataBar Expanded includes attributes such as sell-by date, weight, lot number, expiration date and serial numbers. It also supports the Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC)-18 numbering when encoding application identifier “00.”

GS1 DataBar Expanded is one of four DataBar symbols developed for retail point of sale.

GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked Barcode

List of eight points about GS1 Databar Expanded Stacked

GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked is a barcode that uses two rows to store data, separated by a separator pattern. 

GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked barcode symbology is designed for use in retail point-of-sale applications. This barcode can encode additional data, such as a sell-by date, lot number or expiration date, in addition to the GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) or GCN (Global Coupon Number). 

GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked can be read omnidirectionally and supports the Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC)-18 numbering structure when the “00” application identifier is used.

Refer to our SSCC label guide to learn more about SSCC labels and SSCC barcodes.  

The characters supported by GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked include all numeric digits (0–9), uppercase and lowercase letters (A–Z and a–z), special function character FNC1 and special characters like exclamation marks (!), quotation marks (“), per cent sign (%) among others. It also contains a check digit that uses the modulo 211 algorithm.

GS1 DataBar Limited Barcode

List of six features of GS1 Databar Limited

GS1 DataBar Limited is a fixed-length symbology used for applications where space is extremely limited and omnidirectional scanning is not required. It encodes Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) that begin with “0” or “1”.

GS1 DataBar Limited has a data capacity of 14 numeric digits, including a check digit. The check digit of GS1 DataBar limited uses the modulo 89 algorithm. Due to its compact size, GS1 DataBar Limited is used primarily in the healthcare industry.

GS1 DataBar Stacked

Seven features of GS1 Databar Stacked

GS1 DataBar Stacked is similar to GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional but has a reduced height of 13 modules or less, which prevents it from being read omnidirectionally.

GS1 DataBar Stacked encodes 14-digit numeric data streams, including Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs).

GS1 DataBar Stacked only supports numerical digits 0 to 9 and contains check digits that utilize the modulo 79 algorithm for error correction.

GS1 DataBar Truncated Barcode

Seven features of GS1 Databar Truncated

GS1 DataBar Truncated is a barcode symbol that is used to encode a 14-digit numeric data stream. It supports the encoding of the four different types of Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs): GTIN-8, GTIN-12, GTIN-13, and GTIN-14.

The GS1 DataBar Truncated has a check digit, which uses the modulo 79 algorithm for error correction.

Please note that GS1 DataBar Limited, GS1 DataBar Stacked and GS1 DataBar Truncated can only be scanned by a linear hand held or imaging scanning device.  

GS1 DataBar Barcode Anatomy

The GS1 DataBar family comprises seven distinct symbologies, four explicitly made for point-of-sale use, while the remaining three are not. Each symbology is unique in its capacity and its structure.

Let’s have a look at the structure of different GS1 DataBar codes:

GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional Structure

Detailed structure of GS1 Databar Omnidirectional Barcode

The GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional barcode is designed to encode up to 14 digits of data. The GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional barcode comprises 46 bars and spaces in a total of 96 modules. 

The GS1 DataBar symbol contains four main elements. 

  • Left guard pattern
  • Left pair of symbol characters with a finder pattern between
  • Right pair of symbol characters with a finder pattern between
  • Right guard pattern
 

The first digit of the barcode serves as a flag to indicate whether it is part of a composite barcode or not. It is followed by 13 data characters split into four groups called “symbol characters” and interspersed between the two finder patterns. 

The two outside characters (first and third) are 16 modules wide, each with four bars and four spaces. 

Similarly, the inside characters (second and fourth) have 15 modules wide, four bars and four spaces, while the finders patterns have 15 modules wide, each with either three spaces and two bars or two spaces and three bars, depending on their position in the code.

GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional Structure

Detailed structure of GS1 Databar Stacked Omnidirectional Barcode

The GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional are stacked symbols consisting of a top and bottom row. 

The top row contains the left half of the GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional code. This left half includes the left guard pattern, first symbol character, finder pattern, and second symbol character, followed by a one-module bar and one-module space guard pattern. 

The bottom row contains the right half of the code. This right half includes the fourth symbol character, finder pattern, third symbol character, and right guard pattern. 

The GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional code is separated by a separator pattern. Both rows must be at least 33 modules tall for omnidirectional scanning capability. The quiet zone is not required for scanning this type of bar code.

