Technologies developed by Microsoft for sharing information among different applications.


The difference between the actual element width and the norminal width.


Abbreviation for AIM International, a world-wide trade organization for manufacturers and providers of bar code products, services and supplies.

A character set conprising letter, numbers and other characters.


The character set and code described in American National Standard Code for Information Interchange, ANSI X3.4-1977. Each ASCII character is encoded with seven bits.


Acronym for Active Server Page. A Microsoft technology for creating dynamic web pages by allowing the insertion of server executable scripts in web pages.

Aspect ratio

The ratio of bar height to the overall length of the barcode.


Acronym for American National Standards Institute. A member of ISO (International Standards Organization).


A technology that uses white spaces and black bars or cells to represent encoded information. This encoded information can then be read with a barcode reader.

Barcode reader

A device (laser, CCD scanner etc.) used to read a barcode and export the information to a computer.

Barcode string

A text string which becomes a bar code after being formatted with a barcode font. A barcode usually adds start/stop characters, as well as checksum characters to the data input. Consequently you can not just format the data with the font to create a valid barcode. In data matrix fontware, it is a synonym for encoder results.


BMP is a raster graphics format developed by Microsoft. BMP is the native grahpics format for Windows users. A BMP image data can be uncompressed, or compressed using RLE scheme. The file size is generally much bigger than other types since the compression scheme is not very effective.




Acronym for Charge Coupled Device. CCD scanners use LEDs (instead of laser) to light the barcode.

Character per inch

A measure of the size of text characters, sometimes referred to as pitch.

Check character

Synonymous to Check digit.

Check digit

A character whose value is calculated based on certain algorithm and used for the purpose of performing a mathematical check to ensure the accuracy of the data. In many symbologies this character has a numeric value hence the name.

Code 128

Code 128 is a very high-density barcode symbology, used extensively world wide in shipping and packaging industries. UCC/EAN-128 is derived from code 128.

Code 39

Code 39 (also known as USS Code 39, Code 3 of 9) is the first alpha-numeric symbology developed to be used in non-retail environment. It is widely used to code alphanumeric information, such as the model number etc. It is designed to encode 26 upper case letters, 10 digits and 7 special characters.

Code 39 Full ASCII

Also known as Code 39 extended. An extension to normal code 39 standard. In code 39 Full ASCII, two normal characters are combined to encode a character outside the 43 native character set. The resulted barcode is compatible with a normal code 39. Scanners must be configured to the Full ASCIImode in order to give the correct results.

Code 93

Code 93 is a discrete, variable length, self-checking symbology. It is derived from Code 39 with major enhancements. Code93 encodes all 127 ASCII characters and does not require special scanner configuration.

Code 128

Code 128 is a variable length, continuous symbology with multiple element widths. Every Code 128 symbol has a check character. Each character is encoded with three bars and spaces, in total 11 modules. Code 128 is capable of encoding all 256 characters in a single-byte character set.


Acronym for Component Object Model. A software architecture developed by Microsoft to build component-based applications. A COM object is identified with a unique identity, and exposes interfaces that allows applications and components to access their features in a language-independent manner.


COMSPEC is one of environment variables used by the system on Windows platforms. It points to command.comon Windows 9x and Cmd.exeon Windows NT, XP and 2003.


A voucher that can be redeemed at the Point-of-Sale for a cash value or free item.

Data matrix

Data matrix is a space-efficient two-dimensional bar code symbology that is made up of square modules. A data matrix symbol is capable of encoding up to 2335 alphanumeric characters, or 1556 characters of 8-bit byte data, or 3116 digits of numeric data.


Acronym for Dynamic Link Library, a library of executable functions or data that can be used by a Windows application. A DLL can be used by several applications at the same time. Some DLLs are provided with the Windows operating system and available for any Windows application. Other DLLs are written for a particular application and are loaded with the application.


The official name of the font used in magnetic ink printing in United States, Canada and several other countries. Use of the term E-13B generally implies both the character shape as well as the magnetic aspects of the printing. It consists of ten numeric characters and four symbols.


Acronym for European Article Numbering Association. Now part of GS1 organization, which oversess the allocations of EAN-13 and EAN-8 numbers.


EAN is designed by the International Article Numbering Association (EAN) in Europe. It is an extension to UPC-A to include the country information. EAN-13 encodes 12 digits of numeric data along with a trailing check digit, for a total of 13 digits of barcode data.


EAN-8 is the short version of EAN-13, the same as UPC-E vs. UPC-A. An EAN-8 number contains 7 digits of message plus 1 check digit. Different from UPC-E, an EAN-8 number is allocated separately and can not be derived from an EAN-13 number.


Acronym for Enhanced MetaFile. A newer 32-bit version of Windows MetaFile. EMF contains frame information and contain more drawing commands then its predecessor, WMF.

Extended character

A character other than a 7-bit ASCII character. An extended character is a 1-byte code point with the eighth bit set (ordinal 128 through 255).


