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Barcode Terms | Barcode Definitions
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Barcode Terms - Definitions

AIM Automatic Identification Manufacturers organization supported by manufactures and suppliers of automatic identification products and services.
ANSI American National Standard Institute is a non-governmental organization responsible for the development of standards such as manufacturing.
ASCII Character set for the American Standard Code for Information Exchange encoding 7-bit characters (8 bit with parity).
Aspect Ratio The ratio of bar height to symbol length.
Background Area surrounding a bar code including quiet zone and spaces.
Bar The darker (black) element of a bar code symbol.
Bar Code An array of parallel bars and spaces encoding information. Also see Symbol.
Bar Length The bar dimension perpendicular to the bar width
Bar Width The thickness of a bar measured from the edge closest to the symbol start character to the trailing edge of the same bar.
CCD A Charge Coupled Device is a bar code scanner which senses the light and dark areas of a symbol.
Check Digit A character included within a symbol which used to perform a mathematical check to ensure the accuracy of the scanned data.
Codabar A numeric only bar code consisting of seven black and white bars. Two bars are wide (Code 27).
Code 39 A full alphanumeric bar code consisting of nine black and white bars. Three bars are wide (Code 3 of 9). Code 39 is the most frequently used symbology in industrial bar code systems today.
Code 128 A full alphanumeric bar code capable of encoding all 128 ASCII characters.
Code 16K Multi-row (stacked) code in which each symbol can have between two and sixteen rows or stacks. >Each row is separated by a one module separator bar, and consists of 18 bars and 17 spaces. >The code is analogous to sentences in a paragraph.
Coercivity Value of the opposing magnetic intensity that must be applied to a material to remove the residual magnetism when it has been magnetized to saturation.
CPS Characters per second.
CRT Cathode Ray Tube. Also called a terminal or monitor.
Data Matrix Variable size two dimensional matrix symbology that is inherently omnidirectional. Data Matrix has a high degree error correction capability and is used primarily for part marking and tracking.
Decoder A software or hardware means of translating bar codes into alphanumeric data. A bar code reader is required to scan the information into the decoder.
Density The term used to designate the compactness of a bar code which measures the narrowest element (usually in mils) of that bar code.
Depth of Field The distance between the maximum and minimum plane in which a bar code reader is capable of reading symbols.
Direct Thermal A process in which a set of pins on a printhead are selectively heated onto heat-sensitive paper (or label stock). In turn, the paper turns dark and a bar code is formed. Over time, a Direct Thermal image will eventually fade. Also known as Thermal Printing.
DPI Dots per inch.
EAN EAN is a voluntary, non-profit standards development association active in numbering, bar coding, and EDI messages for products, services, utilities, and transport units and locations. The EAN system is fully compatible with the Universal Product Code (UPC).
FCC Federal Communication Commission.
First Read Rate The ratio of the number of successful reads to the number of attempts.
FFO Fixed Focus Optics technology utilizes a small aperture and non-moving lenses to digitize an image over a wider range of distance than the traditional CCD reader.
Font A specific size and type of printable character.
GUI Graphical User Interface. The visual design of a software application.
IAN Industrial Article Numbering. See EAN.
Infrared Laser Diode An invisible light beam used in some bar code readers to scan a bar code that is invisible to the human eye. This technology is used specifically to prohibit people from visually reading the bar code. Analogous to night vision goggles.
Interleaved Bar Code A bar code in which characters are paired together using bars to represent the first character and spaces to represent the second character.
Interleaved 2 of 5 A numeric only bar code consisting of five bars. Two bars are wide, three are narrow. Used generally in industrial and master carton labeling.
Laser Scanner An optical bar code reading device using a low-energy laser light beam for scanning.
LCD Liquid Crystal Display.
LED Light Emitting Diode.
LPM Lines per minute.
MaxiCode Fixed size two dimensional symbology having elements arranged around a unique circular finder pattern. MaxiCode is omnidirectional and is primarily used for freight sortation and tracking.
MICR Magnetic Ink Character Recognition style printing on the bottom of personal and bank checks.
Mil 1/1000th (0.001) of an inch or approximately 0.0254 millimeter. Bar code densities are commonly referred to as number of mils (i.e. 10 mils).
Misread A condition which occurs when the data output of a bar code reader does not correspond with the data encoded in the bar code symbol.