GS1 DataBar Expanded Structure

Detailed structure of GS1 Databar Expanded Barcode

The GS1 DataBar Expanded barcode is a variable-length symbol that encodes up to 74 numeric or 41 alphanumeric characters. 

The structure of the GS1 DataBar Expanded barcode comprises four main elements. 

  • Left guard pattern
  • Check digit
  • One to eleven triplet sequences
  • Right guard pattern
 

The left guard pattern consists of a narrow space and a narrow bar, while the right guard pattern contains a narrow bar followed by a narrow space.

The triplet sequences comprise two data characters and one finder pattern for each group. 

Each data character occupies 17 modules made up of four bars and four spaces. While each finder pattern is 15 modules wide, consisting of five bars and spaces in total. 

The first digit is used as an indicator flag to determine whether the DataBar Expanded is part of a composite barcode or not.

GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked Structure

Structure of GS1 Databar Expanded Stacked Barcode

The GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked barcode comprises three components.

  • Top row
  • Separator pattern
  • Bottom row
 

The top row contains a left guard pattern (narrow space, narrow bar), a check digit, an even number of symbol characters (with a finder pattern between each symbol character pair) and a right guard pattern (narrow bar, narrow space). 

The separator pattern works to separate multiple rows of data. It has a height of three modules. 

The bottom row consists of the left guard pattern, at least two symbols with finder patterns and the right guard pattern. 

The height of each row must be 34 modules to ensure omnidirectional readability. There is no requirement for a quiet zone around the symbol.

The GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked barcode can contain from two to 11 rows of data depending on the amount of information encoded.

The Structure of GS1 DataBar Limited

Detailed structure of GS1 Databar Limited Barcode

The GS1 DataBar Limited barcode comprises 74 modules, with 46 bars and spaces distributed among five elements. The elements are.

  • Left guard pattern (narrow space, narrow bar)
  • Left symbol character
  • Check digit
  • Right symbol character 
  • Right guard pattern (narrow space, narrow bar, wide space)
 

The height of the symbol must be at least ten modules to be scanned correctly.

The first digit is a flag that indicates whether the barcode is part of a composite barcode. 

The remaining 13 digits comprise the data characters. These data characters are encoded in two data characters which are 26 modules wide, containing seven bars and seven spaces each. 

Between data characters lies an 18-module check character containing seven bars and seven spaces. The quiet zone around the symbol is not necessary for it to function properly.

GS1 DataBar Stacked Structure

Detailed anatomy of GS1 Databar Stacked Barcode

The GS1 DataBar Stacked barcode integrates two rows of information, known as the top row and bottom row, which together form a complete barcode symbol. 

The top row is made up of the left half of the DataBar Omnidirectional code, consisting of a left guard pattern, first symbol character, finder pattern and second symbol character. This is followed by a guard pattern of a one-module bar and one-module space. 

The separator pattern follows the top row and separates it from the bottom row. 

The bottom row comprises a guard pattern (one-module bar and one-module space) followed by the right half of the code consisting of the fourth symbol character, finder pattern, third symbol character and right guard pattern.

The total height for the GS1 DataBar Stacked barcode is 13 modules, with five modules in the top row and seven modules in the bottom row. Additionally, no quiet zone is required for GS1 DataBar Stacked barcode structure.

GS1 DataBar Truncated Structure

Detailed structure of GS1 Databar Truncated Barcode

The GS1 DataBar Truncated barcode consists of 46 bars and spaces arranged into 96 modules, with each module representing a binary unit – either a “bar” or a “space”. 

The GS1 DataBar Truncated barcode symbol’s structure contains five main elements – two pairs of encoded symbol characters, two finder patterns and two guard patterns.

The left guard pattern consists of a narrow space followed by a narrow bar, while the right guard pattern consists of a narrow bar followed by a narrow space. These bars help to distinguish the GS1 DataBar Truncated barcode from other symbols. They also provide visual cues for scanning devices.

The first element is the flag character which indicates whether the barcode is part of a composite barcode. This is followed by 13 data characters split into four groups known as ‘symbol characters’. 

These symbol characters are interspersed between the two finder patterns, each having four bars and four spaces arranged differently. 

The outside characters (first and third) are 16 modules wide, while the inside characters (second and fourth) are 15 modules wide. 