Acronym for Graphics Interchange Format. GIF is a bitmap image format encoding up to 256 distinct color in a 24-bit RGB color space. GIF employs LZW data compression, which does not lose image data during the compression process.


Organization that oversees the allocation of U.P.C. and EAN numbers. Formerly known as Uniform Code Council (UCC).

GS1 DataBar

A family of bar code symbols, including GS1 DataBar-14, GS1 DataBar Limited, GS1 DataBar Expanded, and GS1 DataBar-14 Stacked. Any member of the GS1 DataBar family can be printed as a stand-alone linear symbol or as a composite symbol with an accompanying 2D Composite Component printed directly above the GS1 DataBar linear component. Formerly known as Reduced Space Symbology (RSS).

GS1 DataBar-14

A bar code symbol that encodes an GTIN-14 Identification Number in a linear symbol that can be scanned omni-directionally by suitably programmed Point-of-Sale scanners.

GS1 DataBar Composite Symbology Family

A family of symbols comprised of the GS1 DataBar-14 Composite Symbology, GS1 DATABAR-14 Stacked Composite Symbology, GS1 DATABAR Limited Composite Symbology, and GS1 DATABAR Expanded Composite Symbology

GS1 DataBar Expanded

A bar code symbol that encodes an GTIN-14 Identification Number plus supplementary AI Element Strings, such as weight and best before date, in a linear symbol that can be scanned omnidirectionally by suitably programmed Point-of-Sale scanners.

GS1 DataBar Expanded Stacked

A bar code symbol that is a variation of the GS1 DataBar Expanded Bar Code Symbol that is stacked in multiple rows and is used when the normal symbol would be too wide for the application.

GS1 DataBar Limited

A bar code symbol that encodes an GTIN-14 Identification Number with Indicators of zero or one in a linear symbol; for use on small items that will not be scanned at the Point-of-Sale.

GS1 DataBar Truncated

A truncated version of GS1 DataBar-14. The height is 10X. Used for small packaging and not fit for Point-of-Sale scanners.

GS1 DataBar Stacked

A bar code symbol that is a variation of the GS1 DataBar-14 Symbology that is stacked in two rows and is used when the normal symbol would be too wide for the application. It comes in two versions: a truncated version used for small item marking applications and a taller omni-directional version that is designed to be read by omni-directional scanners. GS1 DataBar Expanded can also be printed in multiple rows as a stacked symbol.


Acronym for Global Trade Item Number. A 14-digit number that uniquely identifies a trade item.


Acronym for graphical user interface. A program interface that takes advantage of the computer's graphics capabilities to make the program easier to use.


Acronym for Health Industry Bar Code. A bar code format based on code 3 of 9 adopted by health industry.


The Health Industry Business Communications Council. The organization that oversees many health standards.


See Integrated Development Environment

Integrated Development Environment

Abbreviated as IDE, a programming environment that provides a project file manager, a text/source code editor, GUI interface builder, GUI builder, a compiler and/or interpreter and a debugger. Visual Studio, Delphi, JBuilder and Eclipse are all examples of IDEs.


Acronym for International Organization for Standardization. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 157 countries, on the basis of one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system.


Acronym for International Standard Book Number. ISBN has been around for more than 30 years. Today, every book, magazines, cassette and CD bear an ISBN number. Every item to be sold in bookstore is required to furnish an ISBN. The ISBN is used extensively by publishers, retailers as wells as libraries to manage inventory. The ISBN is represented through an EAN barcode, a.k.a. Bookland barcode plus an optional 5-digit (2-digit for magazines) add-on.


JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. It is commonly referred as an image format.


Stands for Line Printer Daemon/Line Printer Remote, a printer protocol that uses TCP/IP to establish connections between printers and computers on a network. The LPD software runs on the server side and LPR runs on the client side. The LPR client sends the print request to the IP address of the LPD printer/server.

Macro PDF417

A method to link multiple PDF417 symbols together in order to encode large amount of data.


MaxiCode is a two-dimensional code, created by UPS for high-speed sortation and tracking of unit loads and transport packages. It is ideal to encode small amount of data since its capacity is fairly limited. On the other side, its fixed size and unique bull eyedesign allow the symbol being picked up very quickly.

Micro QR Code

Micro QR Code is a very small QR Code that fits applications that require a smaller space and use smaller amounts of data, such as ID of printed circuit boards and electronics parts, etc. The efficiency of data encoding has been increased with the use of only one position detection pattern.


One one-thousandth of an inch (0.001")


In linear symbology, a module refers to the width of the narrowest bars. In two dimensional symbology, a module refers to the cell smallest in size.


An abbreviation commonly applied to the character set contained in ANSI standard X3.17-1981. A stylized font choice used for traditional OCR printing.


An abbreviation commonly applied to the character set contained in ANSI standard X3.17-1975. A stylized font choice used for traditional OCR printing.


