A barcode reader is a hand-held input device used to capture and read information converted in a barcode. With the help of scanner, a decoder and a cable, barcode reader can translate information to a computer and it is connected to a computer through a serial port, keyboard port, or an interface device called a wedge. The reader translates the reflected light into digital data that is transferred to a computer for immediate action or storage.
There are two types of barcodes – linear and 2D. The most visually recognizable is a linear barcode made up of two parts: the barcode and the 12-digit UPC number. In contrast, a 2D barcode is more complex and can include more information in the code : price, quantity, web address or image.

Technical Aspects

  • Barcode application generates barcode images which may be JPEG, BMP or
  • A barcode type is a protocol for arranging the bars and spaces that make up a particular kind of barcode.

There are two major barcode types:

  • Linear Barcodes (1D)
  • Two – Dimensional Barcodes (2D).
  • Barcodes represents data in the widths/lines. On base of spacing between parallel lines such as Code128, Code 39, and UPC are referred to as Linear or 1D (one – dimensional) barcode symbology.
  • 2D barcode types hold much more data than linear barcodes. 2-Dimensional symbols are generally square or rectangular patterns that encode data in two dimensions. The primary advantage of 2-D codes is the ability to encode a lot of information in a small space.


  • Barcodes eliminate the possibility of human error. A barcode scan is fast and reliable, and takes infinitely less time than entering data by hand with less possibility of errors.
  • Using a barcode system reduces employee training time. It takes only minutes to master the hand-held scanner for reading barcodes.
  • Barcodes are extremely versatile. They can be used for any kind of necessary data collection. This could include pricing or inventory information.
  • Because barcodes can be attached to just about any surface, they can be used to track not only the products themselves, but also outgoing shipments and even equipment.
  • Data obtained through barcodes is available rapidly. Since the information is scanned directly into the central computer, it is ready almost instantaneously.