Each finder pattern is 15 modules wide, with one having three spaces and two bars while the other has two spaces and three bars.

No quiet zone is required for this type of barcode.

GS1 DataBar Designing Rules

Designing a GS1 Databar barcode involves two important steps, including. 

  • Choosing an Appropriate X-Dimension
  • Determine module width for each bar and space 

Dimensions of GS1 Databar Omnidirectional Code

List of six design rules of GS1 Databar Omnidirectional Barcode

The dimensions of a GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional code are critical to ensure that the barcode can be accurately read and interpreted by scanning devices. 

The barcode symbol height for a given X-dimension should be at least 15.19 mm (0.598 inches). The x-dimension, which is the width of the narrowest bar in the code, should be at least 0.33 mm (0.013 inches). 

For most Databar Omnidirectional codes, the outside characters (first and third) have four bars and four spaces, each 16 modules wide. Meanwhile, the inside characters (second and fourth) are 15 modules wide with four bars and four spaces each.

In addition, there are two finder patterns—the first has three spaces and two bars, while the second has two spaces and three bars; both are 15 modules wide.

GS1 Databar Omnidirectional barcodes don’t require a quiet zone for accurate scanning. These barcodes use tight printing tolerances, allowing scanners to detect symbols without needing extra white space. 

Dimensions of GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional Code

List of five design rules of GS1 Databar Stacked Omnidirectional Barcode

The dimensions of GS1 DataBar Stacked Omnidirectional code are critical for successful reading and decoding. 

The X-dimension must be at least 0.33 mm (0.013 inches) to ensure accurate reading across all orientations. 

Additionally, each row must be at least 33 modules high, and the separator pattern must have a height of at least three modules. 

The minimum symbol height, given the x-dimension, should be 25.10 mm (0.988 inches).

Dimensions of GS1 DataBar Expanded Code

Four design rules of GS1 Databar Expanded Barcode

The x-dimension of GS1 DataBar Expanded code must be at least 0.33 mm (0.013 inches). 

The total symbol height for a given x-dimension should be 8.99 mm (0.354 inches).

The first digit in GS1 DataBar Expanded codes serves as a flag that indicates whether the barcode is part of a composite barcode or not. Following this flag are data characters separated by finder patterns which are 15 modules wide. Each data character is composed of 17 modules which include four bars and four spaces each.

Dimensions of GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked Code

Five design rules of GS1 Databar Expanded Stacked Barcode

The GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked code has a minimum x-dimension of 0.33 mm (0.013 inches), with a minimum symbol height of 18.75 mm (0.738 inches). 

The symbol can be composed of 2 to 11 rows; each row must have a height of 34 modules, while the separator pattern must have a height of three modules. This combination allows the symbol to be read in any direction, so it does not require a quiet zone for proper scanning.

GS1 DataBar Printing Rules

Three printing rules of GS1 Databar Barcode

When printing GS1 DataBar barcodes, thermal printing is the preferred method due to its speed and accuracy. Thermal printers use intense heat to create a crisp image that can be easily read by scanners. The best results are achieved when the barcode is printed on non-glossy paper with a resolution of at least 203 DPI.

Compared to traditional dot matrix and laser printers, thermal printers offer superior speed and quality for a relatively lower cost once the initial setup costs are absorbed. This makes thermal printing an ideal choice for large-scale or frequent printing operations where accuracy is essential. Furthermore, since no ink is used, there is less waste associated with thermal printing, which can help companies reduce their carbon footprint.

At the Triton Store, we provide an extensive inventory of thermal printers from renowned brands such as TSC, Honeywell, and Zebra. Our range includes direct thermal printers, thermal transfer printers, barcode label printers, desktop printers, and industrial printers that are designed to meet the needs of a variety of applications.

In addition to our top-notch range of thermal printer models, we also stock a comprehensive range of print consumables designed for optimal performance. Our collection consists of well-made thermal transfer ribbons, thermal labels, thermal carton labels, thermal carcase tags, and food-compliant thermal inserts that offer unbeatable adhesion and long-lasting prints.

When you have your print method and materials worked out, you also need to design a label.  Triton supplies BarTender Label Software in 4 on-premise solutions, Starter, Professional, Automation and Enterprise, as well as the Cloud version BarTender Cloud Label Software.