Acronym for Printer Control Language, the page description language (PDL) developed by Hewlett Packard and used in many of their laser and ink-jet printers.


Acronym for Portable Document Format. A file format developed by Adobe Systems for representing documents in a manner that is independent of the word processing software, hardware and operating system used to create those document. A PDF file can describe documents containing any combination of text, graphics, and images in a device independent and resolution independent format.


PDF417 is a multi-row, variable-length symbology with high data capacity and error-correction capability. PDF417 has some unique features which makes it the widely used 2D symbology. A PDF417 symbol can be read by linear scanners, laser scanners or two-dimensional scanners. PDF417 is capable of encoding more than 1100 bytes, 1800 text characters or 2710 digits. Large data files can be encoded into a series of linked PDF417 symbols using a standard methodology referred to as Macro PDF417.


Acronym for Portable Network Graphics. PNG is a bitmap image format that employs lossless data compression.

Point-of-Sale (POS)

Refers to the area of a store where customers can pay for their purchases. The term is normally used to describe systems that record financial transactions. This could be an electric cash register or an integrated computer system which records the data that comprises a business transaction for the sale of goods or services.


POSTNET (Postal Numeric Encoding Technique) encodes a US numeric address code (also called Zip code) which may contain 5, 9 or 11 digits - often called Zip, Zip+4 and Zip+6.

QR Code

A QR Code (Quick Response Code) is a two-dimensional matrix barcode that is readable by smartphones with cameras. QR codes were created by Japanese company, Denso Wave, and are designed to be decoded at a high rate of speed. QR codes, developed in 1994, are becoming increasingly popular to identify specific URL’s and other information that companies want mobile users to access via their mobile devices.

For a list of common usage in mobile industry, visit Common QR Code Usage.

Quiet zones

A clear space, containing no machine readable marks, which surrounds the barcode. Sometimes called the "clear area".


See Report Definition Language

Report Definition Language

Based on XML standard, the Report Definition Language is defined by Microsoft to describe the layout and query information of a report in Microsoft Report Service.

Royal Mail Barcode

Royal Mail 4-state customer code (RM4SCC) is a height-modulated bar code symbology to encode a U.K. postal address.


Acronym for Rich Text Format. A document file developed by Microsoft since 1987 for cross-platform document interchange. Most word processors are able to read and write RTF documents.

Scanner resolution

The narrowest width can be distinguished by the reading device.

Scientific Notation

A format for representing real (floating-point) numbers. Instead of writing the full number, scientific notation represents values as a number between 1 and 10 multiplied by 10 to some power. The 10 is often replaced by an uppercase or lowercase E.

Self checking

A combination of bar code characters including quiet zones, start/stop characters, A bar code or symbol using a checking algorithm which can be independently applied to each character to guard against undetected errors.


SFP stands from Soft Font Portrait. SFP is the file extension for PCL bitmap font files.




SFP stands from Soft Font TrueType. SFT is the file extension for PCL-5 scalable font files. Some conventions use extension SFS, which stands for Soft Font Scalable.

Start/Stop character

A special bar/space pattern that provides the scanner with start and stop reading instructions as well as scanning direction indicator. Most linear symbologies require start/stop characters included in the barcode.


Acronym for Tagged Image File Format. Also abbreviated as TIFF. TIF is a bitmap image format capable of storing multiple images. It is widely used in scanning, faxing and word processing.


Acronym for Uniform Code Council, the organization that administers the U.P.C. and other retail standards. Currently known as GS1.


UCC/EAN-128 was developed to provide a worldwide standard for exchanging data between different companies. UCC/EAN-128 provides a method of defining the meaning of the data through a list of "Application Identifiers" a.k.a. AIs.


The UPC-A barcode is the most common and well-known symbology in North America. UPC-A encodes 11 digits of numeric data along with a trailing check digit, for a total of 12 digits of barcode data.


The UPC-E barcode is the short form representation of a UPC-A number. It reduces the data length from 12 digits to 6 digits by compressing extra zeros.


Abbreviation for United Parcel Service, the largest carrier company in the US.


Abbreviation for U.S. Postal Service.


Acronym for Uniform Symbol Specification, the series of symbology specification published by AIM.

Windows Scripting Host(WSH)

Acronym for Windows Scripting Host. A Microsoft technology allowing the user to run scripts from an Windows environment.


Acronym for Windows Metafile. WMF is a graphics file format on Microsoft Windows. WMF is a vector graphics format which stores drawing commands instead of color information of pixels.


See Windows Scripting Host(WSH)


Abbreviation for what you see is what you get. A WYSIWYG application is one that allows the user to see exactly what appears on the screen as on the printer.

X dimension

The nominal width dimension of the narrowest element in the bar code - bar or space.


Acronym for eXtensible Markup Language. XML refers to a set of open standards describing data ranging from representation (such as web pages) to business structure. Unlike HTML, XML does not have a set of predefined elements. Instead it provides a common method for describe a document type and the data.