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Home > Barcode FAQ > GS1 DataBar Composite > GS1 Composite Barcode Symbology Information

GS1 Composite Barcode Information

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.

About the GS1 Composite Barcode Symbology

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.

Composite Barcode Examples

Following are examples of the various types of composite components used in GS1 barcodes:

EAN-13 Composite

  • Encoding 0100641414997 in the linear portion and 21012345678914 in the composite portion:

      EAN-13 Composite Barcode Consisting of Linear and 2D Portions

EAN-8 Composite

  • Encoding 01006414 in the linear portion and 12ABC883788398 in the composite portion:

      EAN-8 Composite Barcode Consisting of Linear and 2D Portions

UPC-A Composite

  • Encoding 010064149096 in the linear portion and 727728928871662663774889039938484754757758 in the composite portion:

      UPC-A Composite Barcode Consisting of Linear and 2D Portions

UPC-E Composite

  • Encoding 063000008261 in the linear portion and 727728928871662663774889039938484754757758 in the composite portion:

      UPC-E Composite Barcode Consisting of Linear and 2D Portions

GS1 DataBar Expanded Composite

  • Encoding 010064149094388 in the linear portion and CB938872772892887166266377488 in the composite portion:

      GS1 DataBar Expanded Composite Barcode Consisting of Linear and 2D Portions

    IDAutomation recommends using a single DataBar Expanded barcode to include Application Identifiers (AIs) with additional data when possible, because implementation is much easier.

GS1 DataBar Limited Composite

  • Encoding 2015064149094 in the linear portion and CB9383872772892887166266377488 in the composite portion. The maximum value of the linear portion for both stand-alone GS1 DataBar Limited barcodes and GS1 DataBar Limited barcodes with composites is two trillion, fifteen billion, one hundred thirty-three million, five hundred thirty-one thousand, ninety-six (2,015,133,531,096):

      GS1 DataBar Limited Composite Barcode
    Note: the text interpretation of this symbol is showing the linkage flag of one (1) and not showing the last digit, which is a MOD 10 of the GTIN.

GS1 DataBar Composite

  • Encoding 1010064149094 in the linear portion and CB9383872772892887166266377488 in the composite portion:

      GS1 DataBar Composite Barcode
    Note: the text interpretation of this symbol is showing the linkage flag of one (1) and not showing the last digit, which is a MOD 10 of the GTIN.

GS1 DataBar Stacked Composite

  • Encoding 1010064149094 in the linear portion and 72772892887166266377488 in the composite portion:

      GS1 DataBar Stacked Composite Barcode

GS1 DataBar Stacked Omni-Directional

  • Encoding 1010064149094 in the linear portion and 72772892887166266377488 in the composite portion:

      GS1 DataBar Stacked Omni-directional Barcode

GS1 DataBar Truncated

  • Encoding encoding 1010064149094 in the linear portion and 72772892887166266377488 in the composite portion:

      GS1 DataBar Truncated Barcode

    Note: the text interpretation of this symbol is showing the linkage flag of one (1) and not showing the last digit, which is a MOD 10 of the GTIN.

GS1-128 (Code 128) Composite

  • Encoding Ê00030123456789012340 in the linear portion and 02130123456789093724Ê101234567ABCDEFG in the composite portion (Code 128 values containing composite data must start with the FNC1 character).:

    GS1-128 Composite Barcode Created from Code 128

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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