Technologies developed by Microsoft for sharing information among different applications.


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


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.

Aspect ratio

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


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.

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 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 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.


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.

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.


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


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

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.


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.


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.


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.

Quiet zones

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

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.


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 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.

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.