The GS1 Composite Symbology is the specification for a 2D barcode symbol included above a DataBar, UPC, EAN, or Code 128 barcode to encode additional data. Composite symbols are not supported by all barcode scanners and implementation can be more difficult than other options. IDAutomation recommends using DataBar Expanded to encode Application Identifiers (AIs) with additional data when possible, because DataBar is approved for use in all POS systems after January 1, 2010, all data is encoded in a single symbol and implementation is much easier.
The GS1 (EAN.UCC) Composite Symbology consists of a linear component, which encodes the item's primary data and an adjacent 2D composite component, which encodes supplementary data to the linear component.
The linear component will be GS1-128, EAN-8, EAN-13, UPC-A, UPC-E or any barcode in the GS1 DataBar family. The supplementary, 2D composite component will be one of the following:
MicroPDF417 barcodes are assigned a specific matrix of row/column combinations. This matrix limits the amount of data that may be encoded in 2D composites. The 2D composites can encode up to 56 numeric characters. Alpha characters and certain punctuation characters may also be encoded in the composite, but the maximum number of characters that can be encoded will be reduced significantly.
Composite Code C barcodes, used as composites for GS1-128 and based on PDF417 standards, can encode approximately 800 characters.
Following are examples of the various types of composite components used in GS1 barcodes:
GS1 DataBar Expanded Composite
GS1 DataBar Limited Composite
GS1 DataBar Composite
GS1 DataBar Stacked Composite
GS1 DataBar Stacked Omni-Directional
GS1 DataBar Truncated
GS1-128 (Code 128) Composite
IDAutomation recommends using a single Code 128 barcode to include Application Identifiers (AIs) with additional data when possible, because implementation is much easier.
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