At Triton, you can find the ideal printing solution to fit your needs in one place – whatever your industry or application may require. We offer only the highest quality products and aim to provide a one-stop shop for all your thermal printing requirements. 

With our state-of-the-art equipment, materials and expertise, you can trust that you will receive reliable and efficient service at the most competitive prices. Contact us via the live chat widget below for more information. 

How to Get GS1 DataBar Barcode?

When it comes to generating GS1 DataBar, businesses have two options: Free GS1 DataBar and Paid GS1 DataBar. 

Each of these solutions has its own advantages and disadvantages, making them both suitable depending on the business’s needs.

Free Method

Creating GS1 DataBar barcodes is a simple, free and accessible process that anyone can take advantage of. With the help of numerous websites and companies offering free barcode generators, you can easily generate DataBar barcodes with just a few clicks. All you need to do is provide the necessary information, generate the code and print it out for use in any application or product labelling.

Paid Method

If you choose to generate your own code, you will need to register as a member of GS1 and receive a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). This involves registering with GS1 and paying an initial fee plus annual renewal fees based on factors such as country of operation, membership type, and the number of registered items.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to go through all the hassle involved in registration, you can buy the codes directly from third-party websites or companies that sell them at different price points, depending on the complexity of the product being labelled.

Free GS1 DataBar vs Paid GS1 DataBar

Free GS1 DataBar has limited applications. This is because major platforms like marketplaces such as Amazon or Walmart have strict requirements to accept GS1-assigned codes, which can only be purchased from GS1’s official website. Therefore, using free GS1 DatBars is not suitable for such applications. 

Paid codes also offer authentication and validation, meaning they are applicable across different countries and platforms. Free codes lack these features, making them less suitable for certain applications. Furthermore, the validity of free codes cannot be guaranteed, posing an additional risk compared to paid ones.

Ultimately, businesses must consider their needs before deciding whether free or paid Codes will suit them better.

Advantages of GS1 DataBar

List of seven points on advantages of GS1 Databar Barcode

GS1 DataBar barcodes are used by manufacturers, retailers, and consumers alike to improve everyday processes. By encoding more data than traditional barcodes, GS1 DataBar enables manufacturers to capture more information in less space and apply barcodes to hard-to-mark products. 

For manufacturers, GS1 DataBar is an invaluable asset due to its ability to encode additional data beyond basic product information while saving on packaging space. In addition, it offers an alternative solution for small or hard-to-mark consumer products that cannot be scanned with traditional EAN-13 or EAN-8 barcodes. 

The use of GS1 DataBar also helps with better category management and provides more product information, such as best-before dates or expiry labels upon scanning. 

In retail, GS1 DataBar barcodes enable retailers to quickly scan items at checkout using loose produce versus key entry for 100% accuracy. This gives retailers improved shrink control and the ability to differentiate conventional versus organic products. Additionally, the revised coupon format allows for much-needed flexibility and security.

In healthcare, GS1 DataBar barcodes can be used to improve patient safety by verifying accurate patient identification during medication administration and labelling.

Overall, GS1 DataBar barcodes are advantageous for providing accurate and secure data capture in both retail and healthcare industries. Their use ensures that processes such as scanning items at checkout, verifying patient information, sample tracking within laboratories, and coupon redemption can be streamlined while increasing accuracy and data security.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference Between UPC-A and GS1 DataBar?

The GS1 DataBar is a newer barcode that can hold all 14 digits of an item’s GTIN (Global Trade Item Number). Due to its size, which is more than 50% smaller than traditional UPC and EAN symbols, The GS1 DataBar is highly useful for smaller items such as produce and pharmaceuticals.

Why Do I Need a GS1 barcode?

Having a GS1 barcode is important to sell products on marketplaces such as Amazon and Walmart. GS1 barcodes ensure that buyers are provided with accurate information and can trust the products they’re buying from you. 

Conclusion

The GS1 DataBar barcode is a crucial component in inventory management and product identification for various industries. Its small size, versatility, and ability to encode more information make it an excellent choice for small-sized products that require a barcode. 

By implementing the GS1 DataBar barcode into the product management system, users can streamline their inventory management processes and increase efficiency. 

With the guide provided above, you can now understand what the GS1 DataBar barcode is, how it works, and how to get started with it. Hopefully, this informative guide has given you a good understanding of the GS1 DataBar barcode and its importance in today’s industries.

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