Code 128 is a denser barcode than most, but it is also the most versatile barcode in the 1-D category, in terms of potential information storage. Its name comes from the fact that it can encode all 128 ASCII characters. That includes letters and numbers, but also punctuation, symbols, and more. It is most commonly used in the logistics of things like purchasing and shipping, but can potentially be used for a variety of other purposes.
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Specifications: There are six sections to a Code 128 barcode. The first and last sections are both "quiet zones," which consist of a certain amount of blank space, based on other elements of the code. After the opening quiet zone is a start character, which designates what code set the barcode falls into.
Code 128 has three code sets. Set A designates codes with all capital letters. Set B is for codes with both capital and lower case letters, and set C is for codes with only numeric data -- which allows it to compress twice as much data into the same space.
After the start character comes the data itself. Each encoded character consists of exactly three bars and three spaces. After that is a check digit, to ensure accuracy, followed by an end character to signify the end of the code, and finally the closing quiet zone.
Advantages: Not only is Code 128 versatile, it is compact, being able to store a much larger amount of data than a regular barcode in the same amount of space.
Related Barcodes:ExtendedCode 39 - Can also encode all the 128 ASCII characters, through a combination of other characters.
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