How is 2D different from 1D

What is the difference between 1D and 2D barcode scanners?

1D barcode scanners can only read 1D barcodes
1D codes and 2D codes can be easily distinguished. 1D codes are a sequence of black and white bars of different widths. Since the bars are always arranged in a single row, this is referred to as a one-dimensional code. The most frequently used 1D codes are e.g. Code 39, Code 128, EAN, UPC and Code 2/5 interleaved.

The advantages of 1D codes are:

  • 1D codes have been established for a long time.
  • 1D codes are compatible with most existing scanners.
  • 1D codes are easy to manufacture and reproduce.

2D barcode scanners can read 1D and 2D barcodes
2D codes, on the other hand, are rectangular patterns that are mainly composed of points or small squares (modules). Since the modules in 2D codes are not only arranged next to but also on top of one another, one speaks of a two-dimensional code. The most frequently used 2D codes are e.g. Datamatrix, PDF417 and QR Code.

The advantages of 2D codes are:

  • Due to the higher information density, more characters can be encoded on the same area.
  • 2D codes offer greater fault tolerance and are less sensitive to damage.
  • 2D codes can be read omnidirectionally.
  • 2D scanners can also read 1D codes.