The Truth About Barcodes

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Barcodes are powerful little tools for businesses. Reading one with a barcode scanner, you gain access to detailed information about a product, including its cost, size, sales history, number in stock and more.

Do you know how barcodes hold all that data in just a few vertical lines? That’s actually a trick question because most barcodes don’t contain detailed data – just a reference number. A barcode scanner reads that number, looks it up in a computer database and then displays the product information found in that central location. It doesn’t come from the barcode itself.

Barcodes are often mistakenly assumed to contain product information. Very few barcodes do, though. Those are called two-dimensional barcodes or matrix codes. 2D barcodes, such as PDF 417, look different than regular barcodes. They look like black-and-white Rorschach tests. PDF 417 barcodes are mostly used in the shipping industry by such companies as UPS and FedEx.

One-dimensional barcodes, also known as linear barcodes, are much more common. There are many different types of linear barcodes, such as UPC, RSS and EAN.

Barcodes are important for businesses because they help them instantly update their inventory barcode software and stay up to date on their inventory levels and needs. See how barcodes can help your business increase efficiency by trying a free trial of Fishbowl Manufacturing or Fishbowl Warehouse.

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