Module The narrowest nominal unit of measure in a bar code.
MRD Minimum Reflectance Differential. A method that is used to determine if there is an adequate difference between absorbed and reflected light.
MSI Plessey Modified Plessey Code is a pulse width modulated bar code used primarily for marking retail shelving.
Nominal The ideal value for a specified parameter.
OCR Optical Character Recognition is a technology designed specifically to read certain stylized fonts (such as OCR-A and OCR-B) containing the full alphanumeric character set. The term OCR is also used when translating and inputting other stylized fonts (such as Courier) or text found in magazines and newspapers into a computer. This technology is also referred to as Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR).
OCR-A Character set used for optical character recognition and described in ANSI Standard X3.17-1981.
OCR-B Character set used for optical character recognition and described in ANSI Standard X3.49-1975.
PCS Print Contrast Signal is the measurement of the ratio of the reflectivities between the bars and spaces of a symbol.
PDF417 Two-dimensional bar code providing error correction, detection, and security used primarily in parcel tracking applications and hazardous material control.
PDT Portable Data Terminal. Hand-held terminal capable of storing and recording data that is captured remotely and later transmitted into a computer.
Pitch Rotation of a bar code symbol about an axis parallel to the direction of the bars.
PostNet Postal Numeric Encoding Technique used to encode ZIP code information on letter mail. PostNet utilizes redundant information within a compact bar code format to provide error detection capability and a significant degree of error correction capability.
Printhead The device on a direct thermal or thermal transfer printer containing the heating element that causes an image to be transferred to the facestock.
Quite Zone A clear space, containing no dark marks preceding the start character of a symbol and following the stop character.
RF Radio Frequency. Wireless communication technology using electromagnetic waves to transmit and receive data. RF provides real-time access to a host computer.
Ribbon Material used with thermal transfer printers producing visible marks on a label (or substrate). A printhead is heated and the ribbon is burned onto the label stock producing the bar code.
Reflectance The light which is reflected back from the white spaces of a bar code during scanning.
Resolution See Density.
RS-232 The most common communication interface (e.g. serial (COM) port) standard using a DTE (Data Terminal Equipment) and DCE (Data Communications Equipment) interface. Also known as serial communication.
RS-422 The second most common communication interface standard which extends beyond the 100 feet limitation of RS-232 data communication supporting a maximum distance of 4000 feet.
Serial Communication See RS-232.
Scanner A device that electro-optically converts bar codes into electrical signals.
Stack Code Two-dimensional bar code where linear bar codes are stacked one upon another and are printed in a rectangular shape to achieve the most efficient use of label area.
Standard A set of rules, specifications, instructions, or directions for printing, labeling, scanning, etc. bar coded information.
Start-Stop Character The left-most and right-most characters respectively of a horizontal bar code that provides the scanner with start and stop reading instructions as well as scanning direction.
Substrate The surface on which a bar code is printed.
Symbol A set of characters and marks including start/stop, quiet zones, data, and check characters required by a particular symbology that form a integrated readable (scannable) element.
Thermal See Direct Thermal.
Thermal Transfer A process in which a set of pins on a printhead are selectively heated onto a ribbon and the ink from the ribbon is burned (transferred) onto the label stock. Thermal transfer leaves a permanent image on the label.
2-Dimensional Bar Code Two dimensional symbology composed of rows of data arranged in a rectangular or square pattern. The rows of data are stacked onto each other to encode an array of data.
UCC Uniform Code Council is an organization which administers the UPC and other retail standards.
UPC Universal Product Code is the standard bar code symbol for retail packaging in the United States.
Visible Laser Diode Used in most hand held scanners to project a visible red light for scanning human readable bar codes.
Verifier A device which measures the characteristics of a bar code including the contrast, reflectance, modulation, and compliance with the parameters of the bar code symbology.
Wand A pen-like scanning device used as a contact bar code reader.
Wedge A hardware device or software program (Software Wedge) which uses a scanner for input and sends data directly into an application by emulating a keyboard stroke. A wedge (hardware wedge) is an external device and plugs between the keyboard and terminal.
WYSIWYG "What You See Is What You Get" is a term used to describe the presentation of the printable output viewed as is on the terminal.
X Dimension
The dimension of the narrowest bar in a bar code.
Barcode Terms and Barcode Definitions is a dictionary of terms used in the barcode industry.  It is cryptic without a guide.

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