Wednesday, July 13, 2011

5 Reasons to Use Code 128 Barcode Fonts

by Nate Schubert

It can sometimes be a challenge to determine which barcode type will best suit the needs of your business process or procedure. Different barcode types may have different capabilities. For example, Code 39 is a symbology that allows printing of upper-case letters and numbers, where Code 128 fonts allow both upper and lower-case letters, numbers, ASCII characters and functions. To take it one step further, 2D barcodes such as Data Matrix or QR Code can encode upwards of 800 characters of information of all kinds, from standard data, to web links, and even vCards in the case of QR. So, why choose Code 128?

Code 128 A, B, C and Auto
Code 128 is divided into three distinct character sets A, B, C and Auto which utilizes a combination of the previous three sets. Code 128 A encodes special characters as well as ASCII characters 00 to 95 which consist of the numbers 0 through 9, upper-case A through Z and control characters. Code 128 B encodes special characters as well as ASCII characters 32 to 127 including numbers 0 to 9 and both upper/lower case letters A to Z. Code 128 C encodes FNC1 in addition to ASCII characters 00 to 99 for double density encoding of numeric-only data.

Many Code 128 Barcode Font Encoder Tools Available
Code 128 is a relatively complex symbology, and the process of generating a barcode from a font is not quite as simple as simply typing the data you want to encode, highlighting it and selecting the appropriate font. It may look like a barcode, but it will not be ready by any barcode scanner. Because of this issue, IDAutomation barcode fonts come with a wide variety of font encoder tools that automatically format your data into a text string that will generate a readable barcode, once the font is applied to it.

Code 128 is the Basis for Other Standards
An added-benefit to Code 128 is that this barcode type can be utilized to generate a variety of different standards such as GS1-128, ISBT-128, USS Code 128, ISS Code 128, GTIN, SCC18, EAN-128, USPS SISAC, Canada Post and other specifications based on the Code 128 symbology. In most cases, simply creating a barcode according to your specific standards is all you need to do.

High-Density Code 128 Barcodes
Code 128 barcodes have a higher density than other barcode types such as Code 39, which means that a Code 128 barcode containing the same data as a Code 39 barcode will be smaller, taking up less space on your document, mailing piece or other material. This can be critical in situations where space is an issue.

Code 128 Barcodes are Common
Perhaps the most significant reason to go with Code 128 when making your barcode decision is the fact that these barcodes are among the most popular types around. Because of this, just about any barcode scanner is going to be capable of reading Code 128 out of the box. Moreover, there is a lot of information available about Code 128 for the purpose of troubleshooting, because it is popular and thus many people are using it.

Code 128 isn't for everyone, but it certainly is the right choice for a great many scenarios. We've only explored 5 of the most well-known reasons for choosing Code 128 over another barcode type. Feel free to leave a comment with some other reasons why Code 128 may be the right choice!

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