GS1 DataBar Expanded Barcodes
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The GS1 DataBar Expanded barcode is an offshoot of the GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional barcode. The two are similar in most ways, with the only difference being that, while the Omnidirectional allows a maximum of 14 characters, the Expanded barcode can include more, with the use of Application Identifiers. The expanded data allows the barcode to include not just the product itself, but its weight, expiration date, batch number, and other pertinent information. Both the Omnidirectional and Expanded barcodes are primarily used for supermarket coupons.
Specifications: The structure of the GS1 DataBar Expanded barcode is similar to that of the Omnidirectional. It begins with a left guard character, followed by several digits of data, interspersed with "Finder Patterns," and then a right guard character at the end. There are two major differences, though: first, the Expanded barcode allows for extra data characters. Second, it has its check digit right up at the front of the code.
Advantages: Not only does the GS1 DataBar Expanded barcode allow for more data than the Omnidirectional, it still allows stacking as well, so that you can communicate even more consecutive information.
Disadvantages: The extra capacity makes the Expanded barcode longer than the Omnidirectional, slightly offsetting the compact size that's one of the Omnidirectional's major draws. And, though the barcode does allow both letters and numbers, it doesn't accommodate symbols, punctuation, or other special characters.
GS1 DataBar Omnidirectional - In the same category as the Expanded barcode, and has mostly the same features, but is limited to a maximum of 14 digits.